About ten minutes after UPMC employee Christoria Hughes along with Revs. Rodney Lyde and Ronald Wanless asked personnel of the U.S. Steel building — where UPMC has its corporate offices — for a meeting with UPMC CEO Jeffrey Romoff, they were escorted out of the building and cited for trespassing by city police, Hughes says.
"I was expecting to meet with at least one of the executives of UPMC,” Hughes says, acknowledging she hadn't requested a meeting with Romoff or other UPMC representatives in advance.
The request for a meeting with Romoff was organized by the Service Employees International Union, the main organizing entity backing the unionization of UPMC's non-medical employees. SEIU sent out a press release a short time later saying the trio had been arrested. "Faith Leaders and UPMC Employee Arrested While Calling for Living Wages," the headline read.
However, Hughes says she was not handcuffed or jailed.
Hughes, who has been working as a cafeteria at UPMC Presbyterian for six years, reiterated that UPMC should raise wages, forgive medical debt of its employees and allow the unionization effort to go forward.
"I would like my children to understand that sometimes for things to change you have to go out and change them yourself," Hughes said in an interview earlier this morning.
According to the SEIU press release, "Emboldened by the news, Pittsburghers plan to protest outside UPMC headquarters and take their concerns to city leaders." Protests are scheduled tomorrow morning at 8 a.m. outside the U.S. Steel Tower and 8:30 a.m. at the City-County building.
UPMC did not immediately respond to a request for comment.