Certain basic facts in Leo Gerard's recent commentary ("Return of the 80-Hour Week," Sept. 2) regarding the compensation and benefits UPMC provides to its workforce were incorrect. It's likely the erroneous data came from the SEIU's ongoing campaign of disinformation against UPMC.
Mr. Gerard writes UPMC "doesn't give these employees health insurance." This is false. As everyone knows, UPMC provides superior health benefits to all its full-time employees at reasonable costs. This is in addition to generous retirement benefits that include both a defined benefits pension plan and a savings plan with employer matching contributions, paid time off and a tuition reimbursement program for employees and their dependents. UPMC's package is much more attractive than anything the SEIU delivers.
It also makes little sense to compare UPMC to employers that pay minimum wages. At UPMC, the average base wage is more than $30 per hour, or more than $60,000 annually plus another $15,000 in benefits. Fewer than 8 percent of our employees make $12 per hour or less, which is not anywhere close to the 50 percent that some have erroneously stated. And, for these $12 per hour employees with families, when benefits are included the average wage jumps to $21 per hour -- benefits that many other employers in this region do not come close to matching. This means that the lowest-paid UPMC full-time employees with families earn $21 per hour with benefits.
When the facts are known, it's little wonder the SEIU's long-running campaign to organize a small contingent of UPMC service workers has been unsuccessful.
Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer