Teachers union supports Ravenstahl tax battle against UPMC

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The Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers has come out in support of Mayor Luke Ravenstahl's efforts to challenge the tax-exempt status of UMPC, saying he showed "fortitude and foresight."

PFT President Nina Esposito-Visgitis today issued a news release commending the mayor, saying, "By their actions, our leaders are supporting the hard-working citizens of our region by making sure that UPMC, also our region's largest tax-exempt charity, puts the strength and health of our community first.

"UPMC must clearly make a choice: to live up to its tax-exempt status and meet the criteria that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has put forth, or to pay its share on taxes that would be enough to eliminate the deficits of both the Pittsburgh Public Schools and the Port Authority."

The statement expressed gratitude to UPMC for providing "world-class patient care," for being a "key asset to our economy and our community" and making "generous donations to the Pittsburgh Promise," a scholarship program for city public school students.

But it also criticized UMPC for "disheartening realities," including "excessive executive compensation," closure of hospitals in underserved neighborhoods, attempting to deny access to Highmark subscribers, failing to pay a fair share for public services and harassing employees for trying to form a union.

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Education writer Eleanor Chute: echute@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1955.


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