Starving for Higher Wages:  UPMC Workers Fast for a Week (VIDEO)

“The Faster” documentary short:

Video by Julie Sokolow

It’s Holy Week 2014 and Chaney Lewis is camping in a tent outside a skyscraper. Pittsburgh means snow in April, so he’s wearing two hoodies and a blanket. Visitors peek in his tent – college kids, ministers, fast food employees, and elected officials – huddling awkwardly near the heaters and issuing words of admiration. Some ask if the April 2nd New York Times coverage has helped the situation.

“We’re still waiting,” he says.

By the time I interview Chaney for our video “The Faster”, it’s been six days since he’s last eaten.

“Workers are willing to take a stand,” he says. “Extreme measures.”

Since 2012, a battle’s been raging between UPMC hospital workers like Chaney and CEO Jeffrey Romoff, who makes $6 million a year. Chaney’s worked at UPMC for over nine years, but still only makes $11.97 an hour. Consider this added offense: UPMC enjoys the status, “charitable nonprofit”.

Watch Chaney brave a week-long fast for social justice in “The Faster”. You can sign this petition to help Chaney and his coworkers achieve higher wages and unionization. A new infographic by the Make It Our UPMC campaign is pictured below, demonstrating an argument for boosting the base wage to $15/hour.


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