UPMC Mercy Hospital in Uptown, where the medical center is expanding. (Photo by Jay Manning/ PublicSource)

UPMC Mercy expansion: How the ‘community benefits agreement’ between UPMC and the city came to be

Last spring, Louis Berry III was feeling mildly optimistic. As a labor activist and retired housekeeper with the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center [UPMC], he felt for the first time in April 2018 that he and activists might be able to get some concessions from his former employer. In Berry’s mind, he said, the not-for-profit hospital chain and healthcare provider is a behemoth that pays some of its employees too little and causes others to go into medical debt. Last spring, Berry thought he had reason to be hopeful: UPMC needed city approval to build a state-of-the-art hospital in Pittsburgh’s Uptown neighborhood. Some activists weren’t opposed to the new facility but when the city’s Planning Commission made a recommendation that UPMC work on establishing a community benefits agreement [CBA] with the city, Berry and others saw it as an opportunity to demand and negotiate concessions.

Public defender Lisa Middleman announces campaign to challenge District Attorney Stephen Zappala

Lisa Gaye Middleman, an Allegheny County public defender, announced that she is launching her campaign for District Attorney today. Middleman, who is running as an independent, will face 20-year incumbent Stephen A. Zappala Jr. in the November 5 general election. Her campaign launch comes after another challenger, Turahn Jenkins, trailed Zappala by 20,357 votes in May’s Democratic primary election. Middleman estimates that she’ll need to gather nearly 4,000 signatures on her petition before Aug. 1 to appear on the November ballot but plans to collect well above that amount.