PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The tragic shootings at Western Psych spawned calls for tighter security, and a government-contracted report says the institution has not done enough to protect the 2,000 employees who work there.
The Service Employee International Union, which is trying to organize those workers, applauded its findings.
“The institution commendably has been very focused on patient safety, that’s definitely a good thing,” said Zach Zobrist, of the SEIU. “However, what the report says is there was not enough focus on employee safety as well.”
But UPMC disagrees, and says that the findings are no longer relevant since it’s already implementing security changes at all of its institutions as recommended in October by Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala.
“An issue as far as I was concerned, which was not negotiable, was that there would be an armed presence – uniformed or otherwise – on these campuses,” said Zappala.
In its statement, UPMC says that OSHA – the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which received the report – issued no citations against Western Psych; and that OSHA never called the report to the medical center’s attention.
“UPMC strives at all times to protect the rights and safety of everyone in our facilities including patients, staff and visitors.”
UPMC further noted that the report was prepared by the wife of an SEIU official, but the union maintains that the findings are not tainted.
“My understanding is she’s an expert in her field, and that’s why she was consulted. So, that’s why she was selected,” said Zobrist.
While the union applauds some the changes being implemented, they say there’s still work to be done to improve employee safe.
UPMC says the report and all the union’s statements need to be viewed through the lens of an organizing campaign.