PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — On KDKA Radio Tuesday morning, Gov. Tom Wolf criticized UPMC for failing to pay its employees adequately, contrasting the salaries of the highest paid to the average at UPMC with what he paid his employees when he owned and operated a company.
“My compensation wasn’t anything close to what the compensation of the folks at UPMC is,” said Wolf. “The ratio of highest paid to average worker at my company was far below what it is at UPMC. So those are the kind of things I don’t think you do at a company, and it’s especially true at a company that relies on the good will of the community it serves.”
The governor said UPMC’s lower-paid, front-line workers need to be treated better.
“I had employees for many, many years and recognized that I depended on them, especially the front line workers to treat my customers really well. And in order to do that, one of the things I had to treat my employees with respect and had to give them decent compensation and benefits.”
UPMC rejected the criticism, accusing the governor of being beholden to the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) that has been trying to unionize at UPMC.
UPMC says SEIU gave Wolf nearly a million dollars in his election.
In a statement, Paul Wood, UPMC spokesman, said, “UPMC treats its employees as well if not much better than Gov. Wolf treated his employees at Wolf Industries. The average pay for all Wolf Industries workers is $33,000. The average pay for all UPMC workers (excluding physicians and executives) is $61,000.”
Wolf’s spokesman says UPMC is just trying to deflect attention from UPMC’s recent decision to deny more than 182,000 senior citizens low-cost Medicare Advantage coverage next year.