By Amy Wadas

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Hundreds of people filled Grant Street Thursday demanding respect from Pittsburgh’s largest employer UPMC.

UPMC workers said they’re tired of being afraid to stand up for what they want and for what they deserve, so that’s what they did Thursday.

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Many of them took their concerns to the street outside UPMC Presbyterian, and then again Thursday afternoon on Grant Street.

They asked to be paid a minimum wage of $20 an hour, and they want safer staffing, better working conditions, affordable healthcare and the right to form a union without retaliation. The workers were people who work in food service and directly with patients like patient care technicians. They said it’s been a struggle for years.

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“I was very sickly and they cut my insurance after six months. I was going through chemo. How was I going to pay that, after six months when they got rid of my insurance?” said UPMC Shadyside food service attendant Rachel Dittmer.

“I’m at work more than I’m at home because I can’t afford a living wage. I work too much. I’m burned out,” said UPMC Presbyterian patient care technician Tinisha Brockman.

Pennsylvania Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman and Pittsburgh Mayor-Elect Ed Gainey were also at the protest to show their support.

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KDKA reached out to UPMC for a comment. They said: “We have 45,000 employees in Allegheny County. 43 participated in the walkout.” UPMC also said patient services at all their hospitals proceeded without interruption.