The non-medical staff at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) are not making enough money to get by. Like workers at Walmart and elsewhere, they have to depend upon welfare programs and private charities like food banks. As a result, they are trying to unionize under the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). And the UPMC has heard their cries!
The UPMC has started its own food bank.
That’s right. Why pay employees a living wage when you can instead just make charity more convenient? And the great thing is that they don’t even have to pay for it. Thus far, all they’ve done is send out fliers to employees asking them to donate to the food bank.
One employee pointed out that in addition to missing the point of their complaints, the local food bank isn’t even helpful. “It’s going to be more demeaning and embarrassing for me because now I have to go and pick up food at a food bank where I work in front of my friends and co-workers. I make it a point to go to food pantries where nobody knows who I am.”
This is a critical point that I don’t think the rich understand: we who are poor have just as much dignity as anyone else. It isn’t easy to be poor in this society that measures worth by bank account balance. But it is even worse when our poverty is made public display of. And it is worst of all when those better off than we are use their acts of charity to feel even more superior.
Of course, in this case, we have something totally different: a company that is trying to avoid its responsibilities to its employees with a gimmick that skirts the issues—hopefully, with someone else’s money.