Health care workers at the Allegheny County Jail, along with several dozen community allies, held an informational picket on Thursday, September 4, 2014, at the Allegheny County Courthouse in Pittsburgh to call on the county and its health care contractor to make sure staffing levels at the jail are safe.
The workers, who are USW members and employees of the for-profit company Corizon Health Inc., held signs that read “Patients over Profits” and “Safe Staffing Now.” The workers also attended a meeting of the County Jail Oversight Board after the rally to ask that the county enforce staffing requirements in its contract with Corizon. At issue are staffing levels required to protect workers and inmates.
The workers voted overwhelmingly, 64 to 7, in February to become members of the USW. The county’s contract with Corizon went into effect on September 1, 2013.
Sister Barbara Finch, a health care worker at the jail, said that staffing levels at the facility are not always sufficient to ensure the health and safety of the jail’s inmates, or the workers. Finch said the USW is currently in negotiations with the company for a first contract, but that bargaining has been “slow and arduous.”