USW Achieves New Health and Safety Protections for Pitt Faculty

Contact: Jess Kamm Broomell, 412-562-2444,

The United Steelworkers (USW) today announced a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the University of Pittsburgh that significantly expands health and safety protections for thousands of faculty members represented by the union.

The USW filed an unfair labor practice charge against Pitt in March after the administration revised its COVID-19 mitigation measures without bargaining these changes with the union members who risk exposure every day.

The MOU, resulting from the USW’s legal action, takes effect immediately. It not only affords greater protections than Pitt’s revised policy but exceeds the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

While the ADA applies only to individuals with qualifying disabilities, for example, the MOU covers faculty with a broader range of health concerns as well as those living with medically compromised family members. Depending on the type of work they perform, these union members can request adjustments such as remote instruction and virtual office hours to safeguard their health and that of their loved ones.

The USW also negotiated a process for ensuring consistent application of the MOU across Pitt’s numerous departments and campuses.

“These COVID-19 measures demonstrate why my colleagues and I formed our union,” said Tyler Bickford, a professor in the English department and a member of the union negotiating committee. “When Pitt tried to implement a policy without seeking input from those most affected by it, we brought the administration to the table and bargained an agreement that addresses our concerns. As the pandemic continues, this agreement provides the flexibility we need to serve our campus community while keeping ourselves and our families safe.”

The USW represents 850,000 men and women employed in metals, mining, pulp and paper, rubber, chemicals, glass, auto supply and the energy-producing industries, along with a growing number of workers in public sector and service occupations.

Press Inquiries

Media Contacts

Communications Director:
Jess Kamm at 412-562-2446

USW@WORK (USW magazine)
Editor R.J. Hufnagel

For industry specific inquiries,
Call USW Communications at 412-562-2442

Mailing Address

United Steelworkers
Communications Department
60 Blvd. of the Allies
Pittsburgh, PA 15222