UPMC demonstrators block traffic in Pittsburgh

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Protesters blocked traffic in front of a Pittsburgh hospital as part of a rally to urge the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center to improve its treatment of workers.

Protesters briefly blocked the street in front of UPMC Presbyterian in the city’s Oakland neighborhood. No arrests were reported and the rally has concluded.

SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania accuses UPMC of intimidating and retaliating against workers trying to organize. Demonstrators also say that UPMC is taking unfair advantage of its tax-exempt status, and they accuse UPMC of trying to deny in-network access to hundreds of thousands of area residents as part of its dispute with insurer Highmark Inc.

A UPMC spokeswoman says the rally’s purpose was to “divert the public from the truth” and cast UPMC hospitals “in the worst possible light.”

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