Justice & The Courts


The U.S. Supreme Court is poised to dismantle a key part of the Great Society. Here’s how | Opinion

BY: - June 8, 2023

The high court is likely to strike down affirmative action for college admissions, undermining racial equality.

Pa. Supreme Court hears arguments on order halting greenhouse gas reduction program

BY: and - May 24, 2023

‘We know that the proceeds from the RGGI auction have the potential for further growth in a Pennsylvania clean energy economy,’ Katie Blume, of Conservation Voters PA said.

Pa. House votes on gun safety bills highlight Democrats’ ‘humble majority’

BY: and - May 22, 2023

‘There is no doubt in my mind that the shameful era of doing nothing is coming to an end,’ Rep Dan Frankel said.

Appeals court judges embrace anti-abortion speculation

BY: and - May 21, 2023

Mifepristone remains legal and on the market as the case winds its way through the legal system.

A coalition of labor unions has filed an antitrust complaint against UPMC, asking the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate whether the hospital system has used its “monopsony” power to suppress healthcare workers’ wages in the region, and limit their options to seek employment elsewhere. The complaint filed Thursday by SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania and the Strategic Organizing Center, states that UPMC has an “ongoing pattern of acquisitions and elimination of capacity in hospital and labor markets.” The healthcare giant, which is the largest private employer in Pennsylvania, has been able to “suppress workers’ wages and benefits, drastically increase their workloads, and prevent workers from exiting or improving these working conditions through a draconian system of mobility restrictions and widespread labor law violations that lock in sub-competitive pay and working conditions,” according to the 55-page filing. “If, as we believe, UPMC is insulated from competitive market pressures, it will be able to keep workers’ wages and benefits—and patient quality—below competitive levels, while at the same time continually imposing further restraints and abuses on workers to maintain its market dominance,” the complaint states. “Because we believe this conduct is contrary to Section 2 of the Sherman Act, we respectfully urge the Department of Justice to investigate UPMC and take action to halt this conduct.” Matt Yarnell, president of SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania, said during a conference call with reporters on Thursday that the complaint was groundbreaking “because no one has ever filed a complaint saying that these mobility restrictions and labor law violations are anti-competitive conduct that violate [sic] federal antitrust law.” Antitrust cases typically focus on whether a seller is big enough to have monopoly power that allows it to raise prices, for instance, if it has no competitors. In monopsony cases, a company often controls buying in a given marketplace, including in a region where it controls a large portion of jobs. UPMC, the complaint states, has some 92,000 workers. “Traditionally, workers have two ways to compete for jobs in labor markets,” Yarnell said. “They can leave their current job and look for a better job or they can stay in their current job and try to obtain better working conditions.” But UPMC has cut off these avenues of competition, he added, using non-compete agreements and “do-not-rehire” practices, and preventing employees from forming unions, he added. The complaint also states that the worker-to-patient ratios at UPMC facilities have fallen to levels that can affect patient care. “As of 2020, UPMC ratios are on average 19% lower than the average non-UPMC staffing ratios,” according to the complaint. Jodi Faltin, a nurse at UPMC, said during the conference call that staffing shortages were a constant concern, and that workers often did not speak out for fear of losing their jobs, and fear of being unable to find a new job in the field. “When three-fourths of the hospital jobs in Pittsburgh are with UPMC, your options are limited,” Faltin said. And I didn't become a nurse to maximize UPMC’s profit. I'm not concerned about expanding the Empire or increasing executive bonuses. I care about my co-workers earning a living wage, having affordable health care and being supported to provide safe and compassionate care.” In an emailed statement from Paul Wood, chief communications officer at UPMC, the hospital system refuted the arguments in the complaint. Nursing care at UPMC “is based on [patients’] acuity and needs, not staffing ratios, enabling us to staff with flexibility, deploying our nurses to best meet patients’ needs,” the statement reads. And there is no policy prohibiting an employee who leaves UPMC from being hired at another UPMC facility, according to the statement. “UPMC’s average wage is more than $78,000,” the statement reads. “There are no other employers of size and scope in the regions UPMC serves that provide good paying jobs at every level and an average wage of this magnitude.” U.S. Rep. Summer Lee, D-12th District, said on the call that the healthcare system was “abusing its power to exploit its workers and patients on the backs of taxpayers.” “My hometown Braddock lost our only hospital and largest employer back in 2010 for the same reason McKeesport is closing their ICU this year,” Lee continued. “It’s the same reason Western PA is facing a hospital staffing crisis that’s putting our loved ones’ lives at risk--and the same reason our nurses and health aides, who are paid so little that they’re in medical debt to the hospital they work for, face retaliation for speaking out for their patients being ripped off by skyhigh health care costs and declining quality of care.”

Pittsburgh unions file antitrust complaint against UPMC

BY: - May 18, 2023

PITTSBURGH — A coalition of labor unions has filed an antitrust complaint against UPMC, asking the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate whether the hospital system has used its “monopsony” power to suppress healthcare workers’ wages in the region, and limit their options to seek employment elsewhere.  The complaint filed Thursday by SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania […]

U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk, of Texas, sided with the conservative Christian legal advocacy group, Alliance Defending Freedom, and issued an injunction on the Federal Drug Administration's 2000 approval of mifepristone(Phil Walter/Getty Images).

Arguments on landmark abortion pill case to be heard Wednesday in appeals court

BY: - May 16, 2023

It's the the next step on a path that will likely end at the U.S. Supreme Court.

Allegheny Co. judicial candidates spar over labor endorsements

BY: - May 7, 2023

Patrick Sweeney, Anthony DeLuca, and Andy Szefi are facing off in a 3-way contest in the May primary.


The Pgh synagogue shooting case should’ve been heard in Pa. court | Bruce Ledewitz

BY: - May 3, 2023

Federal jurisdiction over this case introduces enormous complications, both practical and legal.


Survivors want accountability and transparency. They’ve waited long enough | Opinion

BY: - April 26, 2023

By Katie M. Shipp As lawmakers return to Harrisburg this week, it is imperative that they prioritize passing window legislation that will allow victims of childhood sexual abuse to seek justice against perpetrators and the institutions that enabled them. As an attorney, I have received innumerable phone calls from adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse. The […]


Will Fox learn its lesson from $787M Dominion settlement? | Heather MacDonald

BY: - April 26, 2023

Last week, Fox News and Dominion Voting Systems avoided going to trial over defamation charges by agreeing to a settlement of an eye-popping $787 million. Many in the public felt that while the massive monetary windfall was nice, the delicious schadenfreude from a trial would have been priceless. A sizable portion of the nation felt […]

Rozzi urges Pa. Senate to pass standalone survivors’ amendment

BY: - April 25, 2023

The survivors’ amendment was set to be on the ballot in 2021 but the Department of State failed to properly advertise the proposal and the referendum was not held. 

Pa.’s juvenile detention centers are overcrowded, but building more isn’t the answer, advocates say

BY: - April 20, 2023

Youth advocates and a juvenile justice official called on Pennsylvania lawmakers to address a shortage of space and staff that has created a crisis affecting children in the justice system. While the head of the state chief juvenile probation officers’ group said the solution is for the state Department of Human Services to make more […]