You Can’t Claim Bigfoot With a Small Toe

by Kim Ward, AKA Miss Money

I’m a supply specialist in the environmental services (EVS) department at UPMC Presbyterian. I started here and worked for four months before I got promoted to my current position. I work from 6:00 in the morning to 2:00 in the afternoon, and my job is to do supply deliveries and take them to where they need to go, so you’re pretty much running all over the hospital. Wipes, sanitizer, toilet paper, paper towels, carts, trashcans, biohazard bins, moving supplies.

We help each other out. If they got busted garbage cans or dispensers for toilet paper or wipes we get new ones, and we stock housekeeping to make sure they have what they need for their carts, because we’re all in the same EVS department.

In addition to my work at UPMC, I am also Miss Money, Famous Pittsburgh musician, and I use my voice and influence to uplift our culture both mentally and physically and to give back to my community. Wherever I am, I believe in leading by example.

At the hospital, you really don’t know what you’re going to have to deliver. And it can be dangerous work. I definitely do a lot of lifting, especially when the supplies come in — unloading boxes definitely puts a lot of wear and tear on the body. Like if you’re stocking boxes high, I’m short, so if I’m not careful I can drop things or pull muscles because it’s not like they train you to do proper lifting. Running the pilot jack too, numerous things. I enjoy the position but I don’t think management realizes the toll it takes on the body. I don’t think they care either. They act like they don’t recognize what’s going on. I’ve had numerous meetings with management about it and they still act like they don’t know.

I work by myself — they only want one person in this position. We went to management numerous times about that too, even people who were here before me told them this is a two-to-three person position, but they don’t want to flex at all. I’m like: you created this position, so you could make it work.

It’ll keep going until I walk in and tell them I’m about to put in my two weeks. Then they ask what they can do, and I tell them, and they act like they can’t do it. People are coming to you and telling you what works, telling you what you need to do — basically doing your job for you — and you still don’t want to do it. They’re so disorganized, it’s painful. Nothing makes sense there.

They are never consistent with the rules and communication with employees and they have unrealistic expectations. For example, one day they wanted me to organize these closets because they’re in a frenzy because there is an inspection coming, so last minute they have me doing that — but I still have deliveries that are depending on me. I was running around delivering things, so I only got half his closet done. Then they called me in saying I didn’t do any work, because I didn’t finish the closets! If I finished the closets and didn’t get my normal work done they’d have called me in for that. So I have to explain that there is only one of me, which is pretty basic.

They act like it’s my job to communicate these things. No, it’s your job, you’re the supervisor, you’re the director, you’re the boss, you’re making the money. They don’t know how to talk to people, and there is a lot of disrespect that goes on from the management to employees. No matter how good you are, they treat you like you can always be replaced. I’ve suggested to them that they take courses on how to communicate.

Swearing at employees is normal for them. We have meetings where they just cuss at you. Management calls women bitches to our face! And it just gets swept under the rug. Of course if the employee did it, you know what would happen. And management gets mad when you take it to HR. It doesn’t do much anyway, HR says they’re going to have a meeting and then it goes nowhere. But at least someone needs to hear about what goes on over there.

Honestly, I think a lot of it has to do with power trips. They just don’t know how to run the department, but they want to be in charge. It’s like I told them, their vibrations are low, they got real low vibrations.

A lot of my coworkers don’t speak out because they’re afraid to lose their job. But I’m willing to speak up. I know things could be here today and gone tomorrow, and that’s just what it is. So I’m not going to worry about that. My mission is to help. And like I said, I lead by example.

UPMC’s problems are across the board. I drive to work, and we have to pay to park in our own lot, $22 a day. They own the lots — in any decently run place the employees should park for free! Is the lot for their workers so the facility can operate or is the lot there to make money? Then you have to eat in the cafeteria, especially if you come to work so early nothing else is open. Employees got to pay to come to work, pay to park, pay to eat.

UPMC has so much money and they act like they still need funding. Like, you literally have to pay them to work for them. What do you want, for your workers to be homeless? They want us to starve? Working at UPMC you got to pick if you want a house or want to eat. They like to talk about how they’re number one in PA. If that was true, they’d show it in how they treat us.

You can’t claim bigfoot with a small toe.

I’m not going to act like it’s all bad; they do give you some choice in where you work and let you move around within UPMC and that’s good. But they’ll also hold you back if you want to move around. It’s like they don’t want to see us excel. Their bad outweighs their good.

We need better wages for everyone. The level of respect from the higher ups needs to go way up. And they should implement nutrition into the workday — nutrition is part of life. They get mad when employees go down to get something to eat. Some people start at 4:00 in the morning, you should have breakfast there for them. If UPMC was really as great as they say, they would take care of their employees and take care of the community.

Music for me is an outsource and frequency control of the world. Being a musician you tap into all kinds of people’s feelings and emotions and they gravitate with you. Becoming an employee in the hospital and being a musician has been a journey. When I initially applied to the job, it was to be a leader for my younger followers coming from the streets, who sometimes lose hope due to their records and backgrounds and surroundings. I wanted to show them that even as a felon, which I was myself, there’s still some companies that gave you a second chance, like UPMC.

To me at the time, UPMC meant Understanding People May Change. I wrote a speech for the director using that slogan and my followers watched. With a following of almost 200k many reach out to me saying they applied for jobs and were trying to change their lives. That’s beautiful. But it just sucks when you’ve realized the way corporations like this treat their employees. Now I use these experiences to create more music and give it to the world through my sound.

We are UPMC hospital workers — these are our stories from the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic.