Nurses, activists and local seniors packed themselves into Pittsburgh’s City Council chambers Tuesday afternoon to speak out against a controversial proposed expansion of UPMC Mercy in downtown Pittsburgh in an exhaustive four-hour hearing.

More than 150 people surrounded the seated council members and spilled into the atrium as they pleaded for the council to deny UPMC Mercy its proposed expansion until the health care giant agrees to enter a community benefits agreement with stakeholders.

Hospital Workers Rising, a project of SEIU Healthcare PA — the state’s largest union of nurses and health care workers —  organized the opposition to the expansion. City Council is set to vote on a resolution that would allow UPMC to amend its 2012 master plan to modify the use of their property. The modification would allow them to expand a parking lot and former NRG power plant next to UPMC Mercy into a new, 300,000-square-foot Vision Rehabilitation Center.

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