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Aspirus workers asking for better wages and benefits

Published: May. 3, 2021 at 10:44 PM CDT
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WISCONSIN RAPIDS, Wis. (WSAW) - On Monday, service and support workers at Aspirus Riverview Hospital held a demonstration with signs and banners calling for an increase in pay and better benefits. Service and support include laundry, housekeeping, dietary service, and certified nurse aids. With the help of their union, SEIU Healthcare Wisconsin, demonstrators said they’re hoping to see change.

“We’re on the front lines working with the patients. We want to be compensated for that,” Riverview baker and cook Carol Koeshall said.

Through the Health and Human Services Provider Relief Fund, Aspirus Wausau Hospital, Aspirus VNA Home Health, Aspirus Iron River Hospital and Clinics, and other Aspirus clinics received $21,929,933. The support service workers believe that relief should help to increase their wages.

“We don’t want major employers to be lowballing service workers. Living wages for people who work 40 hours a week. We can do it, Aspirus can afford it,” Wisconsin Rapids resident Dave Gorski said.

Wages are one part of the issue, but benefits are another major concern. Workers at the demonstration said they want to see their benefits restored to a fair place.

“They’re trying to take away some of our benefits. They’re raising our healthcare we can’t afford that,” Koeshall said.

“They need to have benefits. They need to be treated with dignity is the bottom line,” said Gorski.

Channel 7 reached out to Aspirus Riverview for a comment, they replied:

“Aspirus values the contributions of all team members. We have enjoyed positive relationships with all our union partners, and look forward to continuing to negotiate in good faith with SEIU leaders and a federal mediator at our Wednesday meeting. Out of respect for that process, we will not be providing additional information at this time.”

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