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Aspirus Healthcare Workers Protest “Unfair” Treatment

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Wisconsin Rapids, Wis. (WAOW) -- Aspirus healthcare workers demonstrated along a busy street in Wisconsin Rapids Monday.

Not all of them were doctors or nurses. There were nursing assistants, cooks and sanitation workers, saying they feel Aspirus is shortchanging them.

"We don't feel we're getting properly paid for being frontline workers, especially during this past year," said Carol Koeshall, a baker and cook at Aspirus.

They say this is because of Aspirus' proposals to increase the cost of their healthcare, as well as make cuts to some of their benefits.

"We can't afford that. We need to be respected and paid," Koeshall said.

They also say they're disappointed with what they see as the corporation raking in huge profits and taxpayer bailouts.

According to reports from the fiscal year ending last June, Aspirus had profits of over $184 million, and received more than $52 million from the CARES Act.

"We really don't want major employers to be lowballing service workers," said David Gorski, an Aspirus patient. "That hospital wouldn't run if people didn't come in every day and wash the linens, and cook the food, and clean the floors, and clean the bathrooms."

Aspirus will be going back to the negotiating table with the SEIU Healthcare Workers Union Wednesday.

In a statement Aspirus said, "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."

Natalie Sopyla

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