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Healthcare Workers In Lincoln City Rally For Fair Wages & Benefits

SAMARITAN_PICKET.JPG
SEIU Local 49
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Health care workers and their supporters held picket signs and rallied for fair wages and benefits Thursday outside Samaritan North Lincoln Hospital.

Last November about 120 hospital employees in Lincoln City voted to unionize and join SEIU Local 49. Union spokesman Jesse Stemmler says they've been bargaining with hospital management since then. But he says the workers don't feel they're receiving the same compensation as those at other Samaritan hospitals, including Newport, Corvallis and Albany.

Stemmler: "Those caregivers at North Lincoln and Lincoln City were seeing their jobs were paying less and they were paying more for health care, and we know the cost of living is typically higher. And so, these workers aren't asking for much, but they're asking for what's fair."

Stemmler says workers from those other Samaritan hospitals joined the rally. The union represents employees from respiratory therapists to billing specialists. The next bargaining session is set for Monday, June 23. Samaritan North Lincoln Hospital did not return calls seeking comment.

Angela Kellner is the KLCC host of All Things Considered and a reporter. Angela began as a KLCC volunteer in 1991 when she was in high school. While a student at Lane Community College, she was hired in 1993 for a work-study position in the KLCC Music Department and has been with the station in some role since then. Angela hosted KLCC's world music program Tropical Beat for 11 years from 1994 to 2005 and continues to fill in on a monthly basis.
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