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Marinette, WI: Workers at Aurora Medical Center Bay Area stand up to union busting

By staff |
February 1, 2020
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Marinette, WI - 300 workers at Aurora Medical Center Bay Area in Marinette, Wisconsin are fighting back against management’s attacks on their right to organize. These attacks include using the expiration of their contract to cease dues check-off, offering poverty wages, and consistently extending bargaining by conveying misleading and inaccurate information to workers. These tactics are a vicious attack on working people and our ability to provide for our families.

AFSCME Local 3305 represents medical and professional support staff at the hospital, which was purchased by Aurora Health Care Inc. in 2019. Aurora Health Care operates only two unionized hospitals in all of Wisconsin.

Since the contract expired in September 2019, workers have endured twelve bargaining sessions. Still, Aurora Health Care refuses to budge on poor wages. While Aurora Health Care pays their union-busting attorneys hundreds of dollars an hour, they continue to insult workers by offering low wages.

Management is consistently utilizing union-busting tactics to divide workers. These tactics include reorganizing workers out of the bargaining unit, which makes fewer union members eligible for union membership. This strategy is often used by management to silence workers and weaken their collective power.

Additionally, management stopped dues deduction, which the National Labor Relations Board refers to as an “economic weapon” in bargaining. This tactic attempts to force local leaders to focus on maintaining their local rather than focus on necessary bargaining work.

Workers are fighting back by speaking to local press, distributing signs throughout the community to show solidarity with hospital employees, displaying signs on their vehicles parked on the hospital grounds, and organizing their coworkers. With poor offers on the table, bargaining is ongoing, and the workers are resolved to fight until they win.