Local Steelworkers Union Use Billboards To Send Message Regarding Essentia Layoffs

More billboards are expected to go up throughout the Northland including Ely, Spooner, and Ashland.

DULUTH, Minn. – New billboards may catch your attention the next time you are traveling on the Blatnik Bridge or on I-35.

The  United Steelworkers Union Local 9460 is using the platform to send a strong message to the community for support and to Essentia Health as they are planning to lay off nine hundred employees in the northland.

The billboards elude to the hospital putting wealth over health.

The union hopes this will urge executives at Essentia to find other alternatives such as more temporary furloughs rather than to permanently cut jobs.

“The work has been picking up dramatically. A lot of the departments that are being cut, the workers are being overwhelmed with work,” said Union Vice President Adam Ritscher. “We really feel financial and the community needs there has been a better way than this.”

Essentia leadership say planned cuts are being made due to operational losses from the Coronavirus pandemic.

The healthcare provider has lost $100 million since March as a result of a decline in patient volumes.

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