School Closings And Delays

Former Hospital Workers Get Long-Awaited Pay Day

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BUTLER TOWNSHIP -- It was a happy day for dozens of former hospital workers in Schuylkill County, who finally received paychecks after a year of waiting.

Employees at the now closed Saint Catherine’s Hospital near Ashland were handed out their first round of checks Thursday evening.

It was a joyous day for the former hospital workers, who came to their once-place of employment for what essentially was a long awaited payday.

“It`s a great day, wonderful, we deserve this,” said Susan Davis of Gilberton.

They used to work at Saint Catherine`s Hospital near Ashland until the state health department shut down the facility due to poor patient conditions in April of last year.

The hospital was forced into bankruptcy and people said they were left both out of work and without their final paychecks.

“To work six weeks with no pay and then lose your job, today that`s devastating so this here, this is a great thing,” said Barry Spieles, the AFSCME union president.

Working through their union with a court-appointed bankruptcy attorney, that money has now finally come through.

For many the day was emotional.

“It`s wonderful, we`re all happy. We never thought we’d see this money, no we didn`t, but I`m glad it came at a good time, we all need it,” said Davis.

“It`s wonderful, we didn`t think this day would ever come, really happy,” said Chris Hamilton of Pottsville.

“This is wonderful, this is, you can`t describe it, we`ve been waiting for almost a year for this,” said Alexa Bozza of Mount Carmel.

These people once held positions at Saint Catherine`s ranging from lab technicians to nurses' assistants to maintenance.

Some have found new jobs; others are still looking for work, but for all the money comes as a lifesaver.

“This is saving homes and everything, cars so this is great,” said Spieles. “For me, the money`s going right into the bank for the money that I loaned to keep going.”

The union said there should be another round of checks issued to those former workers for two month’s pay since the company closed without giving sixty days notice.