PESHTIGO, Wis. (WFRV)--A long term care facility in Peshtigo is forcing its patients to find another place to live.
Whispering Oaks care center is making patients leave the facility in the next few days. The owner claims it is because of a labor dispute, but employees are saying its because the company can't afford to pay them or the bills.
There are 24 patients currently living in the facility, and staff and the State Department of Health are now rushing to find them a new place to live.
The owner of the facility said to Local Five it is a voluntary decision and in a statement said that it "is a labor dispute and a threatened work stoppage by the facility's nursing staff workers."
The state Department of Health confirmed to Local Five it was a voluntary decision. They found that the facility is in compliance with its licensing standards and are not forcing it to be shut down.
At the nursing home today, a lot of upset residents and workers. Linda Lindquist considers Whispering Oaks home after staying here on and off for the past 3 years, and she's not ready to leave.
"I'm very upset by it, all the personnel is fantastic and it's a shame because the reason why we have to go to another home is because the owner won't pay anyone," said Lindquist.
Tim Joslin works as a dietary aide at the center, he said he's one of about 25 who is out of job.
"They just told me to be ready and they don't know if I'm going to have a job," said Joslin, "today could be my last day, I'm not really sure, it just sucks because I just got approved for an apartment, I have two kids, don't know what the (sic) I'm going to do."
The owner of the facility is James Boyd, who is with InterMed management based in Ohio. He refused a phone interview with local five, but told us it was a labor dispute with the nursing staff that is causing the center to temporarily shut down.
Nurses who work at the facility would not go on camera for fear of retribution, but tell local five there has never been a labor dispute.
They say the problem is they aren't getting paid, that their pay checks have been bouncing in the most recent pay period.
"Oh come on, these girls haven't had a labor dispute, they've been on a wage freeze for 5 years and they're still coming to work every day," said Lindquist.
The Wisconsin department of health said they have been monitoring the situation and the facility for some time. They said they first received information that staff was not being paid last week and sent a team in to investigate the facility.
They found the facility had adequate staffing levels, and said the financial situation of Whispering Oaks and its employees is not something they monitor or deal with.
They said they are still monitoring the situation and helping to move residents to other proper facilities. At this point the future of the Nursing home is unclear.
The full statement from the owner, James Boyd said this, "On behalf of the Whispering Oaks Care center, it was determined that due to a labor dispute and a threatened work stoppage by the facility's nursing staff workers, that voluntary reporting of the matter to the Wisconsin department of health services and the immediate outplacement of the facility residents to another, properly staffed care needs and safety needs would continue to be met which is our first priority, was the correct action for Whispering Oaks Care Center to implement, until such time that the labor dispute can be resolved."