Catholic Health strike reaches 1 week

Workers at Catholic Health's Mercy Hospital of Buffalo (N.Y.) have been on strike for a week amid their union's labor dispute with hospital management.

Members of Communications Workers of America, which represents about 2,000 front-line workers at Mercy Hospital, began the strike Oct. 1, citing workers' concerns about staffing and patient care. However, the two sides have yet to reach an agreement.

In a statement shared with Becker's, Catholic Health spokesperson JoAnn Cavanaugh said union leaders have coordinated pickets, rallies and press conferences during negotiations, instead of having a sense of urgency to get employees back to their jobs.

"We have a very good offer on the table that addresses staffing, provides competitive wages and maintains existing benefits. That's what the union should be sharing with their members," said Ms. Cavanaugh.

The union is calling for new contracts that alleviate what they say is a long-standing staffing crisis.

On Oct. 7, workers held a candlelight vigil on the picket line outside of Mercy Hospital.

CWA workers honored the patients inside Mercy Hospital during the vigil, which was also attended by from New York State United Teachers and United Auto Workers members, according to CBS affiliate WIVB.

Workers at Mercy Hospital voted Sept. 9 to authorize a strike and issued a strike notice Sept. 21. 

During the strike,  Mercy Hospital has suspended inpatient non-emergency procedures and paused labor and delivery services. The system on Sept. 29 also began diverting ambulances from Mercy Hospital and its Mercy Ambulatory Care Center in Orchard Park, N.Y.

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