BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — The contract proposal between Catholic Health and Communications Workers of America (CWA) has been ratified.
The plan received 94% support among the more than 2,500 union members.
Mercy Hospital workers walked off the job on October 1. They remained on the picket line until terms of the deal were first announced.
The contract gives all workers at least a 2% raise.
Mercy Hospital workers will go back on the job Wednesday.
There could see a similar situation come up in just a few months.
7ABC's Pheben Kassahun continues the coverage with a look at the next nursing contract that is set to expire, and how nurses in New York state stack up against others from across the country.
"We said, 'It's now or never' and that's what we did," CWA Local 1133 president, Jackie Ettipio said.
Registered nurses like Jackie Ettipio is the president of CWA Local 1133. She was among the numerous health care workers on the picket lines fighting for better pay and work environments at Mercy Hospital.
"The process was ups and downs. You didn't know if you were going to get it. Sometimes you felt good, then you left and you weren't sure but you knew you had the fight. We kind of already knew that we were starting for pretty much all of the Northeast," Ettipio added. "We saw suffering to where suffering should not be."
While Catholic Health and its workers discuss tough topics, it raises the question of whether or not other health care systems in Western New York will open the floor for discussion with its workers.
Kaleida Health chief administrative officer, Michael Hughes, said in a text statement that it is premature to speculate.
"It's premature to speculate at this time. Our contract does not expire until May 31, 2022. We look forward to sitting down with our labor partners and negotiating in good faith in the coming months to get a new contract next year. Right now, we are focused on fighting COVID-19 and delivering the very best patient care for this community."
As of late, there is still no word from Erie County Medical Center representatives. Their contract expires in 2023.
So, how does this compare to the state, and even the nation?
According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, between May 2019 and May 2020, registered nurses in the United States earned an average salary of $80,010, or $38.47/hour.
Taking a closer look at the state of New York's average in the same year, registered nurses made an average salary of $89,760.
The salary after the cost-of-living adjustment was $62,533.
New York is among the highest paying states for registered nurses. California, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Oregon and Alaska were among the top five states, while states among the lowest pay for RN's were Alabama, South Dakota, and Mississippi.