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Catholic Health, CWA reach tentative agreement to end Mercy Hospital strike

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Posted at 9:09 PM, Nov 04, 2021

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Catholic Health announced on Thursday that Catholic Health and CWA have reached a tentative agreement to end the Mercy Hospital strike.

Nearly 2,500 hospital workers have been on strike since October 1.

CWA will schedule a ratifying vote and will end the strike immediately, according to Catholic Health.

Highlights of the agreement include the following

  • A four-year agreement for all Catholic Health hospitals
  • Average RN Wage Increase 6.3% in first year of contract retroactive to June
  • Average STC Wage Increase 8.4% in first year of contract retroactive to June
  • Starting pay at $15 an hour
  • General Wage Increases
    • 2% effective June 2022
    • 2.5% effective June 2023
    • 2.75% effective June 2024
  • Average RN Compounded Wage increase over the life of the contract is 14.19%
  • Average STC Compounded Wage Increase over the life of the contract is 16.45%
  • Critical Care: ratios of 1:2 or 1:1 (dependent on acuity) with a ratio of 1:5 for Ancillary Staff.
  • Step Down Units: ratio of 1:3 and ancillary staff of 1:6
  • Med/Surg ratios vary by the type of unit and acuity of their patients, but ratios include either 1:4 days and 1:5 nights. At KMH the Med/Surg Ratios vary based on the acuity of the floors.
  • The ratios include a significant increase in Nurse’s Aides and ITAs as well as commitments on clerical staff, respiratory and EVS.
  • Bonus Pay for picking up additional shifts as well as an additional penalty added on to the bonus pay if the staffing ratios are not met. This penalty will begin immediately upon return to work.

“We listened to our associates and their primary concerns were market-competitive wages and increased staffing,” said Mark Sullivan, President & CEO of Catholic Health. “These new contracts address both and more. We are ready to welcome our caregivers back to Mercy Hospital.”

“We want to operate our hospitals with staffing models that will best serve patients. Our position of providing high-quality care in a safe environment has not changed,” Sullivan added. “Our staffing model is the most progressive approach to address staffing shortages of any hospital in our region. Not only does it comply fully with the New York State Safe Staffing law set to go into effect in January 2022, but it goes far beyond, adding 250 new positions in the face of a nationwide staffing shortage.”

We are very pleased with the tentative contract agreement we have reached with Catholic Health System. We have stressed from day one that frontline workers’ overriding concerns are sufficient staffing to ensure high-quality patient care, and a compensation package adequate to allow Catholic Health to attract and retain the staff needed to obtain staffing improvements. This contract achieves those major objectives, with historic breakthroughs in guaranteed safe staffing ratios, substantial across the board wage increases, including bringing all workers above $15 an hour, and preserving health and retirement plans intact. Hundreds of new workers will be hired under this agreement to remedy dire staffing shortages. Our members, the frontline nurses, technical, service and clerical workers at Catholic Health, made incredible sacrifices over the last five weeks to stand up for high quality patient care in Buffalo, and this tentative agreement is a tremendous victory that sets new standards in care for the region. We salute the determination and fighting spirit of our members, whose commitment has produced an outcome that will be completely transformative for patients, workers and the Buffalo community.

CWA District 1 Vice President Dennis Trainor and Area Director Debora Hayes