BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — CWA workers at Catholic Health's Mercy Hospital began their strike at 6 a.m. on Friday.
Catholic Health Services says CWA bargaining committee members walked out of contract negotiations early Friday morning, leading workers to the strike.
Catholic Health said early Friday morning the negotiation breakdown means they were not able to reach an agreement for the six labor contracts, covering more than 2,000 registered nurses, technical and clerical associates.
CWA workers began gathering around the building around 5 a.m.
STRIKE STARTING:— Taylor Epps (@taylor_epps_) October 1, 2021
Workers at Mercy Hospital are starting to gather this morning.
We’re expecting to see thousands walking out here soon.
Catholic Health says negotiations broke down over night and the CWA’s bargaining committee walked out.
I’ll be here all morning. @WKBW pic.twitter.com/6ntlE4B5td
Contract negotiations had been ongoing for more than two weeks between the two parties. CWA members voted to authorize a strike on September 10. Members are seeking to raise wages for some of the union's lowest-paid workers to $15 an hour, and asking for safer staffing ratios.
In preparation for this morning's strike, Catholic Health suspended several services at Mercy Hospital, including labor and delivery and elective inpatient surgeries. There is a temporary diversion of incoming ambulances, but walk-in patients will be treated at the hospital's emergency department.