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Mercy Hospital healthcare workers vote to authorize strike

Posted at 6:51 PM, Sep 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-10 18:52:10-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Healthcare workers at Mercy Hospital say conditions inside the facility are dire when it comes to staffing and patient care.

“We’re trying to wake people up because we’re literally in a state of crisis right now,” said Jackie Ellipio from CWA Local 1133.

CWA Local 1133 members say this week, members voted in favor of a possible strike. This gives Catholic Health, which operates South Buffalo Mercy, Kenmore Mercy and St. Joes hospitals 10 days to come up with a plan for staffing if a strike takes place.

“It means that there are really serious conditions inside the facility, and we’re not sure what else we can do in order to make improvements,” said Debora Hayes, CWA Area Director.

The union says 97% of its members voted in favor of the strike. They’re currently bargaining a new contract with Catholic Health.

Catholic Health released a statement saying in part:

“We are disappointed CWA Local 1133 is threatening to strike at Mercy Hospital. It is unconscionableould take registered nurses and other crucial healthcare workers away from patient’s bedsides and out of our hospital to walk the picket line, while COVID-19 cases continue to rise in our community.”

Despite the potential strike, Catholic Health says it will be fully ready to staff the hospitals. A Catholic Health Spokesperson tells me the company is working with the state and private company preparing for the possibility of a strike.

Still, union members say they’re doing what’s right for the community in the long haul.

“This is just as much about patient advocacy and giving the patients what they deserve as it is about getting a fair wage,” Hayes said.