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Nurses union "overwhelmingly" votes to ratify six contracts, ending Mercy Hospital strike

Posted at 9:23 PM, Nov 08, 2021

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — After five weeks on strike, nurses and other hospital staff working at Catholic Health and represented by the Communications Workers of America (CWA) "overwhelmingly" voted to ratify a total of six contracts which cover over 2,500 workers across Mercy Hospital of Buffalo, Kenmore Mercy Hospital and Sisters of Charity Hospital-St. Joseph Campus.

According to officials, CWA Local 1133 and Local 1168 voted to ratify the contracts by a margin of 94% yes to 6% no on Monday.

“The agreement we’ve reached with Catholic Health, now overwhelmingly ratified by our members, is going to allow Catholic Health to attract and retain the staff they need, provide the good wages and benefits our healthcare heroes deserve and usher in a new level of care and safety for patients,” said CWA Area Director Debora Hayes. “Thanks to the steadfast determination and sacrifices of our members over the past five weeks, these Catholic Health hospitals are now the first in New York, and some of the only across the country that will guarantee safe staffing levels. This is a tremendous victory not only for our members, but for the patients, their families and the community who can be assured they will receive the highest quality care. We have set a new standard and we applaud Catholic Health for working diligently with us to get there.”

Catholic Health says the agreements are retroactive to July 1, 2021, and include "market-competitive wage increases; comprehensive health, retirement, and paid time off benefits; and the region’s most progressive approach to address staffing shortages."

“It’s a new day for Mercy Hospital as we prepare to welcome back our associates, and for Catholic Health as we refocus our energies on providing the highest quality care and service to the people of Western New York,” said Mark Sullivan, President & CEO of Catholic Health. “Our collective healing process will take time, but I am confident in the ability of our leadership team and associates to work and heal together, and know we will emerge even stronger than before.”

Catholic Health and CWA reached the tentative agreement last week.

Union nurses and employees of Mercy Hospital will return to work on Wednesday.