Mercy Hospital Employees Strike for Fifth Consecutive Day in Buffalo, New York

Health care workers on strike at Mercy Hospital of Buffalo in New York gathered outside the facility on Tuesday, October 5, for the fifth consecutive day to demand “increased staff and improved compensation,” according to employees.

This footage filmed by Instagram user @tina_marie0129 shows scenes outside the hospital on Sunday and Monday, as Communications Workers of America (CWA) union members marched and chanted in the rain.

“Last year, before the COVID-19 pandemic overwhelmed everybody, we were negotiating with Catholic Health for a new contract,” Mercy Hospital workers wrote in an open letter addressed to their patients and the Buffalo community. "We chose to postpone talks and extend our contract in light of the emerging crisis.

“We worked around the clock during Buffalo’s darkest times,” they continued. “Now, the staffing shortage has only gotten worse, and Catholic Health has failed to address the crisis that has emerged at our hospitals.”

As of Monday, Catholic Health said it was waiting for CWA to provide a written formal response to its last offer. Catholic Health said its latest proposal to the union offered “market-competitive wages that maintains existing benefits and presents a strong, long-term solution to address staffing.” CWA has yet to provide a written proposal or counter proposal on major economic bargaining topics since September 19, according to Catholic Health.

“We stand firm on our position that until CWA responds to us in writing, and until it can control its followers on the picket line and bargaining committee members, Catholic Health will be available to meet with CWA’s bargaining committee virtually,” JoAnn Cavanaugh, director of public relations at Catholic Health, said in a statement on Monday.

According to local media, the parties were scheduled to meet on October 5 for more negotiations. Storyful reached out to both CWA and Catholic Health for comment on the talks, but had not heard back at the time of writing. Credit: @tina_marie0129 via Storyful

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