Catholic Health CWA workers weigh in on tentative deal

Catholic Health Hospital Strike

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — The Catholic Health strike is in stand-down mode as workers prepare to vote on a new four-year deal. And if all goes well the workers could be back on the job by next Wednesday.

Brad Menefee has worked for Catholic Health for 30 years and doesn’t think the administration would’ve given this much if the workers didn’t hold out for 36 days.

“No. You would never have gotten anything. Mark Sullivan wasn’t gonna give anything, one percent raise, that’s nothing,” said Menefee, pharmacy purchaser.

News 4 has learned details of the tentative four-year deal which would give raises this year totaling more than 6% to registered nurses and more than 8% to service technical and clerical workers. General wage increases in the two percent range would follow in the years ahead.

When it comes to staffing ratios, the deal would ensure that there’s at least one worker for every four patients on the medical and surgical floors during the day shifts and at least one worker for every five patients at night. Some workers have told us that up until recently, they sometimes each had to care for a dozen patients at one time.

“Feeling like the reason and the strike, we went out, our mission accomplished. I mean, nothing’s gonna beat that,” added Jamie Banks, Mercy Hospital, CAT scan tech.

Regarding the tentative agreement, Catholic Health CEO Mark Sullivan said, “We listened to our associates and their primary concerns were market-competitive wages and increased staffing. These new contracts address both and more.”

“People are gonna be so excited to get back to seeing patients and taking care of everybody. That’s why we joined the hospital. This is why we stay in these careers. This is what we want to do,” Banks said.

The administration would also agree to hire 250 new employees to meet those staffing ratios. The striking workers will be voting throughout the day Friday and Sunday and if it is voted up, many of the employees could be back to work by Wednesday.

George Richert is an award-winning reporter who first joined the News 4 team in 1998, later returning in 2018. See more of his work here.

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