BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — On day 23 of the Mercy Hospital strike workers on the picket line got support from a big name in the Democratic party.

Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez addressed CWA employees after her rally with the Democratic nominee for Buffalo Mayor India Walton.

AOC commended workers for making the hard decision to walk out and says she understands they’re doing this for patient safety.

Members say they won’t leave the picket until they receive better benefits, higher wages and a better plan for safe staffing.

On Saturday, Catholic Health released a statement detailing the progress it’s trying to make in contract negotiations with the union. A spokesperson said they are eager to hammer out a deal and get their staff back in the building.

“Catholic Health shares the sentiments of our community, patients and families – we want our associates back at Mercy Hospital,” said Catholic Health Director Public Relations JoAnn Cavanaugh. “The longer the strike goes on, however, we will need to consider all of our options.”

“The parties made progress this week on contract language about pharmacy benefits, prescription co-pays and overtime pay. But four weeks into its strike, the union still has no sense of urgency to reach an agreement,” Cavanaugh said. “We have been waiting for more than a week for CWA to respond to key proposals to end this strike, while the union has spent significant time over the last few days discussing an inconsequential proposal that would allow associates to wear red uniforms on Thursdays.”

Read Catholic Health’s full statement by clicking here.

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