Staffing ratios remain the final item on the bargaining table between Catholic Health and CWA

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BUFFALO N.Y. (WIVB) – Hospital workers on strike say despite losing their healthcare coverage, strikers outside Mercy Hospital say they’re not budging. CWA’s strike has now entered its second month.

“We are doing good, we just keep bolstering each other up,” said Karen Mahoney, who’s a RN at Mercy Hospital. “We want this to be done. It’s a lot of moral support talking on the lines. I mean we’re doing good, I think we’re doing good.”

Catholic Health CEO Mark Sullivan announced last week that the hospital was considering removing striker’s healthcare.

The union and Catholic Health say they were close to reaching a deal this weekend. The hospital adding, “Several times it appeared the parties were close to reaching a tentative agreement, settling negotiations and ending the strike.” Those talks fell through Sunday morning and that’s when the hospital announced it would cut their healthcare.

“He [Mark Sullivan] can try all the tactics he wants. We care about this community, we care about these patients and we care about the staff in that hospital,” said Eileen McDonald, who’s on the CWA bargaining committee. “He thinks that we’re gonna crumble and we’re not gonna crumble.”

Both Catholic Health and CWA say the final item on the bargaining table is staffing ratios. CWA wants Catholic Health is agree to set staffing ratios in the hospital, but Catholic Health maintains that its “hospitals are standing firm on their fair, market-competitive offer that includes staffing language, which addresses associates’ priorities as identified by CWA.”

“It’s the patient that comes first, and they need us to take care of them,” McDonald said. “There needs to be enough of us. Not one nurse taking care of 18 patients, I mean that’s ridiculous.”

Sarah Minkewicz is a reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2019. See more of her work here.

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