BUFFALO, N.Y. — A rather blunt assessment from the CWA Union leaders in their response to Catholic Health CEO Mark Sullivan's comments that the hospital system "gave all that it could" to avert a strike with significant wage increases and a $20 million plan to boost staffing with an additional 150 to 200 or more personnel to be hired to address staffing problems.
The union as expected firing back at the claims of Catholic Health's leader and saying they have been trying to resolve this for months instead of the final hours. They stress they are prepared to talk again when necessary again and raised those now familiar point of wages, where they were said to be close. But also they wants guarantees on adequate supplies and condition upgrades like cleanliness in the hospital.
And then gain their primary point of staffing and scheduling of nurses and other staff who they say are over overburdened with patients and burned out from the pandemic and regular care.
CWA Upstate Director Deborah Hayes said, "We're hearing that Mark Sullivan said that they gave us everything that they could in their negotiations. I'm here to tell you that that's bull. We have been trying to work this out for months. We put our staffing and scheduling proposals on the table back in February 2020 and all the sudden they came in with a last-minute proposal we have been trying to work with them on staffing. We don't want targets on staffing we want patient to staff ratios to care for them."
"Make no mistake. If the federal mediator says that we're needed back to talk, we will be there," Hayes said.
Finally, 2 On Your Side asked how long the strike would last from the perspective of the union. Obviously the answer - as long as it takes. But realistically it's going to be tough on the union, Catholic Health and the community the longer it goes.
We will point out that other hospital strikes like one up in Massachusetts has lasted as long as seven months so far while others in Chicago and LA have only lasted a day or two.