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Mercy Hospital strike approaches month 2, with no end in sight

As November nears, both parties are taking things to the next level with more direct communication.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — The Mercy Hospital strike between CWA members and Catholic Health is inching towards month two. 

To date, neither party can agree on common ground when it comes to issues related to staffing, supplies, and wages. As a result, negotiations at the bargaining table continue as communication tactics hit a new level.

On Tuesday, CWA aired a brand new television ad focusing specifically on staffing and supplies at the hospital, alleging shortages of both have negatively affected patient care. 

CWA argues the package Catholic Health currently has on the table isn't good enough when it comes to rectifying those issues.

During a media update on Tuesday, Mark Sullivan, CEO of Catholic Health, responded to the television AD.

"I am concerned not only about today, not only about tomorrow, but the long-term ramifications this strike will have on our system," Sullivan said. 

He also touched on the impact the strike is having on surrounding hospitals, Mercy Hospital itself, recruitment challenges, and even the possibilities of getting CWA strikers who want to return to work back on the payroll.

"We're receiving emails, text messages, and other ways they're telling us that they want this to be over and they want to be back to work, but out of fear for the backlash they won't speak publicly," Sullivan said.

Despite a loss in workers due to the strike, Catholic Health has committed to covering health benefits for striking associates on the picket line - which wasn't a legal requirement. That said, as the strike nears November Sullivan said it's possible the health system may be forced to reconsider things.

"To date, we've spent more than $1.3 million providing health benefits to Mercy associates during the strike to ensure they had health insurance for themselves and their families. Our leadership team must consider whether to continue this coverage into November," Sullivan said during Tuesday's press conference.

2 On Your Side reached out to CWA to find out more about the "backlash" Sullivan referred to. We received no comment on that question, but CWA District 1 Vice President Dennis Trainor had this to say in response to Sullivan's statement:

Credit: WGRZ

While neither party updated the community on where things stand at the bargaining table as the strike approaches day 27, both parties say they want things to end - sooner than later. 


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