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CWA contract ratification meetings scheduled this weekend

The CWA says the earliest we'll know whether the contract has been approved is Monday night.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — After a very tense and bitter, 35-day strike, CWA workers and Catholic Health say they have a tentative deal in place to bring workers back, possibly by Wednesday. 

But, that's if CWA workers agree to approve the deal. 

Here are full details of the tentative agreement, according to the CWA. 

From statements from both the CWA and Catholic Health, it appears the CWA got what it wanted on increased staffing. Catholic Health says the tentative deal would add 250 new positions — plus, pay increases and bonus pay for CWA workers and a tentative deal on health care plans.

The CWA says the increased staffing ratios, under the agreement would need to be in place by Jan. 1st, 2023. 

"There's relief across the community, it's been a challenge for everybody for our community for our patients," said Michael Hughes, spokesperson for Kaleida Health.

For weeks, Kaleida Health says its seen direct impacts from the strike. 

Higher patient volume in emergency rooms — 50 more inpatient admissions per day at Buffalo General — plus, an additional 4-6 infant deliveries per day at Oishei Children's Hospital and more ambulance backups.  

"Our staff have gone above and beyond the call of duty knowing that we're in the midst of COVID, staffing challenges and a work stoppage across town, the staff has stepped up they've taken on extra shifts they've worked longer, they've worked harder," Hughes said. 

Kaleida says it's working with a new staffing agency to ease the strain on front line workers over the course of the next week. 

Back over at Catholic Health, the healthcare system says Mercy Hospital has a plan to resume services that were suspended during the strike. 

The CWA says member meetings will happen Saturday and voting on the new contact will happen over the weekend and on Monday. 

The CWA says the earliest we'll know whether the contract has been approved is Monday night.

The union says it won't make any more public statements until after the contract is ratified and there were no new statements from Catholic Health Friday.

"This is an outstanding victory for nurses and patients. We are in solidarity with our CWA sisters and brothers at Mercy and herald their win -- one that ensures safe staffing ratios in the contract that protect patients and improve the quality of care," said Nancy Hagans, president of the state Nurses Association. 

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