BUFFALO, N.Y. — Starting Sunday, Kaleida healthcare workers represented by CWA and 1199SEIU will not be extending their union contracts.
Negotiations will restart on Monday. The unions representing the healthcare workers say strong progress has been made over the last four months of bargaining.
Kaleida says negotiating teams have made a lot of progress over the last few months, but the unions say competitive wages and staffing levels are key concerns.
“Not having an extension gives us maximum leverage we need to settle this contract,” Jim Scordato, Vice-President, 1199SEIU WNY Hospital Division said in a press release. “We need to move quickly to support workers facing exhaustive conditions. For the last three years workers have been dealing with COVID-19 and during that time Kaleida Health has faced unprecedented losses and revenue. New York State needs to recognize the struggles of hospitals in the Western New York area and work with us to find a solution to the losses sustained that are crippling our hospital systems and impacting the quality of care we are able to provide.”
Kaleida Health released the following statement on Friday:
“The negotiating teams have made a lot of progress over the last several months. We will continue our work to achieve a new master agreement that enhances benefits for all employees and restores us as the market leader in wages to help retain and recruit employees.
“We have said all along that we need to and will address staffing and wages in this contract. But the cost of doing that will be at least twice of what we spent for the master bargaining agreement in 2019. Considering our current financial condition and the enormous economic challenges in front of us, that’s significant.
“The current contract extension expires Sunday, July 31, 2022. There will not be another extension. Even after expiration, Kaleida Health will continue negotiating in good faith and we believe that CWA and 1199SEIU share this commitment.”
Union Healthcare Workers at Kaleida Health are located at Buffalo General Medical Center, Oishei Children’s Hospital, Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital, HighPointe on Michigan, DeGraff Medical Park and various community-based clinics.
The staff represented by the union include as Registered Nurses, Nurse Practitioners, Dietary Workers, Personal Care Attendants, Professionals, Technicians, Service & Maintenance Workers, Clerical Workers and more.