UPDATE: Nov. 9, 2021: Union members voted Monday to ratify the contracts with a vote of 94% in favor, ending a strike that had nearly reached the 40-day mark, union officials said.
In a statement, the union highlighted safe staffing ratios the hospital agreed to, and said more information would be released Tuesday.
Striking employees will begin returning to work on Wednesday, according to the statement.
- Over 2,000 healthcare workers at Catholic Health's Mercy Hospital in Buffalo, New York, reached a tentative agreement with management on a new four-year contract on Thursday, according to the union representing the workers.
- The workers still need to ratify the contract, and those meetings are scheduled to take place Saturday and Sunday, with striking employees potentially returning to their jobs by Wednesday. The union said it is not releasing details of the contract until bargaining reports can be prepared and shared with members.
- The deal was reached on six contracts covering about 2,500 employees at Catholic Health, according to a release from the hospital. The union was originally pushing for one master contract.
Over 2,000 nurses, technologists, clerical staff, aides and other service workers represented by the Communication Workers of America walked off the job Oct. 1 after their contract expired and they couldn't reach a deal on a new one.
On Monday when the strike hit the one-month mark, Catholic Health announced it was cutting off striking workers' health coverage until a tentative agreement was ratified.
At the time, the two sides appeared close to settling negotiations and ending the strike during weekend bargaining sessions, though talks broke down again, with staffing for a few specific units still a major point of contention.
But the two sides finally reached a deal Thursday that would bring those on the picket line back to work.
The contract includes, "historic breakthroughs in guaranteed safe staffing ratios, substantial across the board wage increases, including bringing all workers above $15 an hour, and preserving health and retirement plans intact," CWA district 1 Vice President Dennis Trainor said in a statement.
"Hundreds of new workers will be hired under this agreement to remedy dire staffing shortages," Trainor said.
"We listened to our associates and their primary concerns were market-competitive wages and increased staffing," Catholic Health CEO Mark Sullivan said in a statement.
"These new contracts address both and more. We are ready to welcome our caregivers back to Mercy Hospital," Sullivan said.