© 2023 Western New York Public Broadcasting Association

140 Lower Terrace
Buffalo, NY 14202

Mailing Address:
Horizons Plaza P.O. Box 1263
Buffalo, NY 14240-1263

Buffalo Toronto Public Media | Phone 716-845-7000
WBFO Newsroom | Phone: 716-845-7040
Your NPR Station
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Catholic Health, CWA return to the bargaining table, union says

CWA workers maintain a picket line at the entrance to Mercy Hospital in the rain Sunday.
Mike Desmond
CWA workers maintain a picket line at the entrance to Mercy Hospital in the rain Sunday.

The Communication Workers of America said the union and Catholic Health will come back to the bargaining table Tuesday, as a strike at Mercy Hospital in South Buffalo enters its fifth day.

"We want our conversations to be as productive as possible and are prepared to discuss all proposals in detail," said CWA Area Director Debora Hayes in a statement.

On Monday, Catholic Health said it would agree only to virtual negotiations because union picketers were using "verbal threats, intimidating actions and other inappropriate actions" against replacement workers.

CWA, meanwhile, said it would agree only to in-person negotiations, and maintains there were no illegal actions, only "yelling and chanting" on the picket line.

"I want to be clear that our union has zero tolerance for harassment and discrimination and will be the first to call out inappropriate behavior and ensure bad actors are held accountable,” said CWA Local 1168 President Cori Gambini.

Mediators from the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service are helping resolve the dispute. The biggest issue is staffing.

Catholic Health acknowledges a national and local staffing crisis, but CWA said the health system let it get so bad, workers feel "conditions have become dangerous and unsafe for patients."

About 1,900 registered nurses and service, technical and clerical associates walked off the job Friday.