August 26, 2016
By WNYLaborToday.com Editor-Publisher Tom Campbell
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Cheektowaga, NY – Talk of a possible Strike intensified Tuesday (August 24th) during a picket held outside St. Joseph’s Hospital in Suburban Buffalo by Communications Workers of America (CWA)-represented Employees of the Catholic Health System, who ratcheted up their community call for putting patient safety first before profit.
An estimated and overall group of as many as 300 (Pictured Below/WNYLaborToday.com Photos) – including Nurses and Health Care Givers who were joined on the line by representatives from at least 10 area Unions and Labor Organizations (The Amalgamated Transit Union, the Civil Service Employees Association, New York State United Teachers, the Office and Professional Employees International Union, the International Union of Operating Engineers, the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades/District Council 4, Service Employees International Union and the Teamsters, as well as the Western New York AFL-CIO Area Labor Federation and the Buffalo AFL-CIO Central Labor Council), picketed for two hours before listening to several area elected officials who also came out to lend their support.
Contracts between CWA Locals 1133 and 1168 and Catholic Health at three of its Buffalo area hospitals have expired: St. Joseph’s in Suburban Cheektowaga on August 31st, 2015; and Kenmore Mercy and South Buffalo Mercy on November 30th, 2015. In addition, Technicians represented by CWA at Kenmore Mercy also expired on November 30th, 2015. The CWA represents 2,500 Catholic Health Employees who are currently working under expired contracts. Overall, the CWA represents around 3,000 Catholic Health Workers
In mid July, CWA-represented Health Care Workers employed at Catholic Health’s South Buffalo Mercy Hospital took a Strike Vote, which passed by an overwhelming 96%. Then in early August, 1,000 picketed outside the hospital, sending a message to Catholic Health management that Union Members were just practicing (For More on This Labor News Story, Read Your On-Line Labor Newspaper’s August 3rd Report, Headlined: Signs Reading “Just Practicing” Stand Out During Major Rally Held Outside South Buffalo’s Mercy Hospital That Draws 1,000 Following Union-Represented Health Care Workers Approval To Strike Employer).