December 13, 2016
By WNYLaborToday.com Editor-Publisher Tom Campbell
Buffalo, NY – This question is asked many times: after giving something up in a previous contract, is it possible to win it back? Well, the answer is a resounding Yes – and while it took a massive effort, Communications Workers of America-represented Hospital Workers in Buffalo, New York proved it could be done.
Catholic Health is one of the two local hospital chains that dominate Western New York where CWA Locals 1133 and 1168 combine to represent 6,900 of its Employees in six bargaining units.
Four years ago, Catholic Health cried poverty at the bargaining table and threatened layoffs.
Our Unions reluctantly agreed to eliminate daily overtime (after eight or 12 hours, depending on the job – particular importance to Part-Timers), Cost of Living Increases, Bonus Pay for Nurses who came in on short notice, and Seniority-Based Wage Scales.
After all these losses, many Workers jumped ship for jobs being offered at Union-represented Kaleida Health, a competitor of Catholic Health in Western New York, which offered better conditions and paid $6 to $8 more per hour.
But instead of hiring to replace them, Catholic Health filled the gaps with temporary Non-Union Nurses – who were unfamiliar with local policies and require a lot of help.
“The staffing levels are ‘atrocious,’” said St. Joseph’s Hospital Nurse Heather Lawrence, a CWA Local 1168 Steward. “We’d ‘call for more staff and tell the administration we needed them, and they pretty much ignored us.’”
Catholic Health also cut back on Nursing Assistants, who work closely with Nurses to care for patients. To read more click on the following link