Following a vote held yesterday, registered nurses and service, technical and clerical associates at Mercy Hospital of Buffalo, have ratified new four-year contract agreements. The groups, represented by Communications Workers of America (CWA) Local 1133, voted to ratify the contracts, which provide competitive wages and benefits, along with improvements in staffing.

“The people who spend their days and nights taking care of Mercy Hospital patients have spoken,” said Deborah Arnet, President of CWA Local 1133. “It took time and effort to get here but the improvements in these contracts are an important first step in securing excellent care for the patients at Mercy Hospital. The Union is committed to working with the hospital to achieve this common goal.”

The individual contracts, which cover more than 2,200 employees at the Catholic Health hospital, are set to expire in June 2020. Key provisions of the contracts include:

  • Reinstatement of step wage increases designed to reward experienced staff with a new wage level for 20 years or more of experience;
  • General wage increases in each year of the contract;
  • Commitment by the Hospital to fill vacant positions, staff the units and departments appropriately and a commitment to hire more than 45 full time equivalent staff in each bargaining unit
  • Joint Labor Management Initiative to improve collaboration at the hospital;
  • Common expiration date for all six CWA/Catholic Health collective bargaining agreements.

“This positive vote, and the stability it provides will benefit our associates, physicians, patients and community,” said CJ Urlaub, President & CEO of Mercy Hospital of Buffalo. “As healthcare reform continues to unfold, delivering accessible, high quality healthcare is becoming increasingly more complex, and it will take all of us working together to navigate the challenges that lie ahead. These contracts will help us attract and retain top talent at Mercy Hospital to offer the highest quality care and service to patients and families throughout the region.”

In addition, Catholic Health and CWA Locals 1133 and 1168 reached tentative contract agreements for Registered Nurses at Sisters of Charity Hospital, St. Joseph Campus; and technical associates at Kenmore Mercy Hospital, earlier this month. Votes on these contracts are expected in the next two weeks.