Catholic Health and the Communications Workers of America (CWA) have agreed to one-year contract extensions for registered nurses and CWA-represented associates at Kenmore Mercy Hospital, Mercy Hospital of Buffalo and St. Joseph Campus. The members agreed to the contract extensions during a vote held last Thursday. The health system and the union began bargaining earlier this year on the six individual contracts, which were set to expire on June 30. Bargaining was put on hold in March to address the escalating COVID-19 pandemic.
“Catholic Health and CWA Leadership felt that extending these contracts was the most prudent approach given the uncertainty of the coming months; and most importantly, to learn more about the long-term effects of the pandemic on health care in our community,” said Mark A. Sullivan, president and CEO of Catholic Health. “We want to thank CWA for their support and partnership throughout this crisis. We have worked hard together over the past four years to improve our relationship, address challenges and make progress through our labor-management committees, and we expect that progress to continue.”
The extensions, which are in effect through June 30, 2021, give both organizations additional time to evaluate the financial implications of the ongoing pandemic, see what lingering effects it might have on health care across the region, and look for ways to regroup and rebound from this crisis. Negotiations are expected to resume early next year on new multiyear contracts for the six bargaining units.
“We take great pride in the quality care we provide our patients, residents and community, and know none of it would be possible without our dedicated associates who deliver exceptional care and service,” Sullivan continued. “Over the past five months, in a time of crisis, our community witnessed this care first hand. We thank all our associates for all their hard work, and for their patience and understanding as we rebuild from the effects of the COVID pandemic and adjust to a rapidly changing and unknown landscape.”