Kaleida Health Union Workers Deliver 10-day Notice to Hospital for Informational Picket Calling Attention to Deteriorating Conditions for Staff, PatientsAugust 8, 2022
Buffalo, NY - On Friday, workers at the largest healthcare provider in Western New York represented by the Communications Workers of America (CWA) and 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East (1199SEIU) delivered a 10-Day notice to the Kaleida Health Administration that on Thursday, August 18, they will hold a public informational picket outside of Buffalo General Medical Center and Oishei Children’s Hospital in downtown Buffalo.
Last week, following the expiration of members' contracts on July 31, the unions ramped up bargaining with the Kaleida Health Administration, pushing to come to an agreement that will give workers the support they desperately need as soon as possible. The committee is now meeting five days a week in hopes of reaching a fair contract.
Now, Kaleida Health workers with the unions are planning an informational picket on August 18 to call attention to the unacceptable working conditions for Kaleida’s staff and patients, and the dire need for a contract that will enable Kaleida to recruit and retain staff. With more than 800 vacancies and a plan to hire an additional 436 full-time equivalent positions, staffing is critical in many areas of Kaleida’s hospitals and nursing homes. “We are doing everything we can to reach a fair settlement, but workers are upset with Kaleida’s economic proposals and they have a right to make their concerns public,” said Debbie Hayes, CWA Area Director.
“Over the last three years, healthcare workers have been fighting a global pandemic tirelessly all while being short-staffed,” said Jim Scordato, 1199SEIU Vice-President for WNY Hospitals. “After five months of bargaining, we need to educate the public on how difficult it has been for these union workers to secure a new contract. Our members have been working short-staffed far too long and in unacceptable working conditions. The state’s newly created staffing law forces Kaleida to add more than 400 full-time equivalent positions on top of the more than 800 vacancies they currently have, but all without any financial support from the state to help fill those positions. The state needs to come to the table for all of our WNY Hospitals, not just Kaleida, and put money behind those jobs, so hospital workers can get some relief from day after day of working critically short staffed,” said Scordato.
“This informational picket is an opportunity for workers who are exhausted from severe understaffing at the hospitals and nursing homes and concerned about their ability to provide quality care under the current conditions to speak out about what they are enduring,” said Cori Gambini, CWA President Local 1168. “These long-standing issues are only growing worse, and during the picket, we will also call on the state to provide Kaleida with the financial support necessary to begin to solve their staffing crisis and to help keep skilled workers in Western New York. Kaleida workers across worksites are united in their demands, and we will not settle for anything less than safe staffing for our patients, fair and competitive wage increases, and dignity and respect on the job,” said Gambini.
Union Healthcare Workers at Kaleida Health are located at three major hospitals, two nursing homes, and clinics across Western New York including: Buffalo General Medical Center, Oishei Children’s Hospital, Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital, HighPointe on Michigan, DeGraff Medical Park, and various community-based clinics.
Union members work as Registered Nurses, Nurse Practitioners, Dietary Workers,
Personal Care Attendants, Professionals, Technicians, Service & Maintenance
Workers, Clerical Workers, and more.
The Communications Workers of America represents 300,000 working people nationally in telecommunications, customer service, media, airlines, health care, public service and education, and manufacturing.
1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East is the largest and fastest-growing healthcare union in America. We represent over 400,000 nurses and caregivers throughout Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Washington, D.C. and Florida. Our mission is to achieve quality care and good jobs for all.