Collective Bargaining Agreement Make Kaleida First To Commit To A Living Wage

July 30, 2019

by Jacob Wolinksy,

Collective Bargaining Agreement Is Reached Union Healthcare Workers Win $15 Minimum for All Employees and Increased Staffing at Kaleida Health in Buffalo, NY

This week, 7,200 Union healthcare workers represented by CWA 1168, IUOE Local 17 and 1199SEIU, United Healthcare Workers East, voted to accept a new collective bargaining agreement with Kaleida Health. The 3-year agreement includes important adjustments to staffing levels, wage increases, and addresses safety concerns brought by employees. The new agreement also includes a $15 per hour minimum wage for all job titles beginning in May 2020, making Kaleida the first large health system in Upstate New York to commit to a living wage.

Service workers currently earning $12 per hour, say this contract will dramatically change their lives. “Because of our union contract I will now have the flexibility I need to go to school to study nursing and improve the future for my family,” said Danielle Stefanski, EVS worker at Oishei Children’s Hospital.

All other Kaleida employees will receive a one-time 4% ratification bonus based on hourly rate and a total wage increase of 6% over the life of the contract.

Staffing, a priority for union members, was also addressed during negotiations. Under the new contract Kaleida has agreed to hire 90 full-time equivalent positions across the system, in both nursing and non-nursing positions. As par of the collective bargaining agreement, Kaleida also plans to create a staffing panel to address staffing disputes.

“This staffing plan will move us much closer to achieving the staffing levels needed to continue to provide quality care to our patients,” said Cori Gambini, CWA Local 1168, President.

“As a proud member of CWA and a RN at Buffalo General Hospital for over 30 years, I am very happy and grateful for the new contract. It is comprehensive and includes the things most important to my colleagues and I, such as pay raises, good health insurance with low premiums, pension improvements and improvements to staffing,” said Linda Sheehan, RN at Buffalo General Hospital.

“Walking into negotiations our union members at Kaleida already enjoyed the best union health care contract in WNY,” said James Scordato, 1199SEIU Vice President. “Their dedication and hard work over the past 5 months made it possible to win improvements that will change lives for the better.”

The new collective bargaining agreement became retroactively effective on May 31, 2019 and will end on May 31, 2022. The agreement covers Nurse Practitioners, RNs, LPNs, Techs, Professionals, Service Workers, and Engineers working at Kaleida Health’s Oishei Children’s Hospital of Buffalo, DeGraff Memorial Hospital, Millard Fillmore Suburban, Buffalo General Medical Center, HighPointe on Michigan, and Kaleida Business Office.