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Kaleida reaches tentative labor deal with three unions

Kaleida Health has reached a tentative agreement on a three-year contract with three unions representing 7,500 of its employees.

The tentative agreement comes after three months of negotiations that began in March and includes wage increases and changes to work rules that the hospital operator said will allow it to better serve patients.

The agreement also calls for hiring additional frontline staff who work directly with patients.

The two sides did not release details of the tentative agreement, which must be approved by members of the Communications Workers of America Local 1168, 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East and the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 17.

Kaleida Health, the region’s biggest health system, operates Buffalo General Medical Center, Women & Children’s Hospital, Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital and DeGraff Memorial Hospital, as well as Gates Vascular Institute, HighPointe on Michigan nursing home and the Visiting Nursing Association home care agency.

In all, Kaleida is the region’s largest private employer, with about 10,000 full- and part-time employees.

Voting on the tentative agreement is expected to take place during the next few weeks.

“This further illustrates what management and labor can achieve when they work together toward a common goal,” said Marty Burchalewski, business agent for the operating engineers union, in a statement.