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AG claims staffing firm in Mercy Hospital strike lacks license

AG claims staffing firm in Mercy Hospital strike lacks license

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Catholic Hospitals strike

The picket line near the main entrance of Mercy Hospital on Abbott Road in South Buffalo on Monday, Oct. 4, 2021.

Replacement health care workers remained on the job at Mercy Hospital on Wednesday, after the state Attorney General's Office called for Huffmaster, a staffing company, to stop providing its services to the hospital.

A letter to Huffmaster president Gregory Johnson that was signed by labor bureau chief Karen Cacace claimed Huffmaster is providing services at Mercy as an employment agency and a "watch, guard or patrol" agency without a New York State license. In addition to health care workers, Huffmaster is supplying security workers at the hospital amid a strike.

"Please immediately cease providing services to Mercy Hospital as either an employment agency or watch, guard, or patrol agency, and ensure that Huffmaster employees are not interfering with the picketers’ right to protest," Cacace wrote.

Catholic Health, which is paying Huffmaster millions of dollars each week for its services, said the replacement health care workers meet state requirements.

"Registered nurses and other temporary replacement workers requiring clinical licensure who are caring for and serving patients at Mercy Hospital during CWA’s strike are properly credentialed to work in New York State," said JoAnn Cavanaugh, a spokeswoman.

Huffmaster did not respond to requests to comment. Cavanaugh said Huffmaster was "in contact with the Attorney General’s Office to address their questions."

Matt Glynn

The Buffalo News: Good Morning, Buffalo

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