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Catholic Health renews deal for Mercy replacement workers as 50 striking nurses quit

Catholic Health renews deal for Mercy replacement workers as 50 striking nurses quit

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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez meets with striking employees outside Mercy Hospital on Saturday, Oct. 23, 2021.

As the strike at Mercy Hospital in South Buffalo concluded its 23rd day Saturday, Catholic Health announced it has again renewed its agreement with its replacement worker agency and said nearly 50 striking nurses have resigned since the strike started.

"We want our associates back at Mercy Hospital,” spokeswoman JoAnn Cavanaugh said. “The longer the strike goes on, however, we will need to consider all of our options.”

Meanwhile, strikers from Communications Workers of America, Local 1133, rallied with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York City outside the hospital Saturday.

About 2,000 workers, including nurses, walked out Oct. 1, demanding better pay and benefits, as well as a commitment to hire more staff for the Catholic Health hospitals.

Cavanaugh said Saturday that since then, nearly 50 nurses have resigned, including more than a dozen who worked in Mercy's intensive care unit.

Catholic Health pays Huffmaster, a Michigan temporary staffing firm, to provide replacement workers – an expense the hospital group has said costs "millions of dollars."

The Buffalo News: Good Morning, Buffalo

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