From the time the strike started Oct. 1 to when it was suspended last week, Catholic Health and the union both landed punches, often thrown in very public fashion. That talk has stopped, but trust is difficult to regain.
Most services at Mercy Hospital that had been scaled back during the strike will resume Wednesday, though Catholic Health is temporarily suspending some services at the Mercy Ambulatory Care Center in Orchard Park.
About 2,500 union workers at Catholic Health System have ratified new four-year contracts, officially ending one of the most significant labor disputes in recent Western New York history.
The agreement union members will vote on this weekend is one that many health care officials in Western New York see as a significant deal that will shape future labor talks at other hospitals.
Amid the strike, Mercy Hospital suspended inpatient elective surgeries, a huge moneymaker for hospitals, and temporarily diverted incoming ambulances to alternate facilities, putting more strain on the region's other health care institutions.
Catholic Health System and the union representing about 2,500 of its workers have come to a tentative agreement on new labor contracts, ending a more than one-month strike that idled many services at Mercy Hospital in South Buffalo.
The strike also is costing Mercy revenue that it is missing out on because of the limited services it now offers.
The union is looking for a nurse-to-patient ratio of one nurse for every four patients in the medical-surgical areas.
One month after the strike began, the Buffalo Niagara region's other hospitals are grappling with more patients, patients are facing longer wait times for emergency services as volumes increase and others are seeing their elective surgeries postponed due to a lack of available beds.
The Communications Workers of America Local 1133 told its members Sunday morning the two sides "were very close to reaching an agreement" after an all-night bargaining session that concluded at 6 a.m.
If Mercy Hospital workers' health insurance coverage is cut off, CWA's relief fund will cover those with chronic conditions or facing health emergencies.
On the 20th day of the Mercy Hospital strike, Gov. Kathy Hochul visited the picket line.
Kaleida's staffing crunch has been aggravated by the pandemic, the state's vaccine mandate and a patient volume increase stemming from an ongoing strike at Mercy Hospital.
The ongoing worker shortage could provide leverage for CWA as they continue to negotiate with Catholic Health System, hospital employees and labor experts say.
Mercy Hospital of Buffalo was caring for less than half as many patients on Wednesday than it was one week earlier, before about 2,000 nurses,…
For Catholic Health, keeping Mercy Hospital open means paying vastly higher wages to replacement workers. For striking workers, each day means more lost wages.
CWA Area Director Debora Hayes provided an update Tuesday evening on negotiations with Catholic Health System, which resumed early Tuesday morning.
Competition for low-wage workers has intensified as employers struggle to find entry-level and part-time employees, giving those workers more employment options to consider.
The news that the two sides will meet is in stark contrast to back-and-forth public statements that came over the weekend and early Monday.
"We need to do a better job working together with the CWA, and they need to do a better job working together with us to bring this to resolution," said Mark Sullivan, Catholic Health's CEO.
"It's kind of a sad morning, because we hoped negotiations would result in an agreement, but it did not," said Debora Hayes, the CWA's area director.