CWA union members continue receiving support from state and local leaders as strike approaches week 3

BUFFALO (WIVB) – CWA members outside Mercy Hospital continue to receive support from state and local leaders, as week three of their strike approaches.

“I think when we started this journey we thought it was going to be 2,000 of us, which is a large number, kind of on our own and it was mind blowing that it didn’t turn out that way,” said Jamie Banks who’s a CAT Scan Technician at Mercy Hospital. “The communities support, the lawmakers support, other unions too nationally, donations, people calling wanting to know what’s going on and what they can do to help. It’s been absolutely mind blowing.”

There’s still no deal on the bargaining table and union members have picked up the slogan, “One day longer, one day stronger” to help keep momentum going.

Several faith leaders addressed CWA at the picket lines outside Mercy Hospital to offer them encouragement.

The President of one of New York’s Largest union also stopped by, their message is to encourage CWA members to stand their ground and fight for what they believe is a fair contract.

“When you’re out on strike, you don’t know what to expect, you’re doing it simply because you believe in the cause, better wages, better benefits, better conditions of employment, to see others in it with you makes it a little bit easier to get through the day and the weeks,” said Mario Cilento, who’s the president of New York State AFL-CIO.

“You know is it something hard, is it something we still want to be outside this building? Absolutely not, we want to go back in that building more than anything,” Banks said. “I think it has made us stronger as a union, it’s made us stronger as a work family and we’ll be better off for our patients due to that.”

News 4 reached out to Catholic Health. A spokesperson says there is no update at this time.

Leaders of nearby hospitals say the strike is increasing the staffing issues at their facilities, including within Kaleida Health’s network.

Kaleida Health CEO Bob Nesselbush released a statement earlier this month saying that Kaleida Health is “dealing with the direct impact of CWA’s labor strike at Mercy Hospital” and that it’s “putting Kaleida Health and our workforce to the test.”

Buffalo General Medical Center is seeing record high volumes in the ER, inpatient admissions as well as daily discharges. Oishei Children’s Hospital is seeing high ER volumes, not to mention an additional 4-6 deliveries a day. Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital is juggling high volumes, more COVID-19 cases, and more ER traffic while trying to help decompress our downtown campuses. DeGraff Medical Park has had ER volumes not seen in four years

Kaleida Health CEO Bod NesselBush

Sarah Minkewicz is a reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2019. See more of her work here.

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