Included in this update:
- Bargaining update + action for today
- Health insurance coverage during the strike
- Events this week
- Unemployment Insurance
- Frequently Asked Questions
Our Bargaining Team is at the table today and continues to work hard to reach an agreement. There hasn’t been a significant change from yesterday. Here’s our latest update:
We spent most of Tuesday discussing the staffing proposal and going back and forth on the language and ratios in the proposal. We continue to narrow down the outstanding issues and continue to fight for strong language on the ratios and the penalties for not meeting the ratios.
We also had continued discussions on healthcare co-pays and wages.
Help Put the Pressure on CHS Boardmember Michael Keating to Settle Our Contract
Catholic Health is not coming to the table ready to get it done, so we’ve turned up the heat this week! We released TV, radio, and social media ads yesterday and already the pressure seems to be working - but we need to keep the pressure on to get over the finish line.
Michael Keating is a Catholic Health Boardmember - call him right now at 866-692-1725 to tell him: we deserve a fair contract that puts patient care first!
Other CWA members and our allies have already been making calls throughout the day today - we want to flood his inbox to make sure he knows that enough is enough, and CHS must settle a contract now.
Health Insurance Coverage During the Strike
As of right now, we don’t know whether or not Catholic Health will cut off our health insurance coverage.
If our health insurance is cut off, don’t worry! Part of what the CWA Member Relief Fund is for is to cover our healthcare during the strike if the employer cuts us off.
If insurance does stop, we ask you to do the following:
Ask doctors offices to bill you.
If you have an ongoing medical condition, like kidney problems or cancer, come to the hall to discuss, confidentially, whether the Members Relief Fund will cover COBRA for you to maintain necessary treatment. In general, members who do have ongoing conditions will be able to get COBRA to keep necessary continuing treatment.
For other non-routine issues that come up, keep your bills and submit them to the union. The union will determine at this point if you would qualify for COBRA or if unavoidable bills will be paid on an individual basis. Any kind of routine treatment that can be postponed until after the strike should be postponed. If insurance was stopped by CHS, union members would not accrue debts for anything medically necessary.
Coming Up This Week
Thursday: “Tailgating” on the picket lines! Since Catholic Health seems to think that our morning shift picketers cooking pancakes on the line is considered “tailgating,” we decided to show them what tailgating really is. Our CWA sisters and brothers from Local 1168 took up a collection to sponsor a Picket Line Tailgating at the MACC and Mercy. Times are still being confirmed, but will likely be around 5pm at the MACC and 7:30 or 8pm at Mercy.
Saturday: Halloween Party - Join us from 2pm until 4pm for some Halloween fun with our families, including games, candy, hot chocolate, face-painting, costumes, and more!
Please see our updated list of Frequently Asked Questions regarding Unemployment Insurance.
Some new resources:
The DOL shared this handbook with us: https://dol.ny.gov/unemployment-insurance-claimant-handbook
Another good resource is the DOL's FAQ: https://dol.ny.gov/unemployment-insurance-top-frequently-asked-questions
If you have additional questions not answered on the page above, or if you’re having trouble with Unemployment, please call the union hall (828-1133) or come to the union hall (821 Elk St) Monday-Friday, 8am-4pm to speak with someone on the Unemployment Team.
If you have any concerns about your financial situation - getting bills paid on time, getting groceries, etc - please come to the union hall to speak with someone on the Community Service Committee. We have several forms of assistance available, and we want to make sure that no one faces any serious financial issues.
Frequently Asked Questions
1133 member Jill put together a list of answers to Frequently Asked Questions, including questions related to bargaining, PTO, health insurance, and strike funds. You can find it on the SafeStaffingBuffalo.org website here.