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GROUNDBREAKING! Tentative Agreement reached with Catholic Health

Tentative Agreement reached with Catholic Health

After almost a year of hard bargaining and incredible unity between CWA members at three hospitals, we have reached a groundbreaking Tentative Agreement for CWA members at Catholic Health's Mercy Hospital, Kenmore Mercy Hospital, and St. Joe's Hospital.

This historic agreement was the result of the unprecedented five-week strike by 2,000 healthcare workers at Mercy Hospital, and the massive pressure we collectively put on CHS.

We walked picket lines in the heat, the cold, in rainstorms, and even while the Bills were playing. We talked to community members and elected officials, we told our stories again and again to the media, we stood toe-to-toe with scabs and refused to be intimidated, we navigated a difficult Unemployment Insurance system, we leafletted, we chanted until our throats were hoarse. This victory belongs to all of us.

 Together we won an incredible agreement that will improve our hospitals by leaps and bounds - something that was almost unfathomable a year ago--or even six weeks ago. Our staffing agreement is groundbreaking and will set the standard for healthcare workers throughout the country.

 Your unity and determination forced Catholic Health to completely change their contract offer to us.  It empowered us to make major improvements in our working conditions, our standard of living, and the quality of care for our patients, and to defeat all concessions.

 When we fight, we win. 


Highlights of Tentative Agreement

A full Final Bargaining Report with all specific details of the new contract will be distributed before the ratification meetings.

 1. Duration and Agreement -- Master Agreement Maintained!

  • ​​One common agreement for Mercy Hospital, Kenmore Mercy Hospital, and St. Joe’s Hospital.  The agreement will include Common Language (language that is the same for all sites) and Site Language (language specific to each site).
  • A four-year agreement with common expiration dates for all Hospitals.

 2. Wages and Other Compensation -- Substantial Across the Board Wage Increases for All Titles 

  • Four New Common Wage Scales: RN, Technical, Service, and Clerical.  Many job titles have received significant increases to be competitive with the Buffalo market.
  • Average RN Wage Increase 6.3% in first year of contract retroactive to June
  • Average STC Wage Increase 8.4% in first year of contract retroactive to June
  • No worker will start below $15 per hour!
  • General Wage Increases
                - 2% effective June 2022 

                - 2.5% effective June 2023
                - 2.75% effective June 2024
  • Average RN Compounded Wage increase over the life of the contract is 14.19%
  • Average STC Compounded Wage Increase over the life of the contract is 16.45%

3. Historic Breakthroughs in Safe Staffing!

  • The new staffing language includes ratios that will need to be fully in effect by January 1, 2023.   
  • Highlights of the staffing ratios include:
    •  Critical Care:  ratios of 1:2 or 1:1 (dependent on acuity) with a ratio of 1:5 for Ancillary Staff.

    • Step Down Units: ratio of 1:3 and ancillary staff of 1:6

    • Med/Surg ratios vary by the type of unit and acuity of their patients, but ratios include either 1:4 days and 1:5 nights.  At KMH the Med/Surg Ratios vary based on the acuity of the floors.

    • The ratios include a significant increase in Nurse’s Aides and ITAs as well as commitments on clerical staff, respiratory and EVS.

  • There is strong language requiring Catholic Health to hire staff to meet the ratios with specific timelines.
  • Bonus Pay for picking up additional shifts as well as an additional penalty added on to the bonus pay if the staffing ratios are not met.  This penalty will begin immediately upon return to work.


 4. Demands for Massive Health Care Concessions Defeated!

  • We beat back all healthcare concessions on increasing cost-sharing.  All cost-sharing for current employees remains the same.
  • High Deductible Plan is added as a voluntary option only.
  • Prescription Drug Co-Pays remain at $7/$15/$35 except for Specialty Drugs. Specialty Drugs will remain at $15/$35 for the Catholic Health Pharmacy and Non-Catholic Health Pharmacies will be $50/$100.


 5. No Changes in our Pension Plans!

  • No Pension concessions and a commitment to continue funding of the pension plan.