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Union-Represented Kaleida Health Employees Deliver 10-Day Informational Picket Notice ‘In Order To Call Public Attention To The Deteriorating Conditions’ For Staff, Patients Within Its Buffalo Area Facilities

Published Monday, August 8, 2022
by CWA & 1199 SEIU News
Union-Represented Kaleida Health Employees Deliver 10-Day Informational Picket Notice ‘In Order To Call Public Attention To The Deteriorating Conditions’ For Staff, Patients Within Its Buffalo Area Facilities

(BUFFALO, NEW YORK) – A variety of Workers employed at the largest Health Care Provider in Western New York - who are represented by the Communications Workers of America (CWA) and 1199 Service Employees International Union (SEIU) United Healthcare Workers East, have delivered a 10-day notice to Kaleida Health that on August 18th an informational picket will be held outside the Buffalo General Medical Center and Oishei Children’s Hospital in Downtown Buffalo. 

Last week, following the expiration of those Union Members' contracts on July 31st, the CWA and 1199 SEIU ramped up bargaining with Kaleida Health Administration, pushing to come to an agreement that will give Workers the support they desperately need as soon as possible.

The committee is now meeting five days a week in hopes of reaching a fair contract.

The Kaleida Workers are employed in a number of jobs, including Registered Nurses, Nurse Practitioners, Dietary Workers, Personal Care Attendants, Professionals, Technicians, Service and Maintenance Workers, Clerical Workers, and more.

Now, Kaleida Health Workers and their respective Unions are planning an informational picket to call attention to the unacceptable working conditions for Kaleida’s Staff and the resulting negative impact it is having on their patients, and the dire need for a contract that will enable Kaleida to recruit and retain Staff. 

With more than 800 vacancies and a plan to hire an additional 436 full-time equivalent positions, staffing is critical in many areas of Kaleida’s hospitals and nursing homes, Union Leadership says: 

CWA Area Directly Debbie Hayes: “We are doing everything we can to reach a fair settlement, but Workers are upset with Kaleida’s economic proposals and they have a right to make their concerns public.”

Jim Scordato, who serves as 1199 SEIU Vice-President for WNY Hospitals: “Over the last three years, Health Care Workers have been fighting a global pandemic, tirelessly - all while being short-staffed.  After five months of bargaining, we need to educate the public on how difficult it has been for these Union Workers to secure a new contract.  Our Members have been working short-staffed far too long and in unacceptable working conditions.  The State’s newly-created Staffing Law forces Kaleida to add more than (400) full-time equivalent positions on top of the more than (800) vacancies they currently have, but all without any financial support from the State to help fill those positions.  The State needs to come to the table for all of our Western New York Hospitals, not just Kaleida, and put money behind those jobs, so Hospital Workers can get some relief from day after day of working critically short staffed.”

CWA President Local 1168 Cori Gambini: “This informational picket is an opportunity for Workers who are exhausted from severe understaffing at the hospitals and nursing homes and concerned about their ability to provide quality care under the current conditions to speak out about what they are enduring.  These long-standing issues are only growing worse, and during the picket, we will also call on the State to provide Kaleida with the financial support necessary to begin to solve their staffing crisis and to help keep Skilled Workers in Western New York. Kaleida Workers across worksites are united in their demands and we will not settle for anything less than safe staffing for our patients, fair and competitive wage increases, and dignity and respect on the job.”

Kaleida Health runs three major hospitals, two nursing homes and clinics across Western New York, including: The Buffalo General Medical Center; Oishei Children’s Hospital; Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital; HighPointe on Michigan; DeGraff Medical Park; and various community-based clinics.

 

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