BUFFALO, N.Y. — Catholic Health’s Mercy Hospital employees announced they will be going on strike amid staffing and supply shortages if they do not reach contract agreements by Sept. 30.

What You Need To Know

  • Mercy Hospital employees are planning a strike for Oct. 1 and lasting indefinitely

  • They are negotiating contracts for better working conditions

  • Hospital executives say they have 'pulled out all the stops' to ensure employees can provide optimum care

  • The hospital will contract licensed workers to replace those on strike in order to operate as normal

The CWA Local 1133 union gave Mercy Hospital of Buffalo 10 days advance notice that said they plan to hit the picket line Oct. 1 at 6:00 a.m.

Longtime nurses at the facility joined a virtual press conference Tuesday to express their concerns with conditions as a result of short staffing and a lack of medical supplies.

“At one time I was very proud to say where I worked. I was a proud nurse for South Buffalo Mercy. And I can no longer use those words,” said Tina Knop, a Mercy Hospital ICU nurse with 10 years of experience. “Patients have been left for unreasonable lengths of time in their own waste, in their own urine and feces, asking for help, but you don’t have somebody to help you clean them.”

Catholic Health Director of Public Relations JoAnn Cavanaugh issued a statement Tuesday afternoon, saying in part:

"We value our associates. Over the last 18 months, we believe no health system in New York State has done more to protect the health and safety of its workforce. We scoured the nation and beyond to make sure we had ample PPE for associates, paid hazard pay longer than any other local health system, and launched a robust resiliency program to support our team.”

She also said they have hired nearly 1,200 new associates, including 230 registered nurses, since the beginning of the year.

If contract agreements are not met by Sept. 30, staff will go on strike indefinitely. 

Catholic Health leaders said they will contract licensed and vaccinated staff to replace those on strike in order to keep the hospital running as usual.

Cavanaugh said Catholic Health executives are “cautiously optimistic” they can reach an agreement within the next nine days.