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.
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.”
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.