Solidarity Fund for CWA Local 1133 Strikers at Mercy Hospital in Buffalo 10/04/2021
Updated On: Oct 18, 2021
To: All CWA District One Locals
From: Dennis G. Trainor, Vice President
Date: October 4, 2021
Subject: Solidarity Fund for CWA Local 1133 Strikers
at Mercy Hospital in Buffalo
As you probably know, last Friday, October 1st, at 6:00 a.m., about 2000 members of CWA Local 1133 in Buffalo went on strike against Mercy Hospital. Frustrated by years of mismanagement which left the hospital dangerously understaffed and short of needed supplies, they saw no alternative to walking out. Their goal is to force Catholic Health System management to agree to ironclad, enforceable commitments to build up staffing so that workers are able to provide the care the Western New York community needs and deserves.
Many other unresolved issues remained on the table when we walked out last Friday morning, including proposed health care concessions and incomplete wage discussions.
Naturally, the Mercy hospital strikers will be entitled to weekly benefits from the CWA Members Relief Fund beginning 15 days after the strike began, and they will be our first members ever to be covered by the improved NYS Unemployment Insurance rules for strikers, which reduced the waiting period from 7 to 2 weeks for those on strike.
Nevertheless, we expect that some Local 1133 members will need additional financial support beyond these benefits. Unbelievably, over 200 Mercy Hospital strikers are currently making $15 an hour or less (even though the statewide minimum wage for Fast Food workers is already at $15!) One of the major goals of this bargaining is to eliminate this injustice, but these underpaid workers and others will immediately be put in a hardship situation by the strike.
Local 1133 has set up a Hardship/Solidarity fund to assist any members who can’t meet their financial obligations. We ask that all CWA Locals make a generous donation to this fund to help these workers make it through this strike, the first we have experienced in health care in over 30 years.