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Catholic Health Cuts off Health Insurance for Strikers

After a month on strike the Hospital chain is trying to starve out the workers

Brian Young's picture
Nov 03, 2021

For over a month now, healthcare workers at Catholic Health Hospitals in Buffalo have been on strike. The 2,500 workers at three hospitals in the Buffalo area struck over concerns about patient care and staffing issues.

Instead of negotiating with the healthcare workers to get them back on the job, Catholic Health has played hardball. They brought in scab workers and anti-union security, forcing the New York State Attorney General to step in to notify the company that they were in violation of New York law. Over the first month of the strike, the hospital system has reportedly spent tens of millions on these scabs. At the same time, patients in the hospital have plummeted. According to the Buffalo News, Mercy hospital usually serves about 300 patients but currently only has 100.

According to the Communications Workers of America (CWA), the hospital chain has also announced that as of November 1 they would be cutting off health insurance for the striking workers. That’s right a hospital is cutting off health insurance for their supposed health care heroes while a pandemic still rages.

While the CWA says that they are continuing to negotiate, they are also prepared to dig in saying that they will not accept a contract that goes “backward on staffing.”

“Catholic Health’s proposal would create ratios in some units that are worse than the current management-created staffing grids,” the union said in a statement. “Our members and patients need 1:4 staffing ratios on our medical-surgical units that will allow frontline workers to provide patients with the care they need.”

The union also warned that they have a $400 million strike fund to cover strike paychecks and necessary health care costs. Thanks to pro-union elected officials in New York, the CWA members are also able to receive unemployment benefits from the state while they are on strike.

“CWA has pledged that no striking member or family member will go without medically necessary health care during the strike. CWA will pay for all necessary medical/hospital expenses.”

The union has also launched a TV commercial to let the public know why they are on strike. You can watch the ad below.

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