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News & Media

Kaleida Health Statement Regarding Strike Authorization Vote

Released: 9/13/2022 8:10:56 AM

Kaleida Health today released the following statement regarding the CWA1168 and 1199SEIU strike authorization vote:

“The strike authorization vote is often part of the bargaining process; in fact it happened here at Kaleida Health in 2011. While the unions have said that a strike authorization vote will help ‘maximize pressure on Kaleida Health,’ we are fully aware of the importance of these negotiations to bargaining unit employees and the organization alike.

To date, we have reached tentative agreements on more than 155 contract articles, MOUs and letters of intent. Our current economic package places us as the market leader in wages among Buffalo-area hospitals and enhances employee benefits, which already exceed what our competitors provide.

As far as economics, we have exchanged proposals but are still quite far apart. Our current offer is approximately $200 million over three years including includes wages, benefits, clinical staffing commitments and more.

The unions’ current economic proposal has been costed out at over $500 million over three years.

In comparison, the entire three-year agreement that management and the unions signed in 2019 cost $85 million.

A vote by the CWA and 1199SEIU membership to authorize a strike does not necessarily mean that a strike is inevitable. That said, we firmly believe that a strike will cause significant and longstanding harm to Kaleida Health and the community.

This harm would include the financial condition of Kaleida Health, which is already fragile, and thereby put into jeopardy the financial ability for us to even pay for what has been offered to date.

Appropriately, we have taken measures to ensure continuity of core services and care in the event the unions do choose to strike as part of these negotiations. We hope that those measures will prove unnecessary, but it is critical that we have contingencies in place for the sake of our patients.

We have engaged nationally-recognized Huffmaster, a workforce crisis response organization, to validate our plans. In addition to this, we have been in continuous contact with the New York State Department of Health for their review of our contingency plans. We are adamant that patient access will remain the priority so we can continue to take care of our patients, no matter the duration or location of a possible work stoppage.

Our goal is to get back to the market lead and be the employer of choice. As a reminder, in March we committed to three objectives as part of this contract: no decrease in wages or benefits for current employees, addressing staffing needs, and once again becoming the market leader in wages. We have not wavered from those commitments.

All that said, we will continue negotiate in good faith until we can reach an agreement. We are committed to do all that we can to achieve a fair contract that rewards our current employees, helps attract new staff, and puts Kaleida Health in a strong position going forward.”