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Kaleida Health union workers plan picket amid contract negotiations

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Kaleida Health union workers plan to pound the pavement in an informational picket to shine the light on their ongoing contract negotiations with the healthcare provider.

The workers, represented by Communications Workers of America and 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East, delivered a 10-day notice to Kaleida Monday with their intent to hold an informational picket on Aug. 18.

The picket is planned to happen outside of Buffalo General Medical Center and Oishei Children’s Hospital.

The union members’ contract expired on July 31, and the bargaining committee has been meeting five days a week to hammer out a new agreement.

The unions want to fix “unacceptable working conditions for Kaleida’s staff and patients, and the dire need for a contract that will enable Kaleida to recruit and retain staff,” a union news release said.

Kaleida healthcare workers are represented by the unions at Buffalo General Medical Center, Oishei Children’s Hospital, Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital, HighPointe on Michigan, DeGraff Medical Park and other community-based clinics.

“Over the last three years, healthcare workers have been fighting a global pandemic tirelessly all while being short-staffed,” added Jim Scordato, vice president for WNY Hospitals, 1199SEIU. “After five months of bargaining, we need to educate the public on how difficult it has been for these union workers to secure a new contract. Our members have been working short-staffed far too long and in unacceptable working conditions. The state’s newly created staffing law forces Kaleida to add more than 400 full-time equivalent positions on top of the more than 800 vacancies they currently have, but all without any financial support from the state to help fill those positions. The state needs to come to the table for all of our WNY Hospitals, not just Kaleida, and put money behind those jobs, so hospital workers can get some relief from day after day of working critically short staffed.”

News 4 has reached out to Kaleida Health for a statement, and we’re waiting to hear back.

Patrick Ryan is a digital producer who has been part of the News 4 team since 2020. See more of his work here.

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