Dear CWA 1133 Sisters and Brothers:
We write this letter to share with you our support for the issues that you are raising as Registered Nurses at Kenmore Mercy Hospital.
The CWA District 1 Healthcare Coordinating Council represents over 11,000 healthcare workers in the District. We had our monthly meeting on Friday, April 12 at Local 1168. We had a full and lengthy briefing about the issues surrounding the current unpleasant situation you all face.
We wanted to convey to you our full-fledged support in this matter and assure you that we are 100% behind whatever road lies ahead. We know, as do you, that organized labor is under attack from employers and others. But, we also know that the reasons that we exist are vital, not only to our members, but to those that we serve and our communities.
Our unions and our contracts bring workers dignity, a voice on the job, fairness, a decent living wage and benefits. This enables us to provide better patient care and outcomes. You are in this battle today and we will be in it tomorrow. Please do not waiver on your convictions as they are for all the right reasons.
We will be standing shoulder to shoulder with you no matter what. We applaud your strength and courage.
MaryAnn Reardon, RN Margaret Chadwick-Ledwon, RN
Frank Murphy Karen Dickenson-Marrotta
NY Vice-Chair Registered Nurse Chair
Clifford R. Flickinger Larry McCormick Susan Price
Technical Employee Chair Service and Maintenance Employee Chair Clerical Employee Chair
The above signers are the duly elected Executive Board of the
CWA District 1 Healthcare Coordinating Council (HCC).
It’s frustrating to tune into either the local or national news and not see labor issues represented fairly and honestly. Labor is a hot button issue during this jobless recovery but you wouldn’t know it by what you see in the news. The only time the media produces a story on labor it’s during a strike or when an “investigative journalist” (who spends more money on grooming his facial hair than normal people paid for their car) cranks out a biased smear job.
Luckily, we have Tom Campbell and WNY Labor Today. They are the best source for labor news which features a comprehensive round-up of local happenings as well as national labor news. With the support of all the major Unions in the Western New York area, the site has supported the union movement by being present at every major union gathering. The depth and quality of WNY Labor Today’s reporting attracts both national and international readers, and emphasizes the importance of the area to the labor movement in general.
The site features an outstanding video news magazine hosted by Tom Campbell, editor & publisher of the site, which features a summary of local labor news and profiles of local unions. For the more tech savvy, the site also has a smart phone widget that you can download from the site.
While some of the content is free, a $5 subscription for one year gets you access to the rest of the site while a $20 enhanced commitment gets you all the whistles and bells.
We are scheduling a very important bargaining unit meeting for all of our members at Kenmore Mercy Hospital to discuss the contract negotiations, strike preparations and the presentation to the Hospital of the 10 day strike notice. Your participation is required. Details are as follows.
Thursday, April 18, 2013
CWA Local 1133 Offices
821 Elk Street, Suite A
Buffalo, NY 14210
(Knights of Columbus Halls were not available!)
6:00 am to 7:30 am
2:00 pm to 4:30 pm
6:00 pm to 7:30 pm
The bargaining committee will be available all day at the Union Hall. If you cannot make it to a meeting, please stop in between meetings and get informed!
As most of you know, the contract was again rejected in the vote that was conducted this past Tuesday, March 19, 2013. 88% of the nurses in the bargaining unit voted in the election. Of that 88%, 70% of the nurses voted to reject the contract.
In CWA, a “No” vote on the contract is a “Yes” vote for a strike. Therefore, the nurses at Kenmore Mercy have again spoken loud and clear. You are willing to strike Kenmore Mercy Hospital in order to get a fair agreement.
CWA believes there is a fair agreement that can be reached on your behalf and we are one hundred percent committed to working with the Hospital to reach an agreement and to avert a strike.
The Federal Mediator has called for the Hospital and the Union to schedule a bargaining session which has been scheduled for April 9, 2013.
We have a bargaining unit meeting scheduled to discuss the current bargaining situation and strike preparations. The details are as follows.
When: Tuesday, April 2, 2012
6:00 pm to 8:00 pm
Where: Knights of Columbus
1530 Kenmore Avenue
Please make every effort to attend as we prepare for this potential labor dispute. In the meantime, various strike committees are being formed and your participation is vital going forward. We will have sign up sheets at the meeting. If you have any questions in the meantime, please contact a member of the bargaining committee. Thank you!
The following letter was published in The Buffalo News, March 21, 2013:
I have been a registered nurse for the past 14 years, working in the critical care setting since my career began. I require multiple accreditations to perform my job on a daily basis that are ever evolving as the face of medical care is ever changing. The hours are long, the emotional toll is exhausting. The patients need us to provide not only the most efficient care possible, but perfect care. There cannot be mistakes in our field because mistakes can mean lives. Then you have the families, who are in dire need of not just medical information, but extensive emotional support as well. It is customer service at its most personal, most sensitive level. We are dealing with life and death every single day.
Now, this is the field I have chosen and I wouldn’t change it for anything in the world. What I find fascinating is that when there is a threat of a teacher strike, there is sudden panic of “Oh, my gosh! What will happen to the children?” It’s covered on every news channel, even when it is in another state. However, when there is a threat of a nurses strike, no one says, “Oh, my gosh, those poor helpless people who need skilled, caring, registered nurses to care for them!” The conception appears to be: How can those nurses just walk out?
At Kenmore Mercy Hospital, a nurses strike is looming and the better question is how can the hospital administrators allow their highly decorated nurses, responsible for all the patient care-driven awards that have widely adorned the hospital, feel it is their only alternative to keep only what we have? Trust me, there are no perk trip to Aruba or bonus checks in our job. It’s a blue collar job that not just “anyone” can do. So please stop acting like “anyone” can come in and do it.
Michelle Hazard, C.C.R.N., East Amherst
As you may have heard, Kenmore Mercy RN’s voted down the revised contract offered by hospital administrators. The CWA 1133 Local Bargaining Team is now preparing plans for a strike and updates will be posted to this website. The vote took place on March 19th.
Registered nurses at Kenmore Mercy Hospital, working without a contract since Feb. 1, overwhelmingly rejected a four-year offer Monday.
The vote was 94 percent negative, and 87 percent of the nurses balloted, according to Erin Bowie, a staff representative from the Communications Workers of America. CWA Local 1133 represents about 270 nurses at the hospital.
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CWA Members will be asked to vote again on the Tentative Agreement with Kenmore Mercy Hospital. There were NO improvements made over the previous proposal except for retro-active pay.
Members of the Bargaining Committee and others also want to make it very clear that March 19th vote is a “strike” vote. Do not vote “no” unless you intend to go out on strike for a significant length of time. If the contract is voted down we must provide the hospital with at least a 10 day notice.
This version of the contract still includes; the elimination of daily overtime, no supplemental pay, frozen wage scale, and “First Choice” only with a decrease in contribution for part timers.
Voting on the Tentative Agreement with Kenmore Mercy Nurses will take place as follows:
Date: Tuesday, March 19th, 2013
Time: 6:30am – 7:30pm
Location: Kenmore Mercy Hospital Community Room
For questions, please contact either Vanessa Quinn at 828-1133 or Deb Arnett at 812-6029
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Completed forms and checks should be returned to Kathy Swenson, Executive Director, Mercy Hospital Foundation and Continuing & Home Care Foundation.
Yesterday, the Bargaining Team met with the Administrators of Kenmore Mercy Hospital.
They are NOT offering ANY IMPROVEMENTS to their proposal. They have indicated that if the contract is ratified by March 23, 2013 they will agree to pay reto-active wages back to January 13, 2013 on all hours worked.
The vote has been scheduled as follows:
Date: Tuesday, March 19th, 2013
Time: 6:30am to 7:30pm
Location: Kenmore Mercy Hospital, Community Room, 2950 Elmwood Ave.
Please be sure to vote AND LET YOUR VOICE BE HEARD!
KMH Bargaining Team