Around 2,000 health care workers at South Buffalo Mercy Hospital have been on strike since Oct. 1. Now, they have a tentative agreement and picket lines are suspended while the workers vote whether to ratify the contract. The continuing John Deere strike is a reminder that workers sometimes vote down agreements that their union leaders bring them, but the Communications Workers of America hailed the tentative deal as a win, and from the summary the union offered, it looks like one.
Not only did the workers beat back efforts to cut their health care benefits and get a significant raise over the course of the contract, but they won safe staffing ratios for the first time, with the new staffing levels to be fully implemented by January 1, 2023. That’s a significant advance for the workers and, of course, it’s also a win for patients who will be guaranteed care from workers who aren’t stretched across too many patients.