Last Tuesday, Mary Nowocien, a Degraff LPN, spoke out regarding patient care issues with other concerned healthcare workers delivering a letter to Jody Lomeo on Tuesday February 4th. On Thursday February 6th, she was fired.

Almost 50 Kaleida healthcare workers arrived at Jody Lomeo’s office Tuesday, February 4th to deliver a list of demands and explain what the impact of the tidal wave of cuts Kaleida has implemented over the past six months have had on patients and workers. Healthcare workers from all different Kaleida sites spoke to executives Mike Hughes, Don Boyd, and Marylou Klee, detailing from the heart the importance of our long-term care facilities and clinics and how the systemic short-staffing, job deletions, and supply shortages are impacting patient care. The entire meeting was filmed and can be viewed on our Facebook page (www.Facebook.com/cwa1168).

Management’s response to our concerns? Three employees who attended their meeting on their lunch break were called to HR to “investigate” if they had taken the necessary steps to leave their floors. These meetings were not meant to discipline; they were meant to intimidate. This is targeted harassment, and it’s illegal. Labor board charges have already been filed. Grievance and injunction will also be filed, but it’s also going to take us, fellow CWA members, standing up for our patients and coworkers. This will not be tolerated. We cannot accept revenge and targeting of workers who are standing up for their patients. This environment of fear is dangerous to our patients.

At the meeting, Mary spoke of the many issues that were plaguing the small community hospital she has been fighting to keep open for years. Mary is well known for her defense of workers and patients across the system. She organized a petition for the cafeteria workers at DeGraff; she got signatures for a Buffalo General staffing letter, and more recently has been supporting the CMAs at Buffalo General that are having their livelihoods taken.

At DeGraff, the radiology department has recently been out of CDs used to make copies of radiology imaging for patients being transferred to other facilities or for their doctors. Radiology employees had been telling management for weeks that the CDs were running low and when the supply was exhausted, workers actually went out and bought their own CDs to ensure patients did not need to be exposed to additional radiation or have any delays in treatment.
In response to this supply issue, Mary made a satirical flyer advertising a 50/50 raffle to raise money for CDs. Those interested in donating were asked to call the president of the hospital and it listed his office phone number. The president of the hospital where there were no CDs makes over half a million dollars a year. The “distribution” of this “unauthorized flyer” is the reason Kaleida Health gave in their termination notice to Mary Nowocien, which was delivered via a phone call.

The safety of patients at Kaleida Health depends on our ability to speak up for our patients. Please support Mary and the safety of patient care and services, and tell your story of how Kaleida cuts and short -staffing and supplies have affected your ability to do your job. Please go to this link (you can share your story anonymously):

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