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At 6am on October 1, 2021, 2000 service, technical, clerical, and registered nurses at Mercy Hospital went on strike.  Members returned to work on November 10th with a landmark agreement, including staffing ratios and significant wage increases.


This strike was the culmination of years of frustration with the Hospital and parent employer Catholic Health.   The conditions members experienced during the pandemic were the final straw.  

This website is the result of a creative collaboration during the strike between CWA Union members and Brendan Bannon and Ariel Aberg-Riger.

Hospital work is hands on. These union members are nurses, cooks, nursing assistants, and technicians. To better understand the work they did during the pandemic, we asked them to tell us about their hands. They cared for the sick, and the families of the sick. They care for our community and when they went home they had to isolate from their own families. We asked them to tell us what they carried through the work of the COVID-19 pandemic, to tell us the stories of their hands at work.




Brendan Bannon

Photographer and educator, Bannon is the founder of The Most Important Picture. He has taught photography and writing to amplify the stories of communities defined by unique challenges. His Odyssey Project taught photography to combat veterans as a way to explore the journey home from war. He has also taught refugees in Yemen, Namibia, Jordan and Lebanon. In Romania and Uganda he taught HIV effected youth. His work has been featured in exhibits at UN Headquarters and at the MoMA. Special thanks to Sam Sacco whose work in the Odyssey Project inspired my approach to this project. 

Ariel Aberg-Riger

Ariel is a writer, designer, and artist who uses the power of visual storytelling to explore issues of equity and social justice, encouraging readers to think differently about history, science, policy, and the other forces that shape our lives. She's currently working on a book about U.S. history and identity set to be published in 2023 by Balzer+Bray/HarperCollins.

Doug Lambert

Environmental engineer, musician, oral historian and manager of complex content, Doug brings musicality, organization, and levity to any project he works on. He is a master at balancing the opposing elements in team projects: creativity and decisive action, patience and laser focus. He is also highly skilled in the area of making sure everyone on the team remembers to eat.

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