Red Cross Workers Threaten Strike
Concerns are over the safety of the staffing of blood drives
Red Cross workers in Connecticut say they’ll strike in early June if the blood collection service run by the non-profit doesn’t reach a settlement with employees. WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports.
Connecticut Red Cross workers would join employees in six other states in the walk out. They’ve been working without a contract for over a year. The union representing the workers says the main sticking point has been over the safety of the staffing of blood drives, where the Red Cross has reduced the presence of licensed nurses. Christine Holschlag is a Red Cross phlebotomist and president of AFSCME local 3145.
"We’ve dealt with unjust termination of our active members, retaliatory layoffs when we’ve tried to get our employer to do things right, intimidation for voicing our beliefs and the scare tactics to stop us from acting on them, and yet we’ve tried and tried and tried to reach a fair agreement at the table."
The Red Cross has called the strike notice an effort to gain leverage at the bargaining table, and claims that the union is more concerned with wages and benefits than safety at blood drives. Red Cross spokesperson Donna Morrissey:
"Safety remains a top priority for the Red Cross. The Red Cross intends to continue operations and is committed to its lifesaving mission."
Morrissey says there are contingency plans in place in the event of a strike to ensure the continuation of a supply of donated blood.
For WNPR, I'm Harriet Jones.