Red Cross Workers Stage Three-day Strike

No contract for blood workers for more than a year

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Red Cross Workers Stage Three-day Strike
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Red Cross Workers Strike in Farmington
Photo:Chion Wolf, WNPR
Comptroller Nancy Wyman at Red Cross Workers Strike in Farmington
Photo:Chion Wolf, WNPR
Union Leader John Olsen at Red Cross Workers Strike in Farmington
Photo:Chion Wolf, WNPR
Red Cross Workers Strike in Farmington
Photo:Chion Wolf, WNPR
Red Cross Workers Strike in Farmington
Photo:Chion Wolf, WNPR
Red Cross Workers Stage Three-day Strike
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Red Cross Workers Stage Three-day Strike

Striking Red Cross workers mounted picket lines in Farmington and Norwalk Wednesday, protesting the breakdown of contract talks with their employer. Union officials say the strike will last three days.

Workers picketing the Red Cross headquarters in Farmington got noisy support from passersby as they held a rally and news conference. They’ve been without a contract for more than a year. Their union, AFSCME local 3145 says the biggest issue in the talks is safety at blood collection centers where they say the Red Cross has reduced supervision by registered nurses. To make that point the union brought in blood donors like June Pinkin from Manchester
 
I give blood regularly, in fact I am up to nearly 6 gallons, but I only want to do it if licensed personnel are working the drive.
 
The workers are also protesting proposed changes to collective bargaining and unfair labor practices. Driver technician Bill Ogonowski.
 
The union is not the problem – the union is the solution. We’re really the best stewards of this business we feel, because we do everything in our power to ensure a safe and secure blood supply.
 
But the Red Cross says contrary to the workers’ claims, safety is still its highest priority, and the non-profit’s Donna Morrisey had no time for claims of attempted union busting.
 
Just not true – we’re committed to bargaining in good faith and our hope is to make progress towards a fair and equitable contract.
 
Employees in Connecticut and seven other states will remain on strike until midnight on Friday, but there may be a longer, perhaps indefinite stoppage later in the summer, if talks make no progress.

For WNPR, I'm Harriet Jones.