The American Red Cross is viciously attacking its workforce in the Midwest. More than 300 qualified, hardworking unionized blood services workers remain on strike over plans by Red Cross that would destabilize blood supply safety and strip workers of their collective bargaining rights.
The Lansing workers were forced to strike on March 30, joining workers in Cleveland, who walked out on Feb. 14 because the American Red Cross wants its workers to give up their rights to a collective voice and accept staffing levels that could endanger the blood supply. For the dedicated staff members at blood collection sites, these are critical issues that cannot be sacrificed.
"Red Cross continues to ignore the facts about why we are on strike," said Mike Parker, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 580 in Lansing, which has 50 members on strike. "Our members want a voice on the job and they are concerned that the minimum staffing level that Red Cross is pushing through could cause further potential dangers for the blood supply."
Many union members who work for the Red Cross have been staffing blood drives for years. They know their donors and have been especially disheartened by Red Cross' callous attitude toward not only blood safety but also donor loyalty.
"I miss our donors and want to get back to work," said Jennifer Hemstreet, a 19-year mobile unit assistant. "But we have to stand strong against management until we can bargain for a fair contract."
When the first strike occurred, Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa wrote directly to Red Cross CEO Gail McGovern to ask her to intervene. So far, no response has been received.
The Teamsters Union has remained committed to reaching an agreement with Red Cross.