Red Cross workers rescind strike notice

DEDHAM – The region narrowly escaped what could have been an interruption in blood drive operations.
The American Red Cross Massachusetts Blood Services Region and Teamsters Local 25 have reached a tentative collective bargaining agreement pending ratification by union members, said Donna M. Morrissey, spokesperson for the American Red Cross Blood Services Northeast Division.
As a result of the agreement, Teamsters Local 25 has rescinded its 10-day Notice of Intent to Strike.
“The Red Cross believes the agreement is fair and balanced in achieving the needs of both Teamsters Local 25 members and the organization,” said Morrissey. “The union will recommend its membership vote to ratify the contract at a meeting on Sunday, April 7.”
According to the notice of intent sent to the Red Cross, members of the union were set to begin a work stoppage at 3 a.m. on April 6 if a new contract was not reached. The strike would have affected the Westfield and greater Westfield communities.
“The union represents 86 employees across Massachusetts who support blood drive operations and perform warehouse, distribution and facility functions so yes it does impact the communities,” said Jecoliah Ellis, communications program manager for the American Red Cross Blood Services.
Prior to the agreement, in an effort to resolve the matter, “the Red Cross made fair and competitive proposals that it had hoped would be ratified by union members. These proposals were declined,” stated a press release from Ellis.
Morrissey said in the case of a strike, there were “contingency plans in place to ensure that blood is available for hospitals patients in our area if a work stoppage occurs.”
In Massachusetts alone, 1,750 blood and platelet donations were canceled in February and March due to the inclement weather, and the Region is still facing a shortfall of 700 units. If a work stoppage occurred, the Red Cross would maintain its blood drive schedule to the fullest extent possible, staffed by trained employees who are not represented by the union that is engaging in this action.
The 10-day notification provided by the union is required by federal law to allow health care providers an opportunity to take appropriate steps to prepare for the possibility of a work stoppage. It does not reflect in any way that a strike will occur – only that it is a possibility. Red Cross services provided by local Chapters—disaster services, service to the Armed Forces, preparedness, health and safety and international services — would not have been affected by this action.
Donors are encouraged to call 1-800-RED CROSS or visit to schedule an appointment.

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