|We Make Connecticut Happen|
Red Cross Workers Stand Up For Safety and Dignity On The Job
The signs say it all: Local 3145 are the backbone of the Red Cross' Blood Services Region.
New Britain, CT, April 1, 2009 – Citing concerns over quality of life, respect and donor safety, front-line workers employed by the American Red Cross-Connecticut Blood Services Region said their goal remains to reach terms on a “just and fair” settlement with their employer.
The leaders of AFSCME Local 3145, representing 225 Red Cross blood services employees, provided an update on contract negotiations during a press conference at Council 4 AFSCME in New Britain.
Local 3145 members are employed as phlebotomists, nurses, drivers, and technicians in the lab, pheresis, and product management.
The current three-year contract between the employer and Local 3145 expired March 31, 2009. Both sides agreed to extend talks until April 26, 2009.
Local 3145 members voted unanimously to authorize their leadership to recommend a strike in the event the sides do not reach agreement.
“A strike is a last resort, and one we hope we don’t have to use,” said Local 3145 President Debra Lenentine. “Our goal is to reach a just and fair settlement that protects the services we provide.”
Union members said they hope the Red Cross will be more reasonable in negotiations.
“We are proud of the role we play in promoting the overall health of our state,” said union officer Christine Holschlag, who is employed as a phlebotomist. “But the Red Cross has presented proposals that make us very apprehensive and very concerned – both for our livelihoods and for public safety.”
Holschlag noted that during contract negotiations three years ago, Local 3145 members provided over $1 million in concessions sought by the employer to sell a more competitive product to hospitals.
“Our company CEO has told us we are one of the most productive regions in the United States and that we have exceeded our productivity goals due to the generosity of our donors and the hard work of our bargaining unit members,” Holschlag said.
She added, “We are proud to be productive, but we are concerned with the quality of our product, not just the quantity. We urge the American Red Cross to do what is right for their employees, donors, and recipients.”
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