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Red Cross Union Members Fight Layoffs

Deena Staples is one of 19 workers laid off by the American Red Cross.

Dec. 23, 2009 - Council 4 filed an unfair labor practice charge against the Connecticut Blood Services Region of the American Red Cross, alleging the recent layoff of 19 workers was an act of reprisal designed to intimidate union members from exercising their rights.
Council 4 filed the charge on behalf of AFSCME Local 3145, which represents more than 200 frontline blood collection workers, including phlebotomists, nurses, laboratory technicians and drivers. In the complaint, which has been received by the National Labor Relations Board, the union alleges the Red Cross “has interfered with, restrained and coerced its employees in the exercise of the rights guaranteed” under the National Labor Relations Act. 

On Nov. 6, the Connecticut Blood Services Region announced it was laying off 19 workers – 10 percent of the unionized workforce – claiming a downturn in blood collection due in part to the discontinuation of a special blood collection procedure known as the Double Red Cell Program. 

Union members maintain the layoffs were part of a hard line stance the Red Cross is taking with negotiations across the country, not a result of the a drop in blood donations. Local 3145 members have worked without a contract since April 26.

News of the layoffs came on the heels of a new national report by labor journalist Philip Dine questioning the Red Cross's treatment of donors and workers.

Local 3145 members at an informational picket outside Red Cross headquarters in Farmington.

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