Union members of the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 75 went on strike from American Red Cross positions on Tuesday.
The Red Cross Western Lake Erie Blood Region and the union are at odds over employment contracts. Health benefits remain the biggest issue, according to a Red Cross statement.
"We have been bargaining with the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 75 for nearly three years," wrote Tracy Duncan, ARC spokesperson. "We believe that rather than fighting with us over issues that have been resolved in 18 other contracts since last July, union leadership should be working with us to help strengthen the blood supply in our community."
UFCW Local 75 spokesperson Bill Dudley told WNWO that ARC is doing to them what Senate Bill 5 attempted to do to all union workers in the state: "Give up basic rights to negotiate over health care."
"Our members have put forward tremendous effort to try to resolve this, but with what the Red Cross wants, it will be choose between food on the table or health insurance," he said.
After multiple negotiation attempts, Dudley said it came to the point where they had no choice but to strike.
Blood drive schedules in the Western Lake Erie Region will be modified during this work stoppage, and the ARC encourages blood donors to call 1-800-RED CROSS or check online at www.redcrossblood.org to determine the status of the blood drive at which they wish to donate. The strike does not affect services provided by local Red Cross Chapters.