Blood workers strike Red Cross

Blood collection workers picketing outside a Red Cross donor center at 7th and Spring Garden Streets on the morning of May 24, 2011.
Blood collection workers picketing outside a Red Cross donor center at 7th and Spring Garden Streets on the morning of May 24, 2011. (Alejandro A. Alvarez / Staff Photographer)
Posted: May 24, 2011

About 240 Red Cross blood collection workers are on strike this morning in Southeastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

People looking to donate blood will likely still be able to do so, but should call 1-800-733-2767 (1-800-RED-CROS) or visit www.redcrossblood.org to check for any scheduling changes, said Red Cross spokesman Anthony Tornetta.

The striking union, Health Professionals and Allied Employees Local 5103, represents about 30 percent of the staff at the 20 to 25 blood drives normally held each day by the Red Cross' area collection arm, the Penn Jersey Blood Region.

Today the strike is targeting seven donor centers, including 700 Spring Garden St. and 8001 Roosevelt Blvd. in Philadelphia, according to the union website, www.hpae.org.

The others are at 133 York Rd. in Willow Grove in Pennsylvania and in New Jersey at 5425 Route 70 West, Pennsauken; 850 N. Franklin Blvd., Pleasantville; and 719 Alexander Rd., Princeton.

The two sides can't agree on staffing, scheduling, training and collective-bargaining rights, according to the union.

"It is important to know that the Red Cross has offered contract proposals consistent with the pay and benefits provided to non-union staff," Tornetta said.

In the short term, blood supplies are likely to see little effect, and if "this were to drag on," the Red Cross would simply obtain blood from other regions, Tornetta said.

"To maintain a stable blood supply, we have to collect approximately 1,200 units of blood a day," he said.

Red Cross relief services are not affected by the strike, Tornetta said.

No talks are scheduled, according to both sides.


Contact staff writer Peter Mucha at 215-854-4342 or pmucha@phillynews.com.

 

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