OPEIU Calls for Fellow Unions to Join Strike Against American Red Cross

New York, NY, (May 31, 2012) – The Office and Professional Employees International Union (OPEIU), AFL-CIO is calling for all labor organizations with an open contract covering blood services to join in striking against the American Red Cross (ARC).

ARC has traditionally been allowed to operate on a regional basis, with each region making its own decisions and negotiating its own contracts, which has led to more than 50 bargaining units throughout the country. In the past few years, 11 bargaining units represented by a variety of International Unions have unsuccessfully gone on strike.  For the first time, four of these units have joined together and have been on strike since March 30, 2012  -- OPEIU Local 459 and Teamsters Local 580 in Lansing, Michigan and Teamsters and UFCW workers in Toledo, Ohio.

“While these four groups of workers bravely strike, however, the other 46 bargaining units continue to process the blood used to break the strike,” said OPEIU International President Michael Goodwin.  “ARC is too big to feel the pain of even four simultaneous strikes.  They simply increase their blood collections in other units not supporting the strikers.

“It’s time to stand together!” Goodwin continued.  “We desperately need immediate support from every union representing employees at the American Red Cross.  Many of the members of these unions have expressed a desire to take action, but the leadership is hesitating.  We can no longer afford hesitation and delay, but must join together to show that workers won’t put up with ARC’s abuse any longer.  It’s time for a strong showing of union solidarity to end this assault against working people.”

OPEIU is also asking labor organizations to suspend all American Red Cross blood drives and all  union members to not donate money or blood to the ARC until the strike is resolved.

“The strike is the result of mismanagement at the American Red Cross that has put our nation’s blood supply at risk and abused the employees and the donors,” said Local 459 Service Representative and OPEIU Vice President Joe Marutiak.  ARC has a long history of fines by the Food and Drug Administration, complaints of unfair labor practices brought against them by the National Labor Relations Board, and have unilaterally cut worker benefits.

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Office and Professional Employees International Union was chartered in 1945 and with more than 104,000 members (representing 110,000 employees) strong, we’re one of the larger unions of the AFL-CIO.  OPEIU has locals in every state, Puerto Rico and Canada. 

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