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American Red Cross Bleeds Frontline Blood Drive Workers
Date:6/19/2009

Red Cross Executives Prioritize Profits Over Safety

WASHINGTON, June 19 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Teamsters General President Hoffa called on the American Red Cross today to support its frontline blood drive workers whose efforts help safeguard America's blood supply. The Red Cross is currently pursuing a campaign against its frontline workers that would worsen working conditions, push down living standards, undermine workers' rights to representation, threaten safety standards and create a disposable work force.

"People rely on the American Red Cross everyday for a safe blood supply. The organization owes it to the public and to its donors to ensure a sustainable blood supply while retaining diligent and competent workers who are treated with respect," Hoffa said.

Although the American Red Cross has been under a federal consent decree for 16 years for safety and health violations, it is trying to replace nurses with unlicensed supervisors, force employees to work up to seven days a week, stop compensating drivers for mastering valuable certifications and job skills such as phlebotomy, maintaining donor health records, and performing other donor safety activities, and turn blood collection into an assembly line process. Red Cross also wants to implement a more expensive and inferior health care plan.

"The American Red Cross is an American icon for hope and service. I'm sure few would question the legitimacy of the Red Cross, but the truth is, it is a horrible employer that mistreats its workers and takes its donors for granted," said Gary Cossarini, President of Teamsters Local 682 in St. Louis, Missouri, which represents blood drive workers in the Red Cross Missouri-Illinois Blood Services Region.

"The important service that the Red Cross provides to our community would not exist without the hard work of the frontline blood drive workers," Hoffa said. "The Red Cross must cease exploiting these workers and treat them as valued partners in the successful execution of the organization's mission."

Founded in 1903, the Teamsters Union represents more than 1.4 million hardworking men and women in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico.


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SOURCE International Brotherhood of Teamsters
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