Baltimore Red Cross employees plan strike

Local branches of the American Red Cross already struggling to to keep up blood supplies in wake of Superstorm Sandy are now faced with another issue.

Thursday the Greater Chesapeake and Potomac Blood Services Region of the Red Cross received a 10-day notice of intent to strike from Teamsters Local #311.

The Red Cross, like many companies and non-profit organizations, provides jobs to union members. In total, the Red Cross employs about 50 union members who support blood drive operations.

According to the notice, members of the union may begin a work stoppage at 12 a.m. Friday, November 16 if a new contract has not been reached.

The Red Cross argues it has made fair proposals that have been declined. They say though the loss of resources due to a strike would disrupt efforts, the blood drive schedule would be maintained as much as possible.

"If a work stoppage occurs, the Red Cross will maintain its blood drive schedule to the fullest extent possible, staffed by trained Red Cross employees who are not represented by the union that is engaging in this action," the Red Cross stated in a release. "Red Cross services provided by local Chapters-disaster services, service to the Armed Forces, preparedness, health and safety and international services -will not be affected by this work stoppage."

Baltimore Red Cross spokesman Anthony Tornetta calls the potential strike "irresponsible." The Red Cross reports that after Superstorm Sandy the non-profit is short more than 12,800 units of blood and platelets.

"It is irresponsible for the union to give notice of its intent to strike at a time when Red Cross attentions are focused on relief efforts for Superstorm Sandy and helping those impacted by the Nor'easter,"  Tornetta said. "A strike in our area threatens to disrupt blood collection operations at a time when those impacted by these storms are unable to give and are relying on non-affected areas."

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