PHILADELPHIA, Dec. 3 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American Red Cross won a court injunction today againstthe International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Local 929 after its members illegally blocked vehicles from leaving the facility, interfering with blood shipments to local hospitals.
The Teamsters initiated a work stoppage against the American Red Cross Blood Services Penn-Jersey Region earlier today. The union represents approximately 110 Red Cross employees who pack, ship and deliver blood to area hospitals, assist at blood drives and help maintain our facility.
The Red Cross says union leaders are trying to disrupt the Red Cross Blood Services operations by going on strike.
The Red Cross says these tactics put patients at risk and required them to take legal action to stop this conduct. Doctors at area hospitals are now waiting for the safe delivery of Red Cross blood and blood products. Earlier today, the Red Cross says it had to inform union members that a two-year-old child's life depended on our blood delivery before they would allow a Red Cross vehicle to exit the yard to get the necessary blood products to the hospital.
At that point, the Red Cross felt it had no choice but to take the unusual step of going to court in order to seek relief from the union's disruptions.
The Red Cross collects more than 40% of the nation's blood supply and distributes blood and blood products to more than 100 hospitals in the Penn-Jersey region alone.
"While this is difficult and challenging for everyone involved, we are eager for a resolution that will allow the Red Cross and Teamsters to work together to fulfill our organization's mission of providing the American people with a blood supply that is sufficient, cost-effective, and as safe as possible," said Anthony Tornetta, Communications Manager for the Red Cross Penn-Jersey Blood Region.
The Red Cross says the union's actions today refute the union's claim that this strike is about safety issues for donors and staff. By stopping blood deliveries to area hospitals, the Red Cross says union members have potentially endangered patient safety.
In addition, the Red Cross said that contrary to the union's public claims that the strike is about unfair labor practices, the Teamsters have indicated that this strike is about a pay raise for this year. In fact, the Red Cross says there have been no unfair labor practices filed by Teamsters Local #929 in Pennsylvania regarding these negotiations. The organization has already suspended FY10 merit increases for all non-union staff at all Biomedical Services facilities, including the Penn-Jersey Region, as part of its cost-cutting measures. Red Cross says similar proposals are being made in all open negotiations.
"We are simply asking union employees to make the same sacrifices that their non-union colleagues have already made," said Tornetta. "Their refusal to do so remains a significant issue in these negotiations."
SOURCE American Red Cross, Penn-Jersey Region
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