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LifeSource's Outsourcing Plan Threatens Economy, Workers' Jobs

Thursday, June 2, 2011 General News J E 4
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Illinois' Largest Blood Center Wants to Cut Corners at Expense of Community

ROSEMONT, Ill., June 1, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- LifeSource has developed tentative plans to outsource the services of 60 employees at its new multi-million dollar, state-of-the-art Rosemont facility in order to cut costs at the largest blood center in Illinois.

"If LifeSource turns these good-paying jobs into low-wage positions, it would create a strain on community services and taxpayers," said John Coli Jr., President of Teamsters Local 727, which represents the workers whose jobs are at stake. "This corporation wants save a few bucks by cutting corners, which means sacrificing the quality of care in an operation that directly deals with public health."

Teamsters Local 727 represents drivers, Mobile Unit Assistants and Mobile Drive Coordinators at LifeSource, which operates 18 donor centers, three mobile unit supported donor centers and conducts about 10 mobile blood drives each day.

LifeSource claims by eliminating its entire transportation workforce and hiring an outside operator, the non-profit blood center would save about $980,000 annually. However, LifeSource's parent company, the Institute for Transfusion Medicine (ITxM), reported $176.6 million in revenue last year.

LifeSource also purchased its new building in Rosemont for $16.5 million, which does not include the millions of dollars it cost to completely renovate the facility. Now, management wants to replace employees with decades of dedicated service to save a measly 0.5 percent.

"LifeSource is claiming they have a company in place to do our members' work at a significantly lower cost, but we have not seen one shred of evidence to support these claims," Coli said.

The union-represented workers transport required supplies, equipment, blood products and samples to and from mobile sites. The job is physically demanding; workers are constantly on their feet and are required to lift, push and pull heavy objects up and down ramps and stairs. Teamsters Local 727 is in the midst of contract negotiations on behalf of the 60 workers, whose current three-year agreement expires July 1 — the same day LifeSource has tentatively scheduled to implement its outsourcing plan.

"Listed among the corporation's core values on its website are integrity, accountability, employees and commitment. Without question, LifeSource's outsourcing plan is a direct contradiction of those values," Coli said. "In essence, LifeSource is sucking the blood right out of the local economy."

SOURCE Teamsters Local 727

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