Wisconsin union accuses American Red Cross of bargaining in bad faith
MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - A Wisconsin union representing employees of the American Red Cross are accusing the agency Tuesday of bargaining in bad faith.
AFSCME Wisconsin announced it had filed a charge with the National Labor Relations Board Tuesday morning.
AFSCME Local 1205 and 1558, which represent 300 Red Cross employees in Wisconsin and Iowa, say their most recent contracts expired on Sept. 30, 2021, and Red Cross management has canceled or rescheduled up to 21 sessions of meetings with employee bargaining committees. Management has only met with the two committees once time each, according to the union.
The American Red Cross denied the allegations, stating that it has not yet received the union’s charge, but will address it with the National Labor Relations Board.
“The American Red Cross has a longstanding history of working together with our labor partners at both a local and national level to solve complex problems and denies that the organization engaged in any unfair labor practices,” the agency stated.
It continued, saying, “We remain committed to reaching a contract agreement that is fair and equitable to all and are available for continued negotiations.”
Collections Technician Lora Parker stated that they have given the Red Cross many dates to meet with them.
“They cancel, and we start over again,” Parker said. “We need some resolution. We are fair with them, and they need to be fair with us.”
Included in the group’s bargaining proposal are advocating for more competitive wages and proper staffing. The workers argue that their wages have been reduced over the past five years and more blood donors have been scheduled than are able to be accommodated, creating a stressful experience for employees. They claim that this has led to canceled blood drives and a shortage of blood at area hospitals.
Full statement by the American Red Cross:
“The American Red Cross has a longstanding history of working together with our labor partners at both a local and national level to solve complex problems and denies that the organization engaged in any unfair labor practices. At this time, the Red Cross has not received AFCSME Wisconsin’s unfair labor practice charge. Once we do, we will address it with the National Labor Relations Board, as appropriate. We remain committed to reaching a contract agreement that is fair and equitable to all and are available for continued negotiations.
At the same time, the Red Cross will continue to focus on delivering our mission for patients across the country who rely on us each day to provide lifesaving blood; while we experienced a national blood shortage just a couple of months ago, we currently have a sufficient supply of blood on the shelves to support patients in need.”
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