American Red Cross frontline workers demand healthcare protections, fair contract

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Published: May. 9, 2022 at 12:01 PM CDT
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PEORIA (HOI ABC) - Thousands of frontline workers of the American Red Cross are protesting across the U.S. on Monday. They’re standing against, what they say, is the Red Cross management’s ‘unfair treatment of blood drive staff.’

A small group of Red Cross workers picketed outside of the Red Cross Headquarters in Peoria Monday morning.

Workers say management has tried to roll back healthcare benefits for thousands of employees and failed to address unsafe working conditions and low staffing levels. They say that makes it harder for blood drive staff to adequately handle those drives.

“With the pandemic, they pulled back on blood drives because places weren’t open. We do a lot of drives in schools and churches and stuff, and we couldn’t go in there,” said Bobbie Terrell, a collections specialist with the Red Cross. “So I think they’re adding those drives back as the pandemic rolls back, but we still don’t have the staff to staff those drives.”

Workers say Red Cross management’s “lack of respect for employees makes it difficult to retain trained, dedicated staff.”

Heart of Illinois ABC reached out to the American Red Cross for comment. Brian Williamsen, the Regional Communications Manager, says: “The Red Cross greatly values its employees whose compassion and hard work help those in need each day. We remain committed to providing our Red Cross employees across the country with competitive wages, benefits and working conditions, including health care. To this end, we have presented mutually beneficial proposals, and provided opportunities to increase wages and ensure quality affordable health care benefits. We continue to negotiate with the intent to reach a fair and amicable agreement.”

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