Alleghenies Red Cross faces strike

YOUNGSTOWN — Area hospitals provided blood by the Greater Alleghenies Region, American Red Cross Blood Services, said they don’t expect to be affected by a strike by 160 Red Cross employees who work blood drives.

The striking employees, who serve as health historians, phlebotomists and drivers at blood drives, are members of Local 13000 of the Communication Workers of America and walked off their jobs Sunday.

The union’s three-year contract had expired Dec. 15 but both sides had agreed to extend the old pact while negotiations continued.

A Red Cross spokeswoman said the agency was given a 20-day strike notice Jan. 8 and the workers went on strike Sunday.

“We are not expecting any problems at this point,” said Ed Newmeyer, spokesman for Sharon Regional Health System in Sharon.

The Red Cross sent notice of the impending strike last week, as well as details of a contingency plan to keep hospitals on its service list supplied with blood, he said.

“We haven’t had any problems as of yet,” said Lori Jackson, a nursing supervisor at East Liverpool Hospital.   “We do have our own blood bank.   We have a lot of storage (of blood products),” she said.

A nursing supervisor at Ellwood City Hospital said the facility was aware of the impending strike from various news stories.   No problems are anticipated, she said.

Other hospitals in the region served by the Greater Alleghenies Region are Trinity Medical Center in Steubenville and The Medical Center in Beaver, Pa.

The strike will also have some impact on blood collection activities in parts of Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia.

The strike is over a management proposal for blood collectors, phlebotomists and drivers to pay more for their health care benefits.

Recent negotiations failed to produce a new contract and no new talks were scheduled.

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