For Immediate Release:
Contact: Bridget Devane, 732-996-5493
Winning safe conditions for donor and worker safety is a top priority for the health care union currently in contract bargaining talks with American Red Cross – Penn Jersey Region Blood Services Division. The 250 Registered Nurses and Donor Collection Assistants are represented by the Health Professionals and Allied Employees (HPAE), a healthcare union of 12,000 nurses and health care workers across New Jersey and Southeastern Pennsylvania.
Red Cross workers are bargaining for improved conditions to ensure protections for blood donors, our nation’s blood supply and the workers on the frontline of blood collections.
“Our first priority is to take care of blood donors and the blood they donate so our nation can be rest assured they will have access to quality blood products when they need it most,” said Renee Conyers, a Donor Collection Assistant at Red Cross and president of the technical unit of HPAE Local 5103. “While Red Cross continues to look for ways to cut costs by reducing staffing, cutting benefits for workers and forcing workers to work longer days, we will take a stand at the bargaining table to prevent conditions which can lead to increased risk of errors,” added Conyers.
Red Cross workers are calling for safer staffing levels at blood drives, citing concerns that understaffing can increase the risk of blood safety errors and frustrate efforts to give donors the prompt and careful attention they need and deserve. Red Cross, the largest supplier of blood and blood products in the U.S., relies on the generosity of unpaid blood donors which brings in more than $2 billion a year to Red Cross’ national coffers.
Red Cross has a history of violating blood safety laws and regulations. Since 1993 Red Cross has been under a federal consent decree by the FDA due to the organization’s recurring non-compliance with safety procedures including donor screening, testing and handling of blood products, component preparations and quality control. The FDA has fined Red Cross $47 million since 2003 for blood safety violations.
“HPAE has launched contract campaigns across NJ and Philadelphia to win safe staffing, enforcement of healthcare quality standards, and accountability at our hospitals, blood drives and health care institutions,” said Bernie Gerard, RN and Vice-President of HPAE. “Under the banner of “HPAE Putting Care First,” we embraced the fact that HPAE health care workers are the ones who put care first, whether in a hospital, a nursing home, at a blood drive, in medical research or community nursing,” added Gerard.