HARTFORD, Conn. (CBSNewYork/AP) — American Red Cross workers in Connecticut authorized their contract negotiators Sunday to call a strike, if necessary, to reach an agreement with the agency.

Larry Dorman, a spokesman for the AFSCME Local 3145, would not release the vote totals but said a “clear margin” was in favor of authorizing a strike. He said Red Cross workers in other states also will be taking strike authorization votes this week.

Some 200 nurses, technicians and other professionals in Connecticut are represented by the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees, Dorman said. A coalition of unions represents nearly 4,000 Red Cross workers.

Their contract expired in April 2009 but there have been few talks, Dorman said.

Still, he said, “It remains our goal to try to reach an agreement at the negotiating table.”

Donna M. Morrissey, a Red Cross spokeswoman for the Connecticut region, expressed disappointment with the vote.

“We are disappointed that union leaders are seeking another strike at a time when the need for blood is high and supplies are tight, and hope that AFSCME leaders will agree to continue negotiations…,” she said in a statement.

The union says the Red Cross has ignored requests to bargain and is imposing higher health insurance deductibles with fewer benefits while halting employer contributions to the 401k plan.

The Red Cross had no comment Sunday on the contract proposal.

A coalition of unions represents Red Cross employees in California, Connecticut, Georgia, Massachusetts, Michigan, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

The union says there have been several job actions since the contract expired in 2009. In June 2010, more than 1,000 Red Cross blood collection workers briefly went on strike.

Last month, about 250 Red Cross nurses and donation collection workers waged a strike in Philadelphia and southern New Jersey for three weeks, the AFL-CIO said. The workers agreed to a 90-day cooling-off period and returned to work June 16.

Do you agree with this strike authorization? Sound off in our comments section below…

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Comments (2)
  1. Rafael says:

    Red Cross is the biggest charity scam going on, i have had multiple run ins with this so called charity in the past out in the field and they are so mismanaged and disorganized and out of touch with what counts, the people they are actually to help! The only help they provide is bland coffee and cookie to firefighters and police officers. Lets not forget about all of the 9/11 money they tried to absorb and then they gave back when they were caught!

    1. Mike says:

      Rafael if you think that’s a jole, get this, I got to chat with the guy who headed up the relief effort for the salvation army during 9/11 at the Mt sinai treatment center last week and he is not getting his medical care covered that was ordered by the NYS WC court to the salvation army(he’s on permanent disability), then the salvation army “partners” with the treatment center to hold a ceremony for first responders (got an email on friday from the registry). So much for “doing the most good”. I’m boycotting and other respnders should do the same.

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