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Last-Minute Negotiations Fail To Avert Workers’ Strike At Red Cross Blood Banks

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Workers at Red Cross blood banks across the Delaware Valley will walk off the job on Tuesday at 7 AM if their contract dispute continues (see related story).

The 250 nurses and blood donor support staff are represented by the Health Professionals and Allied Employees union.  Spokeswoman Jeanne Oterson says economics, worker scheduling, and safety are among the roadblocks — and says the national Red Cross is handcuffing local talks.

“They’re not looking at the issues of the community,” Oterson says.  “They have a $2-billion industry that they’re trying to protect at all costs.”

And he says she’s not optimistic that a deal will be reached tonight.

The Red Cross says they’re asking union employees to “make the same sacrifices” that non-union workers have made for years.  Red Cross spokesman Anthony Tornetta says if a strike does happen, hospitals and patients need not worry.

“Their needs will continue to be met,” he told KYW Newsradio today.  “We’ll continue to supply blood.  It will be business as usual for us, as far as meeting and making sure there’s blood on the shelf when it’s needed and where it’s needed for our patients.”

Stay tuned to KYW Newsradio 1060, CBS3 Eyewitness News, and for updates on this developing news story.

Reported by Ian Bush, KYW Newsradio 1060

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