Red Cross picketers hope to find ways for people to donate blood

TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) - Members of the UFCW Local 75 working at the American Red Cross Blood Services Division in Toledo have been on the picket line for weeks calling for a fair contract. Protesters said people in the area still need to be able to give blood in their absence.

Those 130 workers have been on strike since the end of March. They said they plan to keep their feet on the picket line until something changes.

On Monday, workers gathered at the Blood Services Center on Executive Parkway with signs still in hand, to discuss a way to sort through issues with the American Red Cross. Workers hope to find a way for those that want and need to donate blood.

The group will hold a blood collection drive Mother's Day weekend. It will be staffed by workers from an outside blood services company based in northeast Ohio called Life Share, along with members of Teamsters Local 507 in Cleveland.

"I think it might upset the Red Cross that another organization is coming in, but they drove us to this point. Four years almost with no contract, something has got to give. So they may be upset with it, but we didn't cause the problem," said Bill Dudley of UFCW Local 75.

Dudley said blood donated at the drives will go to hospitals in northwest Ohio.

Although workers are striking, they plan to work with Life Source to coordinate more blood donation efforts in the month of May.

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