A contract dispute between Oregon Nurses Association (ONA) and the Oregon Trail Chapter of the American Red Cross has resulted in the cancelation of this year’s Labor Day blood drive at Oaks Park.
Regular attendees of the picnic sponsored by the Northwest Oregon Labor Council know that the Red Cross always parks a bloodmobile or two at the picnic for blood donations. Typically, 30 to 35 pints of blood are collected — with a record 80 pints set last year.
ONA represents 64 nurses at American Red Cross. Teamsters Local 223 represents 150 support staff there. The Teamsters had contract issues with Red Cross last year that almost led to the cancellation of the blood drive. A new contract was ratified, but the union says it still is having problems implementing some of the new language in that contract.
“The Teamsters Union supports ONA and the labor council in whatever action it is forced to take,” said Teamsters Rep Dave Tully.
According to ONA, American Red Cross has brought in a union-busting attorney from Alabama to negotiate the new agreement. The contract expired June 30.
American Red Cross initially sought to replace registered nurses with unlicensed personnel at various stages of the blood donation process, including patient assessments. It also proposed limiting nurses’ access to their sick leave bank until the third consecutive day they were out of work. Both of those proposals were withdrawn, said Tresa Cavanaugh, lead negotiator for ONA.
The remaining hurdle is wages. American Red Cross is pushing to lower the wage rate for new-hires, eliminate step/ longevity increases, and cut differential pay.
ONA has represented nurses at American Red Cross for more than 30 years.