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Red Cross Workers Vote to Authorize a Strike
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Red Cross workers in Connecticut have voted to authorize a strike against their employer. As WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports, the employees have been working without a contract for almost a year.

One of the most contentious issues in this protracted dispute is changes the Red Cross has made in the procedures at blood drives across the state. According to the union, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the Red Cross no longer requires registered nurses to be present at drives, but has allowed less qualified staff to supervise. The union says this puts cost savings before public safety.

The Red Cross says that any changes it has made have had no effect on the safety of blood drives. AFSCME is also concerned over changes to the collective bargaining agreement, as well as the Red Cross’s policy of offering new workers a 401K instead of a pension plan.

The vote to authorize a strike is a tactic in the long running negotiations, and does not necessarily mean there will be a work stoppage imminently. The two sides will be back at the negotiating table in late April.

For WNPR, I'm Harriet Jones.