Biz Bauer, senior donor recruitment representative with the American Red Cross based in Petoskey, said drives are still going on as scheduled, despite some cancellations in other parts of the state.
According to Monica Stoneking, spokesperson for the Great Lakes Region of the American Red Cross, there are generally 20 to 30 blood drives a day in the region, but since the strike began, there have been only three to four a day. The region covers all of Michigan except for Detroit and requires 700 blood donations each day to meet the needs of accident victims, cancer patients and children with blood disorders.
“We are depending on other regions to increase collection,” Stoneking said. “Right now we are stable, but the longer the strike continues, the less we are able to collect and that’s not helping our local or national supply.”
American Red Cross blood collection workers, including some in Petoskey, walked off the job on March 30 in a dispute over contract negotiations. The workers involved in the strike are represented by the Office and Professional Employees International Union Local 459 and Teamsters Local 580.
The strike does not impact disaster services here in Northern Michigan or nationally.
This is the third time the unions have gone on strike in the past two years.
Charles Terry, a spokesperson for OPEIU Local 459 said collective bargaining rights, safety, health care benefits and blood supply are the big issues.
Stoneking said a meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, April 11, with representatives from the Red Cross and the two unions.
“We’re hoping to come to a resolution at that point in time,” Stoneking said.