Red Cross Contract Raises Wages, Preserves Health Care

Members of Locals 254 and 9287 are working under a new contract they ratified late last year that preserves affordable health care and raises wages in each of the three years of the deal.

The 370 members, spread across Georgia and Alabama, work for the American Red Cross, staffing blood drives.

Negotiations between the Red Cross and the American Red Cross Union Coalition began in May 2018 and dragged through the summer and fall – and for some locals even spilled into the new year.

The coalition, a collaboration between unions representing approximately 4,500 members working under dozens of local contracts, reached a national agreement in September. Individual locals then had to ratify the agreement and resolve their local concerns.

Darryl Ford, president of Local 254, who was among the group who represented the USW at national bargaining, said he was satisfied with the agreements the USW locals reached.

“We held onto what we had with nothing but upgrades,” said Ford. “We had no givebacks this time, and we got three years of raises.”

The coalition is also growing and getting stronger, Ford said. Members voted unanimously this year to include two new organizations, bringing the total number of unions in the coalition to 11.

Still, there’s a lot of work to do to rebuild the relationship between labor and management, Ford said, a process that’s under way, but moving slowly.

Under the terms of their agreement, workers and management must have regular meetings, but Ford said they have a long way to go to establish trust in the relatively new executive board.

“We’re just getting started,” Ford said. “This is an ongoing process.”

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