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Potential strike looming over American Red Cross blood drives this week

 The American Red Crossmay be hit by a strike this week by some of its unionized employees.   The picket signs are stacked up and ready to go at the union hall in south Lansing.  

Joe Marutiak is with the Office and Professional Employees International Union.    He says nurses and other red cross workers who handle blood are ready to strike on Wednesday, if there is no move by the American Red Cross to come back to the bargaining table.  Marutiak says to put extra pressure on the Red Cross, 20 union locals around the country plan to strike at about the same time.  

“Hopefully it will get the Red Cross’ attention. Maybe there won’t be a strike…or there will be a shorter strike….because they’ll have to deal with all the unions.”

The two sides are far apart on several contract issues.  American Red Cross officials say a strike now will disrupt many blood drives planned to coincide with September 11th.   

The OPEIU is encouraging people interested in donating blood to check out blooddrivesafety.com  for information on non-red cross blood drives.  

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Radio since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.