Progressive meddlers and unionized workers looking to preserve their paychecks call for FDA investigation
By Seth Richardson
The American Red Cross, a non-profit organization that manages nearly half of the blood supply of the nation is under attack by Progressive organizations like the AFL-CIO and the National Consumers League, a far-left “social justice” organization, who are objecting to staffing reorganization by the Red Cross in its blood collection clinics.
The AFL-CIO and NCL have called for an FDA investigation of staffing levels at the Red Cross, claiming that staff reductions and elimination of nurses is imperiling the safety of the blood supply.
According to the Washington Post, the Red Cross has significantly reduced the need for highly-paid nurses by increasing the number of trained technicians in their collection clinics. The Red Cross, like most other charitable organizations, is suffering from the recession and a drop in donations, and is trying to cut costs and preserve its ability to provide life-saving blood products.
But the labor unions representing Red Cross employees are barking mad about losing plush union-negotiated positions and are siccing the FDA on the organization in a typical Progressive/leftist tactic, just at the very moment they are negotiating with the Red Cross over extending contracts for union employees, including nurses.
According to the Worker’s Committee for Blood Safety, which describes itself as a coalition “composed of community groups, blood safety organizations, labor rights advocates, and unions that represent Red Cross employees,” there are nine expired union contracts, and another eight will expire in June. The WCBS claims that “[t]he major impediment to reaching an agreement on these contracts is the unwillingness of Red Cross to negotiate over health care, 401-k, and pensions. Red Cross maintains it has the right to unilaterally change health care coverage, 401-k, and pensions at anytime without bargaining.”
The WCBS goes on to complain, “A union official… states that he believes Red Cross is trying to replace its workforce with cheaper, less experienced workers who are paid as little as $11 an hour.” Well, yes, this is very likely the case. So what? The Red Cross is entitled to cut its workforce and its labor costs in response to dwindling donations and an economic recession, isn’t it? Evidently not, according to Progressives and socialists. Evidently the Red Cross is seen by union employees as a sinecure that ought to guarantee them a lifetime of highly-paid work with gold-plated benefits.
And then the group has the gall to mendaciously claims that these workers “are paid little better than minimum wage.” Problem is the minimum wage is $7.25 per hour, and last time I checked, $11.00 per hour (which is the least the group claims the Red Cross is offering… and they don’t say to whom this wage is offered or what the actual wage range is) is one-and-one-half times minimum wage. Typical Saul Alinsky “Rules for Radicals”/Progressive disinformation and propaganda at work there, I’m afraid.
The Washington Post quotes Red Cross spokeswoman Stephanie Millian as saying that the complaint to the FDA is “a negotiating tactic to try to gain leverage at the bargaining table…While issues of blood safety and the presence of nurses were brought up at these press conferences, it is wages and benefits that remain the top union concern at the table in each of our negotiations, not blood safety.”
Given the WCBS statement on its own website, Millian’s statement is highly credible, and the complaint to the FDA is highly suspect.
While the Red Cross has had problems with its blood processing systems, and is operating under a court-supervised consent decree issued in 1993 related to errors and problems with their handling of blood, there is little evidence that current process of collecting blood has endemic problems that require full-time heavy staffing by nurses rather than trained technicians.
An October 30, 2009 Adverse Determination Letter from the FDA pointed out a number of systemic problems and errors in blood processing and handling that had occurred in several of the Red Cross’ processing facilities, but none of the complaints pointed to problems that would be resolved by keeping nurse staffing levels at blood collection points high.
According to the Washington Post, the union complaint is based on “anecdotal evidence.” Washington Post staff writer Darryl Fears writes, “Feigen and the whistle-blowers have not drawn a direct connection between the reduction of workers to problems collecting blood.”
Anyone who has been in a hospital knows that most blood draws are performed by trained technicians called phlebotomists, not nurses. Sticking a needle in someone’s vein and drawing blood does not require a nursing degree, and the complaint is pretty clearly union machinations to keep a stranglehold on the Red Cross and keep union members employed.
This sort of abuse of process is pretty typical of Progressives and union bosses, who will do or say anything to preserve their privilege and power.
The Red Cross provides invaluable non-profit services to the nation and the world, and the last thing we need is union parasites sucking the life-blood of the Red Cross, which survives on your donations, to feather their own nests. We need to support the Red Cross in busting the stranglehold of unions on our precious blood supply.
If the unions and leftist advocacy organizations had even a shred of decency, and had any true concern for the needs of the nation, or blood safety for that matter, they would offer to pay the salaries of Red Cross union employees out of union coffers and through Progressive/Leftist donation campaigns out of a sense of egalitarian socialist solidarity for a non-profit public service of inestimable value, and they would agree to serve the Red Cross, and their fellow human beings for free, as the many tens of thousands of non-union Red Cross volunteers do every day.
But that’s not what the union bosses at the AFL-CIO and the WCBS or the pundits at the NCL are after. They want to achieve Progressive power and control over the nation’s blood supply and mandate artificially high wages and benefits, and union dues, that they can use to politic with and fund their own pet projects and perks. Union greed knows no bounds, particularly in the Age of Obama, where union bosses have the ear of the President and are granted boons like ownership of GM, while secured bond holders are defrauded, and Obama will no doubt “encourage” the FDA to further harass the Red Cross as a favor to the labor unions and other Progressive organizations..
Perhaps in response, the Red Cross should stop collecting blood entirely and let the AFL-CIO or the National Consumers League take over the task of providing non-profit life-saving blood collection and distribution.
Somehow I doubt the fat cats and pundits at the AFL-CIO, NCL or WCBS are willing to put their money or their morals where their big fat mouths are.
Nor do I want the labor unions in charge of the national blood supply. Do you?
© 2010 Altnews.