Interfaith Worker Justice
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Red Cross Blood Drives - Questions to Ask

IWJ has published a "Congregational Guide for Red Cross Blood Drives" that your congregation can download if you are planning to host a blood donation drive. We are asking that congregations and faith communities sign-on to the Red Cross pledge to demonstrate their solidarity with Red Cross workers who are engaged in contentious organizing and contract campaigns with the American Red Cross.

The American Red Cross oversees nearly half of the nation's blood supply. The Red Cross Biomedical Division generates more than $2 billion a year in revenues through the sale of blood and blood products, critical for those who face medical emergencies or chronic medical conditions.

Although Red Cross is a highly valued partner for many communities because of its role providing disaster relief, the Red Cross Biomedical Division has a troubled labor relations history. Most recently, in June 2010, over 1000 American Red Cross workers in New York, Connecticut, Ohio, Michigan, West Virginia and California went on strike to protest unfair labor practice charges arising from collective bargaining issues. Red Cross is currently facing trials over these unfair labor practices in multiple states.

The Biomedical Division has also struggled with persistent blood safety compliance problems. For 17 years, Red Cross has operated under a Federal Consent Decree for recurring violations of blood safety procedures at it blood collection operations. Since 2003, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has fined Red Cross $37 million for these violations, including a $16 million fine in June, 2010.

If you want more information on how your congregation can assist American Red Cross workers, please e-mail Honna Eichler at Interfaith Worker Justice. More information is also available here.

Click here to download a pdf of the Congregational Guide for Red Cross Blood Drives. It includes 10 questions that we suggest you ask the American Red Cross before your faith community hosts a blood drive.

Please sign the Red Cross pledge. It is on the last page of the Congregational Guide for Red Cross Blood Drives and is also available online here.