San Diego

San Diego Red Cross workers rally for better wages, health benefits

“Because of the low wages, more and more staff are leaving Red Cross,” mentioned Richard Feria, with SEIU, Local 221.

SAN DIEGO — Red Cross workers in San Diego and throughout the nation held rallies Monday to protest what they’re calling unfair work situations, together with low pay. Some workers say the group isn’t solely dropping staff, however they can not retain them.

“We work hard. We provide an invaluable service and it’s time the Red Cross respects that with not just words but with action,” mentioned Robert Feria, with SEIU, Local 221.

Monday’s rally exterior the Red Cross Donor Center in Kearny Mesa comes as either side have been making an attempt to barter for months.

The primary concern for San Diego workers? They’re not being paid as a lot as these in numerous areas.

“I was told that this job paid $3 more than I’m currently getting paid an hour, and that’s how much they offer in Los Angeles and it seems kinda odd that because of where I live, I’m getting the short end of the stick,” mentioned new hire, Joshua Wilder.

The staff who rallied symbolize those that assist with neighborhood blood drives. They declare to be getting paid between $18 and $19.50 an hour-an enhance in comparison with what it was earlier than the pandemic, however nonetheless not sufficient.

“Cost of living going up. We have inflation of over 8% in March and it’s just not sustainable,” mentioned Feria.

As a outcome, SEIU Local 221, which represents the staff, says persons are quitting to go elsewhere, inflicting a staffing scarcity, which can finally impression how a lot blood they’re in a position to gather.

“Half of the staff have come in the last six months, and during that six month time some staff have come and gone,” mentioned Feria.

The union says veteran workers have left as nicely as a result of they’re being paid the identical as new hires.

“People who’ve devoted their lives to Red Cross, who’ve spent years if not many years with Red Cross, are nonetheless making the identical wages as somebody mainly strolling within the door,” mentioned Feria.

The union declined to offer specifics however mentioned it is asking for wages that enhance year to year. In addition, in addition they need the healthcare plan to stay the identical versus a brand new one that will wind up costing staff extra.

In a press release, a spokesperson for the Red Cross mentioned:

“The American Red Cross has been in negotiations with its union members for the previous a number of months to debate wages, health care and different points, and is working to succeed in the very best settlement for each our group, our valued staff, and the sufferers we serve. The Red Cross has a longstanding historical past of working along with our labor companions to unravel complicated issues, and stays dedicated to negotiating in good religion to succeed in the most effective final result for all events. Our present contract extension with the Coalition of Red Cross Unions expires May 31.

 We acknowledge that informational picketing, rallies, media outreach, and different actions happen as a part of the bargaining course of – particularly main as much as the top of a contract. The Red Cross respects the rights of our staff to interact in legally protected exercise.

 The Red Cross drastically values its staff whose compassion and exhausting work assist these in want every day. We stay dedicated to offering our Red Cross staff throughout the nation with aggressive wages, benefits and dealing situations, together with health care. To this finish, we’ve got offered mutually helpful proposals, and supplied alternatives to extend wages and guarantee high quality reasonably priced health care benefits. We proceed to barter with the intent to succeed in a good and amicable settlement.

At the identical time, the Red Cross will proceed to concentrate on delivering our mission for sufferers throughout the nation who depend on us every day to offer lifesaving blood; whereas we skilled a nationwide blood scarcity simply a few months in the past, we presently have a ample provide of blood on the cabinets to help sufferers in want.”

WATCH RELATED: Helping our neighbors in want | CBS 8/San Diego Blood Bank Blood Drive (April 2022):

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