• 64°

Labor troubles won’t affect red cross

A possible strike next week by some Red Cross employees in Huntington, W.

Tuesday, December 14, 1999

A possible strike next week by some Red Cross employees in Huntington, W.Va., should not affect hospital blood supplies or disaster services.

"We’ll be here 24 hours, seven days a week through the holidays," Lawrence County Red Cross coordinator Annabelle Jenkins said.

American Red Cross Blood Services, Greater Alleghenies Region, has received notices of intent to strike from the union representing its employees in the Tri-State, said Cheryl Gergely, supervisor of communications for Tri-State Regional Blood Services.

The blood services department, although part of Red Cross, is under a different administrative structure than the agency’s other departments serving military families and disaster victims, Mrs. Gergely said.

The notification indicated a strike would occur at 7 a.m. Dec. 16, if a settlement could not be reached on a collective bargaining agreement, she said.

"We are continuing negotiations, remaining optimistic and hopeful that we can get a contract agreeable to both sides ratified before that time," Mrs. Gergely said.

If a settlement is not reached, picketing might take place at the main office in Huntington, but not at local offices, Mrs. Jenkins said.

"Several fire departments have asked if fire victims will continue to be served in the event of a strike, and they will," she said. "This is not going to affect the local office at all."

Blood services employees made a verbal agreement that any strike activity would not interfere with such things as disaster services, Mrs. Jenkins added.

"Anything that is needed by fire departments or in case of a disaster, I will have at our office at 517 Park Ave.," she said.

In the event of a strike, hospitals will continue to receive the blood supplies they need to meet patient needs, Mrs. Gergely said.

"If it comes to pass, there are contingency plans to ensure all hospitals get their blood supplies," she said.