Workers: Red Cross mismanages blood

A man donates blood at a Red Cross tent.

by John Dimsdale

A group of union members and consumer advocates will charge the Red Cross with dozens of blood-safety problems this year. Union workers blame chronic understaffing and a lack of training.

Arlene Holt Baker at the AFL-CIO says the Red Cross has been cutting too many corners.

"They should be making sure they are adequately staffed with the professional staff they need at every level to insure that the blood is safe," she says.

The FDA reports no improvement in the Red Cross' safety record since the FDA's most recent report card last fall. The Red Cross says the new charges of mismanagement are really just part of ongoing labor negotiations.

Spokeswoman Stephanie Millian read from a statement issued late yesterday.

"Some of these unions are using a series of press conferences at different locations across the country as a negotiating tactic to try to gain leverage at the bargaining table," the statement reads.

Unions say nine local labor contracts are currently in negotiation with the Red Cross.

About the author

As head of Marketplace’s Washington, D.C. bureau, John Dimsdale provides insightful commentary on the intersection of government and money for the entire Marketplace portfolio.
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Red Cross was built on a vision to be the savor of lives. What a wounderful thought to bad they want to take health care away from their employee's where is the PPL in that(personel protective love). Oh ya they already took their Dental coverage in california. Well healthcare reform needs to start with the savoir of lives. Exposing your employees means exposing the public and there is no saving face from that.

Reports of this sort are not productive for anyone in the business of collecting blood products for people in need. Sadly, all too few people donate blood and with summer on the horizon there will be fewer blood drives held at universities, high schools and other larger venues.

Providing donors with a safe and meaningful experience is just one part of creating a life-long blood donor. As a regular platelet donor (twenty-four times per year), I know first hand how critical it is for those among us who are healthy to give to those in need.

ARC is, unfortunately, the most recognized name in blood services. However, there are hundreds of alternative blood centers available to those who want to help save a life.

I encourage anyone and everyone to explore options before deciding to give blood. Please don't evaluate the service and safety of all blood centers simply by the one organization which receives the overwhelming share of media coverage...both positive and negative.

I encourage everyone to donate blood and know you are helping to save the life of another person.


Patrick Fenton

If the red cross is saying that the nations blood supply has never been safer.....what do they say when they are no longer working under a FEDERAL CONSENT DECREE ... monitired by the FDA since 1993......

Problems? No problems at all if you think paying over $20MILLION in fines to the FDA is OK. And where did that $20Million come from?

Any half educated person knows that the Red Cross is secretly run by vampires descending from Vlad the Impaler in Transylvania. Ten percent of all donations go towards their empire of blood glutting vampirism with a little spent on suing Stephanie Myers for her defamation of vampires through Twilight.

Thank you for your interest. I want to assure you no one should hesitate to receive blood if they need it, or hesitate to give blood if they are able to do so. The American Red Cross blood supply is safer today than ever before, and we�re working hard to make it even safer. Our top priority is the safety of the patients who receive blood and the volunteers who give blood.

What exactly are the problems? Is it with donations, donors, blood products? Is it something I should be concerned about?

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