(FORT WAYNE, Ind.)—American Red Cross mobile-unit and fixed-site staff throughout Indiana and Western Ohio have voted to ratify their first agreement as members of Teamsters Local 414.
The contract was unanimously ratified yesterday and covers approximately 150 employees. The Red Cross workers join the nearly 1,500 other Red Cross workers represented by the Teamsters from coast to coast.
“There were challenges when attempting to organize, but we stayed strong as a unit and now have a contract that we can be proud of. Moving forward, we are looking forward to a new partnership with management based on mutual respect,” said Sarah Hook, a Red Cross mobile collections staff member.
The Teamsters contract secures improvements to scheduling, seniority and working conditions. The agreement also includes increases to the minimum starting wage for all classifications, as well as instant raises for every existing member of the unit. The wage increases, which for some workers reached as high as 20 to 30 percent, with an average increase of 11 percent, were a direct result of organizing with the Teamsters.
Local 414 requested the help of the Teamsters headquarters in conducting wage studies in the region and were able to show Red Cross management that these workers deserved a fair wage for the critical work they put in every day.
“We won a contract that recognizes the valuable work these Red Cross employees provide. They are routinely one of the highest performing regions in the country, and they were vastly underpaid for a long time. We are proud to include them in the Teamsters,” said George Gerdes, Secretary-Treasurer of Local 414.
Local 414’s new members are also now a part of the Coalition of American Red Cross Unions, a group of nine unions—including the Teamsters—that fall under a national agreement which covers several big-ticket items, such as union-backed health insurance and yearly wage adjustments, while also partnering with executive-level Red Cross management to address issues such as safety procedures, scheduling initiatives and several labor-management partnerships designed to address local issues that may arise.
“We know that the American Red Cross does important work and we continue to show other Red Cross workers across the country the benefits that come from organizing with the Teamsters,” said Michael Filler, Director of the Teamsters Public Services Division. “We remain committed to organizing Red Cross across the country in an effort to ensure employees are respected and fairly compensated for the lifesaving work they do.”
Founded in 1903, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents 1.4 million hardworking men and women throughout the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. Visit www.teamster.org for more information. Follow us on Twitter @Teamsters and “like” us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/teamsters.