American Red Cross mobile-unit and fixed-site staff throughout Indiana and Western Ohio recently voted to ratify their first agreement as members of Local 414 in Fort Wayne, Ind. The contract was unanimously ratified and covers approximately 150 workers. They join 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.
“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,” 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.