Unionized workers at the American Red Cross (ARC) represented by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters voted to ratify a new contract with the ARC.
The contract, which was approved by 93% of those voting, allows members to retain their current health plan, which was a bone of contention during the negotiations. It also provides increased wages (3% annually) and paid days off, better family leave and scheduling policies and higher safety and health standards.
The new contract covers more than 1,600 workers in a variety of roles, including blood collection and transportation, and will remain in effect until 2024. While a few local unions are still negotiating, they are expected to ratify supplemental agreements within three months. The national agreement will go into effect when the last of the local unions have ratified their agreements.
The new agreement comes at a time when, after decades of decline, interest and enrollments in unions are showing signs of uptick, especially among younger workers. The current agreement between the Teamsters and the ARC might enable further organization activities. “We now have united contract expiration dates to give local unions greater bargaining power and we retained our neutrality language to organize more locations,” Teamsters General President Sean M. O’Brien said via a statement. “This agreement is a blueprint for the future.”
Workers at the ARC have been affiliated with the Teamsters since July 31, 2015, when members entered into a collective bargaining agreement with eight unions, including the American Federation of Teachers; the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees; Communications Workers of America; International Brotherhood of Teamsters; Service Employees International Union; United Auto Workers; United Food and Commercial Workers Union; and United Steelworkers.
Separately, the ARC and the Coalition of Red Cross Unions have tentatively agreed on a contract which would hold through December 2024. Coalition unions at the local level must still ratify their contracts, as well as the national agreement: the ARC and the Coalition have agreed to a short-term contract extension that will last until Sept. 15. The Coalition represents roughly 3,300 workers within the organization’s blood collection and distribution operations.
“The tentative agreement is the result of many months of good-faith bargaining by both parties and delivers on our mutual goal with the Coalition to find a health care solution to ensure that Coalition-represented employees and their families continue to have access to affordable, quality, and stable health care benefits,” an ARC spokesperson wrote in a statement to The NonProfit Times.