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Red Cross workers in Pleasanton vote to unionize

Local employees now under Teamsters' national contract
Phlebotomist Faith Rimando poses at the Red Cross facility in Pleasanton.

Pleasanton's Red Cross collections workers joined a number of their colleagues across the nation in unionizing, with a national contract between the Teamsters Union and Red Cross already in effect and bargaining for a supplemental agreement for the local facility on the horizon.

The move came on the heels of the same decision by neighboring collections workers in Newark, with both groups now represented by the Teamsters Local 856 as of Oct. 23, bringing the number of unionized American Red Cross collections workers up to nearly 2,000 employees.

"We are thrilled to welcome another group of American Red Cross workers to the Teamsters," said Peter Finn, Teamsters Western Region international vice president and secretary-treasurer of Local 856. "These workers play a pivotal role in the blood supply chain and are deserving of the protections of a strong union contract. We're looking forward to getting to work on securing this group a superior supplement."

The national contract between the Teamsters and the Red Cross was ratified last year, with hundreds of workers throughout the country voting to join their local unions since then, including those in Oakland as of Nov. 6.

"Thanks to our national agreement, which the staff is immediately covered under, Red Cross workers who join the Teamsters have access to the same high-quality care that they provide -- at a fraction of the cost compared to their non-union counterparts," Teamsters spokesperson Matthew McQuaid said. "It also includes annual wage increases, health care at a fraction of the cost of what non-union workers pay, paid sick leave, seniority, protections against unjust discipline and termination."

While the national contract is already in place, McQuaid said that bargaining for a supplemental agreement specific to the Pleasanton facility would kick off at a later date.

"I supported forming a union with the Teamsters because I want to see change in the workplace and I want our voices to be heard," said Faith Rimando , a collections phlebotomist at American Red Cross in Pleasanton.

Local and national American Red Cross spokespeople did not respond to requests for comment.


About the Author: Jeanita Lyman

Jeanita joined the Pleasanton Weekly in September 2020 and covers the Danville and San Ramon beat. She studied journalism at Skyline College and Mills College while covering the Peninsula for the San Mateo Daily Journal, returning to the area in 2013.
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