Employees of the American Red Cross could walk off the job at the end of the month.
The local Teamsters Union has given the Red Cross a 10-day notice of its intent to strike.
Workers held an “informational rally” to bring awareness of the current working conditions on Sunday.
Twenty to 30 people stood outside the donor center on Forest Avenue in Portland holding signs that say “Stop bleeding your workers.”
A union representative, Joe Piccone, said there are days when there are four blood drives scheduled throughout the state and a lot of times half will be canceled due to staffing issues. Piccone said the Red Cross is losing donors because it’s so short staffed.
“So, what happens is they’ll cancel two of those drives because of staffing and then they claim there’s a blood shortage. You need the donors. The donors aren’t the issue, we’re not providing the labor,” he said.
Mary Bryant, the regional communications manager for the New England area, said, “The Red Cross has a longstanding history of working together with our labor partners to solve complex problems and remain committed to negotiating in good faith to reach the best possible agreement for both the organization and our valued employees. We recognize that contract negotiations are often passionate, and informational picketing may take place as part of the bargaining process. The Red Cross greatly values its employees whose compassion and hard work help those in need each day. We remain focused on delivering our mission for patients across the country who rely on us to provide lifesaving blood products.”