American Red Cross Employees Set to Strike

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Two hundred and fifty employees at the Great Lakes Regional Blood Center are currently working without a contract. They've given the Red Cross a 72 hour strike notice and talks are going down to the wire Friday night.

Healthcare is the issue leading the talks. Since 1995, nurses, blood technicians, lab employees and distributors have been paying $25 a month for coverage. Now, management wants to increase the monthly payment to $150 because of rising premium costs.

Jeffrey Fleming, OPEIU Local 459 President, says employees are willing to look at other ways to control costs, but management has only suggested the increase and that is not acceptable.

Fred Sterns, Great Lakes Regional Blood CEO, says it's time to share the burden of health care cost and not shift all the burden on the customers.

The blood center supplies 80 hospitals throughout the state. News Ten spoke with several local hospitals and all in the mid-Michigan area say they are prepared if employees decide to strike.

Employees say they will strike if an agreement is not reached by midnight on Friday.