Red Cross to close numerous blood drive operations in Michigan

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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) Red Cross workers found out about the cuts at a meeting and some say they were blindsided.

"We pretty much lost our jobs come November obviously not what we expected we are all upset and devastated," said Brittany Tasior.

"It's very hard, it's very bittersweet, I have been here almost 33 years," said J. Orr.

The American Red Cross announced today it would limit it's mobile blood drive operations in the Great Lakes region, cutting 230 jobs in Lansing, Muskegon, Petoskey, Flint, Kalamazoo and Grand Rapids.
They said the decision was in response to an industry-wide decline in the demand for blood and part of an effort to consolidate to be more cost-effective.

The Red Cross says this will not affect the availability of blood, but some disagree.

"They say that it will not affect the hospitals, although I don't see how that's possible. They say they will be bringing in blood from out of state," said Lance Rhines.

Red Cross Union Rep. Lance Rhines tell me this won't take start until November, which gives workers time to try and rally support from the public.

"We are going to appeal to the community and the people of Michigan to impress upon the red cross how important it is to keep these jobs," said Rhines.

Some of the workers that will be fighting for their jobs aren't letting the announcement today bring down their spirits.

"I am in a position where I can retire, which is probably what I'll be forced to do, doesn't mean I won't support these people, this has been my family for 33 years," said J. Orr.

"I hope that we can fight and we can all keep our jobs because it's our livelihood our income gotta stay afloat," said Brittany Tasior.

Starting in November the American Red Cross will be limiting its blood collection sites to only three locations in Michigan.

They will be closing down mobile collection centers in Lansing, Flint, Muskegon, Petoskey, Kalamazoo, and Kentwood/Grand Rapids.

They will still be collecting blood at two fixed locations in Lansing, Flint, and another location in the Detroit area.

With the closure of numerous locations, Red Cross will be eliminating over 230 employees, leaving around 30 active employees.