Blood and Justice: Red Cross Nurses on Strike
[Excerpt] For 10 days in April 1987 the nurses who draw blood at Red Cross blood centers in Los Angeles and Orange counties were on strike. Try to picture their situation: These were 225 workers who are spread out at 30 different worksites covering 9,000 square miles. To conduct a membership meeting required strikers to drive as much as two hours. Besides being geographically dispersed, the workforce is divided between Registered Nurses (RNs) and Licensed Vocational Nurses (LVNs), whose status and salaries were grossly disproportionate. And who were they on strike against? Not arrogant, greedy corporations like GE and USX, whose only purpose in life is to make more money this year than last? No, they were on strike against the Red Cross — an international symbol of nonpartisan humanitarianism. And the key to the strike was to dry up Red Cross' blood supply, upon which 200 hospitals depend. How easy could it be for editorial cartoonists to depict the nurses as vampires sucking the blood out of Los Angeles! Any labor leader in her right mind would understand immediately that this was a strike that could not be won. But it was won, and the sisterhood that made it possible should be an inspiration to a labor movement that is struggling to renew itself.
Labor Research Review
Volume & Issue:
Vol. 1, Num. 11
nurses; strike; Red Cross