In these tough economic times, the Connecticut chapters of the Red Cross have to focus on what they do best: blood donation, disaster services and health and safety training.
“We in Connecticut are looking for ways to make the best use of the donated dollar,” said Paul Shipman, spokesman for the Connecticut Red Cross.
Other services, like food banks and medical transports, will have to be cut in some areas.
The Red Cross branch in Wallingford will be shutting down at the end of August, and local residents will have to rely on the New Haven branch for their Red Cross needs.
“We’ve been working with other community providers for those kinds of services to make sure our clients have other options,” said Shipman.
The Red Cross is also reorganizing seven of its ten chapters. They will work as one larger chapter, called the Connecticut Region Chapter, and will pool their resources to better serve Connecticut. They aren’t expecting any layoffs.
“We’re just working to make sure in a tough economy, when someone makes a very difficult choice to donate their hard earned dollar to the Red Cross that it’s going to the best and highest possible use. So we’re trying to be very efficient,” said Shipman.
But at the same time the Red Cross is reorganizing, it’s also dealing with contract negotiations.
Outside the Farmington location, blood drive workers held an informational protest to ask the Red Cross for a better contract.
“These are the people who protect the quality, the integrity and the safety of the blood supply, so we feel it’s very important for the Red Cross to come to the table to reach a fair agreement to protect the donors and workers alike,” said Larry Dorman, spokesman for Council 4 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.
The Red Cross says it is negotiating with the union, and it has an upcoming negotiation session scheduled. It also hopes to have a contract in place for its blood drive employees.