Red Cross has a change of heart to closing mobile blood drive units

Genesee County (WJRT) (10/10/2018) - There’s a change of heart for the Michigan Red Cross.

In August Red Cross told their workers of a statewide end to mobile blood drives.

ABC 12 has received a copy of an internal email that confirms that the Red Cross will, in fact, continue holding those drives in the Great Lakes Region and Southeast Michigan Blood Services.

To make this happen changes are coming.

"It creates hope that we will be able to help other people,” Christie Hansard said.

Hansard as a former E.R. nurse witnessed the importance of having blood ready.

That's why she puts on mobile blood drives on at Faith Lutheran Church.

"I mean we will lose lives if blood isn't there then there is only so much we can do with the resources we have,” Hansard said.

She was thrilled to hear that they'll be able to continue with the mobile blood drives at the church.

"We have one every other month here, and we have lots of people that come from the community and want to help their neighbors when they are in need,” she said.

In August, The Red Cross announced the elimination of 230 jobs tied to blood drives.

ABC 12 received an internal email sent to a worker, similar to an email that was sent to other employee’s outlining the changes.

It reads in part "As of 4 pm yesterday I was asked to confirm drivers for the remainder of the 2018 calendar year, and the 2019 year will be re-opened in weeks to come."

Carolyn Clarke donates as often as she can give when there's a mobile drive going on nearby.

"It's really helpful to be able to come to wherever the mobile units are going,” Clarke said.

American Red Cross spokesperson Todd Kulman says they've reached an agreement with one of the Unions that represents the majority of staff at Great Lakes Blood Services.

He says they're working towards a new structure on blood collections.

Kulman says other changes include the focus on Biomedical Services and as part of the transition approximately 50 employee positions will be eliminated.

Also, as part of the restructuring, mobile collections in Petoskey will be suspended on November 8th.

Kulman says they're also still in the bargaining process with the Teamsters and AFSCME.