Hundreds of people who work for the American Red Cross here in Michigan are losing their jobs.
Officials from the American Red Cross say they need to cut two hundred jobs. They’re calling this a tentative decision as they cut back on hosting mobile blood drives.
A few Red Cross employees who want to remain anonymous say that they feel blindsided by this decision and are willing to do whatever it takes to keep their jobs.
Sparrow Hospital officials were also surprised by the news today, with the Red Cross being its main blood supplier.
“Our blood right now all comes from the Red Cross,” said Jon Baker, the Director of Laboratories at Sparrow Hospital.
Baker says he was surprised when he heard the American Red Cross will tentatively limit mobile blood drives across the state.
“We have a lot of questions at this point as we indicated, we’re just learning about that this morning ourselves,” said Baker.
This decision stems from a nationwide decline in demand for blood products.
“As new evidence comes out, we’re able to treat patients with less blood transfusions,” said Baker.
The sites in Lansing and Flint will remain open for collections, but Red Cross officials say keeping the mobile blood drives going is just too expensive.
As a result of these closings, over two hundred employees will lose their jobs in the Red Cross Great Lakes Region.
The organization issued a statement today that says in part, “We deeply regret this loss of jobs and are committed to doing the most we can to help make this proposed transition as smooth as possible.”
Baker says with this announcement being fresh, he wants to know if this will impact delivery to Sparrow and which products will still be available.
“Most of these questions revolve around our ability to maintain an adequate supply of blood and blood products immediately available for our patients,” said Baker.
But he says despite this, he has hope that sparrow will still receive all of the blood they need.
“We have a fairly high level of confidence that even given these changes that the Red Cross will be able to continue to meet our supply,” said Baker.
The Red Cross employees who we spoke with today say the union is currently working to see if this tentative decision can be reversed.
But in the meantime, they’re going to start looking for jobs somewhere else.
The American Red Cross is cutting approximately 230 jobs in the Great Lakes Blood Service Region.
That announcement came in a statement released this morning.
The cuts are tied to a decision to cut back operations, primarily mobile blood drives, beginning in November.
Those cuts will come from the Blood Region that includes Lansing, Muskegon, Petoskey, Flint, Kalamazoo and Kentwood/Grand Rapids.
The Red Cross said the changes will not affect the blood availability in Michigan.
This story is developing and will be updated online and on 6 News.