Vitalant Drivers and Mobile Unit Assistants Continue to Serve the Community Through the Pandemic

| August 28, 2020

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Teamsters Local 727 members who work as Distribution Drivers and Mobile Unit Assistants (MUA) at Vitalant in Rosemont have continued to work day-in and day-out, ensuring that the blood donated at one of Vitalant’s twenty Chicagoland donor centers is safely delivered to its next destination.  After a donor generously gives blood, the hard work of the Drivers and MUA begins. MUAs ensure that the blood is properly preserved and transported safely to its destination. Once the blood is received at the Rosemont facility for processing, it is separated into transfusable components such as red cells, platelets, and plasma before being transported again to hospitals, medical centers, and other locations throughout the Chicagoland area and suburbs.

At the start of the pandemic, many MUAs were impacted by the sudden closure of office buildings, schools, churches, and the limits on public gathering under the Governor’s stay-at-home order.  Local 727 representatives acted quickly and were able to reach an understanding with Vitalant that kept all MUAs on payroll.  Per the agreement, MUAs were to work at least one day per week which allowed them to preserve their eligibility for full unemployment benefits while maintaining healthcare benefits.  As a result of 727’s swift and prudent actions, no MUA has lost healthcare coverage to date.

This past month, the Union and the Company reached another understanding regarding MUA members.  Because their traditional duties continue to be disrupted by fallout from COVID-19, MUAs will temporarily perform work outside of their normal duties and will assist with tasks at donor centers.  Because of this temporary change, MUAs are now able to work up to 30 hours per week!  Local 727 representatives will continue to work with the Company on behalf of all Vitalant members, with the ultimate goal of the weekly hours continuing to increase beyond current levels.

Although the pandemic has affected day-to-day operations and the ways in which the Distribution Drivers interact with the public and each other, these members have been able to maintain their pre-COVID schedules and continue to service thirteen nearby hospitals around-the-clock. Whether the Drivers are delivering a “stat” which requires a blood delivery within a one or two hour timeframe, or making a routine stop which requires delivery within six hours, these 727 members play a vital role in supporting northern Illinois hospitals and the public at large.

“The essential services that our Vitalant members provide to the community are quite literally life-saving, and we will continue to ensure that they are treated fairly, compensated properly, and are able to maintain healthcare for themselves and their families at a time when that is more important than ever.  We are proud of the work that these members do and proud that they are part of our Local 727 family,” said John Coli, Jr. Secretary Treasurer of Local 727.

Questions or concerns should be directed to Business Agent Nicholas Micaletti at (847) 696-7500.   

If you have any questions or concerns you can reach Nicholas Micaletti at 847-696-7500 or [email protected]

Nothing in this article should be read as the union’s waiver of any legal argument, position or grievance(s), or as a waiver of any rights, arguments, or defenses under any contract, collective bargaining agreement, or applicable law. The union does not forfeit its right to make any and all supplemental arguments.


Category: Union News, Vitalant

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