CEO of Illinois' Largest Blood Center Puts Workers' Livelihoods on the Line
ROSEMONT, Ill., June 9, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In order to cut costs at the largest blood center in Illinois, James "Jimbo" Covert, a former offensive tackle for the 1985 Super Bowl Champion Chicago Bears, is overseeing tentative plans to outsource the services of 60 employees at LifeSource's new multi-million dollar, state-of-the-art Rosemont facility.
Company-provided documents show that by eliminating its entire transportation workforce and hiring an outside operator, LifeSource would save $716,000 in direct costs annually. According to Form 990 tax documents, Covert earned nearly $700,000 in salary and other related compensation last year as president and CEO of the Institute for Transfusion Medicine (ITxM), LifeSource's parent company and one of the nation's foremost non-profit organizations specializing in transfusion medicine.
"Covert, ITxM and LifeSource want to save a few bucks by cutting corners, sacrificing quality, and ultimately, putting these workers' livelihoods on the line," said John Coli Jr., President of Teamsters Local 727, which represents the LifeSource drivers, Mobile Unit Assistants and Mobile Drive Coordinators whose jobs are in jeopardy. "They should take a hard look in the mirror. Is one executive's salary really equivalent to the families of 60 workers with decades of dedicated service?
According to its annual report, ITxM saw $176.6 million in revenue last year, including $13.2 million from LifeSource, which operates 18 donor centers, three mobile unit supported donor centers and conducts about 10 mobile blood drives each day. LifeSource also recently purchased its new building in Rosemont for $16.5 million, according to Crain's Chicago Business. That figure does not include the millions of dollars it cost to completely renovate the facility.
LifeSource's anti-union tactics are well-documented. During Teamsters Local 727's effort to organize more than 200 LifeSource phlebotomists earlier this year, Covert sent each phlebotomist a misleading letter about the union.
Meanwhile, Covert was a member of the NFL players' union as an offensive tackle for the Chicago Bears, and in January 2009, he was a finalist to become executive director of the NFL Players Association, the professional football players' labor union.
"Apparently, unions are good for millionaire football players, but they're not good for hardworking LifeSource employees," Coli said.
The union-represented LifeSource employees transport required supplies, equipment, blood products and samples to and from mobile sites. The job is physically demanding; workers are constantly on their feet and are required to lift, push and pull massive pieces of medical equipment up and down ramps and stairs. Teamsters Local 727 is in the midst of contract negotiations on behalf of the 60 workers, whose current three-year agreement expires July 1 — the same day LifeSource has tentatively scheduled to implement its outsourcing plan.
"Listed among the corporation's core values on its website are integrity, accountability, employees and commitment. Without question, this outsourcing plan is a direct contradiction of those values," Coli said. "Covert and LifeSource are sucking the lifeblood out of the Chicagoland community."
SOURCE Teamsters Local 727