FARMINGTON, Conn. (AP) _ The American Red Cross says about 200 union workers at its blood services division in Connecticut have gone on strike after negotiations failed to bring about a new contract.

Spokeswoman Donna M. Morrissey says the strike by phlebotomists, nurses, lab technicians and others began at 12:01 a.m. Thursday. The workers are represented by Local 3145 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. The workers’ last contract expired in March 2009.

Morrissey says the issues include wages and health care benefits. She says the two sides met on Wednesday night but could not reach a tentative agreement.

A spokesman for Local 3145’s parent union, AFSME Council 4, didn’t immediately return a telephone call seeking comment early Thursday.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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