Area Red Cross worker says she was fired for driving kids home - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Area Red Cross worker says she was fired for driving kids home

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DUBUQUE (KWWL) -

Desiree Pope says she is a devoted blood technician, but she recently got fired from her job with the American Red Cross.

"It makes me sad...I loved going out and doing this for the community, and helping save lives every day. All I ever wanted was put on scrubs, go to work and make a difference," she said.

She was let go after she gave a ride home to two Dubuque kids in the company car." On Friday February 3rd, I was on my way home from a mobile and I seen two little boys who turned out to be 7 and 9 (years old) walking alone in the dark," she added.

The boys were walking along West 17th and West Locust streets. Pope says she was worried about them because it isn't the safest neighborhood. "My heart went out to them."

Pope says she felt she was doing something within the mission of what the Red Cross is supposed to represent, but says the organization doesn't see it that way. 

In an email exchange provided to KWWL by Pope, managers tell her "they were unauthorized passengers. That could have created a huge liability for the Red Cross."

They also say it was a breach of the fleet policy.

Pope says they give donors rides in the company cars all the time, so there's no difference to insurance companies regarding liability.

Her AFSCME union rep says the termination wasn't justified. "We think the Red Cross should recognize its mission, recognize that they made a bad decision in this instance and return Desiree to work," said Neil Rainford.

They say the Red Cross is unwilling to discuss Desiree returning to work, although the union has reached out multiple times to negotiate or seek an arbitrator to help settle the matter. 

Pope says if she doesn't get her job back, she'll have no choice but to move on but ultimately that's what she wants. 

In a statement, a spokesperson for the American Red Cross tells us, "While the Red Cross does not comment on personnel matters, we can confirm the person in question is a former employee. The Red Cross strives to treat our employees fairly and with respect. Employment decisions are always heavily considered with all pertinent facts taken into account."

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