While the Teamsters Local 727 Bargaining Committee presented proposals to address safety concerns through improved working conditions, more technician hours and increased overlap, CVS management demanded across-the-board cuts to pharmacists’ benefits with diminished protections as contract negotiations opened on March 24.
The company claims its unreasonable proposals — such as mandatory 14-hour shifts; slashing pharmacists’ vacation, holiday and overtime pay; removal of holiday work hour restrictions; and elimination of Local 727 Optical and Legal & Educational Assistance Benefits — are more “in line with CVS policy” and allow for more “flexible scheduling.”
“What this company calls ‘flexible,’ our pharmacists call dangerous and draconian,” said John Coli Jr., President of Local 727 and Lead Negotiator for the Union Bargaining Committee. “Not a single one of their ridiculous proposals serves to benefit the professional pharmacists who are the face and lifeblood of their company.”
Meanwhile, the union’s initial contract offer — which is based on member demands gathered by the union via pharmacy visits, demands meetings at the union hall and online submissions — includes, but is not limited to, the following proposals:
- No pharmacist shall be on duty without at least one pharmacy technician on duty and shall have one pharmacy tech hour for every eight scripts filled
- Classification of regular full-time employees as those who work 30 or more hours per week
- Maintenance of nine-hour work days
- Stricter language to ensure pharmacists’ uninterrupted breaks and meal periods
- Additional paid holidays
- Maintenance of the Local 727 Optical Plan (VSP)
- Maintenance of the Local 727 Legal & Educational Assistance Benefit
- Creation of geographic clusters for floaters
- Pharmacists shall not be disciplined based on poor metrics or test scores
“Dwindling tech hours is the top issue facing our members. Without adequate tech help, our pharmacists are forced to take on more and more duties. Simply put, they’re overworked and understaffed,” Coli said. “Plus, when pharmacists are overworked and not given thoughtful breaks — be they during shifts or during their vacation, sick or personal leave — this can affect their performance and overall well-being. All of these factors can ultimately impact patient safety.”
Additionally, CVS management is demanding to remove pharmacy managers (PICs) from the bargaining unit.
“The union will never, ever concede to that,” Coli said.
Negotiations are scheduled to resume April 7, with additional meetings set for April 8, April 12 and April 13. The current three-year contract covering about 150 CVS pharmacists expires May 7, 2016.
If you have questions, contact your Local 727 business representative, Melissa Senatore, at (847) 696-7500 or [email protected]g.
Throughout negotiations, Local 727 will provide pharmacists with timely bargaining updates via email blasts, CVSTeamsters.com and TeamstersLocal727.org. To receive updates in your email inbox, contact Communications Director Maggie Jenkins at [email protected].
Vote for Your Contract!
All CVS pharmacist members are reminded that they must complete an official Teamsters Local 727 union membership application in order to be eligible to vote for a new contract. To receive an application or to find out if the union already has one on file for you, please contact Local 727 Business Representative Melissa Senatore at (847) 696-7500 or [email protected].