The Teamsters Local 727 Bargaining Committee offered to enter mediation with Osco management after the company did not mirror the major movement by the union on the final scheduled day of bargaining Friday.
“Honestly, we weren’t progressing the way we hoped we would after we dropped all of our proposals for just the core issues this morning,” said John T. Coli, Secretary-Treasurer of Local 727. “Given management’s lack of significant movement and their refusal to even provide proposals on their health care, I don’t know what else we can do. So perhaps mediation will be useful.”
“I feel that we have given them everything we could, and they came back with a disappointing response,” said pharmacist steward Larry Harmon, a Bargaining Committee member and the most senior member of the bargaining unit. “It’s beyond frustrating.”
The union will contact the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Services on Monday to begin the process of scheduling mediation sessions with Osco management.
As negotiations continued into the night Friday, the Local 727 Bargaining Committee continued to push for improved wages, benefits and working conditions for Osco pharmacists.
The Local 727 Bargaining Committee proposed the same 401(k) contributions and health and welfare rates, premiums and overall health care language protections as outlined in the newly negotiated contract for Jewel-Osco warehouse and transportation workers represented by Teamsters Local 710.
Earlier this year, the union learned that management has been forcing pharmacists to pay more than other Jewel-Osco employees for the identical health insurance.
The company rejected the proposal, explaining that it sets the health insurance rates “to be competitive within the industry employees are in.”
“The company sees nothing wrong with charging pharmacists more for the same exact health care, and the union strongly disagrees,” Coli said.
Meanwhile, after more than 12 hours of negotiations on the last scheduled day, Osco management still did not present any specific proposals on health care rates, premiums or coverage plans.
The Local 727 Bargaining Committee is still standing strong on a number of other proposals relating to tech hours/overlap, floaters’ geographic restrictions and part-timer working hours and seniority.
The current three-year contract covering about 500 Chicago-area Osco pharmacists expires May 7.
If you have questions, contact your Local 727 business representative, Zach Frankenbach, at (847) 696-7500 or [email protected]