Teamsters Local 727 continued its efforts to inform the public of the safety risks associated with CVS management’s mistreatment of overworked and understaffed pharmacists as union representatives participated in an informational picket outside Chicago-area pharmacies on July 15.
The Teamsters Local 727 Bargaining Committee and CVS management are scheduled to resume negotiations July 20 and July 21.
“The public needs to know what their CVS pharmacists are up against and how it can impact customer safety,” said John Coli Jr., President of Local 727. “Pharmacists are constantly given more work with less help and little down time during their long and demanding shifts. And as we have for months, we are once again calling on CVS management to let pharmacists return their full focus to taking care of their customers.”
The three-year contract covering about 150 Chicago-area CVS pharmacists expired May 7. The Local 727 Bargaining Committee and CVS management have met twice since the expiration, and the company has made little movement to address “quality of life” concerns, such as uninterrupted breaks, reasonable workday rules and elimination of excessive tasks that take away from pharmacists’ primary job responsibilities.
Instead, the company is still demanding that pharmacists work 12-hour shifts without allowing them the time and support they need to complete their ever-growing list of daily tasks.
“Time and again, we have made it clear what the pharmacists want from management: to let them be pharmacists, to let them do the job they love and were trained to do. They want to serve their patients, they want to help grow the business, but they need the support to do it,” Coli said. “We hope CVS management is finally ready to listen and to take action to address pharmacists’ concerns so we can reach a fair agreement.”
During the last negotiation meeting on May 26, CVS management finally responded to the union’s previous economic proposal by adding just 15 cents to the company’s own meager proposal for 1 percent wage increases. That shallow movement still leaves CVS pharmacists earning less than Local 727-represented pharmacists with Jewel-Osco.
The company also has reiterated its desire to establish new holiday work restrictions and cut store and work hours overall as CVS sees fit. Management told the union it would be interested in reviewing workplace conditions and discussing them with Local 727 but only after the company was able to implement 12-hour work schedules at area pharmacies.
REMEMBER: Under federal law, CVS may not change the status quo of any working condition during bargaining even though the contract has expired.
Have You Signed the Petition?
When contract negotiations resume next week, the Local 727 Bargaining Committee will present to CVS management a petition from pharmacists, who are calling on the company to reach a fair agreement on a new contract.
Local 727 business representative Melissa Senatore will continue to visit CVS stores to gather pharmacists’ signatures. CVS pharmacists also can sign the petition online at http://tiny.cc/CVSpetition.
If you have questions, contact your Local 727 business representative, Melissa Senatore, at (847) 696-7500 or [email protected].