Teamsters Local No. 727 was awarded an arbitration win on behalf of the more than 500 Osco pharmacists it represents. Arbitrator Elliott H. Goldstein ordered Osco to “cease and desist from enforcing any requirement that staff or head pharmacists obtain outside flu clinics or leads for outside flu clinics” as part of their daily job responsibilities. The award would seem to dovetail with Illinois House Bill 2392 and the ordinance pending in Chicago’s City Council that calls for an overhaul of pharmacy work rules to prioritize customer/patient care.
“We’re extremely pleased that after careful review of the evidence along with testimony from one of our members that the arbitrator awarded in favor of the pharmacists,” said John Coli Jr., President of Local 727. “The award validates the fact that pharmacists ought to be performing patient-centric services rather than be engaged in marketing or acting as salespersons for the company.”
The grievance arose following the company’s email directive to pharmacists to “acquire a minimum of 2 NEW flu shot clinics/leads of at least 25 patients or more,” thus violating Section 2.10 of the collective bargaining agreement. The agreement specifically states that “the profession of pharmacy requires that the registered pharmacist devotes his time and attention to the duties involving his special training and expertise; namely, receiving, filling and refilling prescriptions, consulting with physicians, patients, maintaining records, ordering prescriptions, and other pharmaceutical items involving professional competence.”
Melissa Henry, an Osco pharmacy manager in Barrington, IL, testified that she had obtained outside flu clinic leads by searching directories, talking to coworkers who live in Barrington, and revisiting past leads. “This was valuable time wasted,” Henry said, “that could have been better spent doing my essential job duties, such as filling prescriptions and consulting with patients and their physicians.”
“I’m proud of Melissa and the courage she displayed by testifying,” Coli said. “It proves that the voice of the pharmacist, the person in the trenches, is crucial to winning these types of arbitrations. This win is another in a long line of wins the union has secured on behalf of our members, and we will continue to fight these non-pharmacy work requirements for as long as it takes to ensure better work conditions that benefit both pharmacists and their patients.”