Osco Continues Down Same Tired Road During October 15 Bargaining Session

| October 23, 2020

Teamsters Local 727 and Osco Drug, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Albertsons, met on Thursday, October 15th and resumed bargaining in a federally mediated session. Minimal movement was made around wages and scheduling. Osco continued down the same tired road by packaging proposals with a drastically reduced new hire rate, expanding 12-hour shift stores to another 50 stores, and increasing health care contribution costs as the coronavirus pandemic hits its second wave. Adding insult to injury, Osco continues to ask pharmacists to make major concessions while the Company experiences soaring profits. The Union bargaining committee stood firm with its proposals which are based on security, fairness, and safety.

The Union bargaining committee started off the day by reintroducing a comprehensive proposal to forgo the new hire rate in exchange for the Union withdrawing its proposals surrounding non-economic protections for current pharmacists. Once again, Osco flat out rejected the Union’s proposals. Osco’s first and only proposal of the day did not come close to addressing the major concerns of the Union bargaining committee. In typical fashion, Osco packaged a proposal with meager increases to the lump sums upon ratification. The Company’s package also included language regarding scheduling for undistributed pharmacists. The proposal would allow for floater pharmacists to make 7 requests per year for an off day during the week, not to exceed 5 days approved. This language was derived from a proposal the Union had previously submitted and would codify a practice the company claims it is doing already. These “concessions” were packaged with the same take backs the Union has fended off for more than a dozen sessions: 12-hour store expansion, health care increases, and a lower new hire rate.

The Union agreed again to the lump sum increases for full time pharmacists upon ratification and agreed to the slight modifications to the floater pharmacists scheduling language. The Teamsters Local 727 bargaining committee resubmitted the mutual withdrawal package along with modifications to Articles 3.1 which safeguards against a 12-hour shift expansion. The session ended with the ball in Osco’s court.

At a caucus during negotiations, the Union submitted an information request to Osco regarding COVID-19 exposure at a union store pharmacy. Concerned for the safety of pharmacists and the public, the Union demanded, in detail, what remedial actions the Company took to mitigate exposure, sanitize the pharmacy, protect pharmacists, and utilize contact tracing beyond the pharmacy. As the coronavirus pandemic has killed over 200,000 people in the United States and Teamsters Local 727 pharmacists are on the frontline, the Union requested that the Company produce the information within 7 days. Due to the gravity of the situation, this is not an unreasonable deadline. Instead of agreeing to meet the deadline, Osco informed the Union that it may not have the information on time. At the time of publishing this story, the Union has yet to receive any item of the information request.

“Osco’s response to the Union’s information request is callous,” said John Coli Jr., Secretary Treasurer of Teamsters Local 727. “This is critical information, and the Company should have it readily available at their fingertips. What Osco management does to protect their frontline, essential pharmacists during this worldwide health pandemic could be the difference between life and death. Whether it’s at the bargaining table, in the pharmacies, or with simple requests for information, there is no transparency. It’s one thing to withhold information at the bargaining table because it makes them feel big, it’s another not to provide information about health and safety measures. It’s not only stupid, it’s potentially life-threatening. Nevertheless, we will continue on negotiating in good faith, eagerly awaiting Osco to join us.”

Under federal law, Osco must maintain the status quo while the parties continue negotiations for a new CBA. The Company is prohibited by federal law from increasing health insurance premiums, expanding 12-hour shifts, introducing a two-tier wage system, or making any other change to an employee’s terms or conditions of employment during negotiations.

Members with questions should reach out to Local 727 Business Representative Sean McGough at (847) 696-7500 or [email protected].

Nothing in this article should be read as the union’s waiver of any legal argument, position or grievance(s), or as a waiver of any rights, arguments, or defenses under any contract, collective bargaining agreement, or applicable law. The union does not forfeit its right to make any and all supplemental arguments.


Category: Osco, PHARMACY, Union News

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