Teamsters Local 727 Successful in Demanding That Osco Do More for Its Frontline Pharmacists

| March 24, 2020

Last week, Osco Pharmacists across Chicagoland informed the Union that they were not receiving proper staffing, personal protective equipment, or communication from their employer during this global pandemic. Despite this, the pharmacists represented by Teamsters Local 727, bravely continued to do the invaluable job of filling vital prescriptions, providing necessary consultation, administering vaccinations, and performing countless other tasks to ensure that Osco pharmacies operates safely (this includes interacting with vulnerable populations over the age of 60 and with underlying conditions). In fact, Union represented pharmacists reported that they were told to “remove” masks employees had been wearing while interacting with the public.

In hearing this, Teamsters Local 727 immediately moved into action and filed a grievance against Osco Drug, a subsidiary of Albertsons Companies, as a result of the Company’s delay in taking steps to provide a clean and safe work environment for pharmacists during a global pandemic.  The Union’s grievance demanded that Osco immediately do more to protect pharmacists from exposure. Additionally, the Union will be filing an OSHA complaint today due to the Company’s failure to provide appropriate PPE to pharmacists.

The Union’s efforts and demands were successful as Osco heard the demands, and recently installed sneeze guards in all pharmacies covered by the Union contract. Osco has also drastically increased its communication to frontline employees and the Union so that both can keep members up to date during this uncertain time. Additionally, the Union’s demands that Osco recognize the work of these employees and address employee concerns resulted in new appreciation pay for all Union pharmacists. Beginning Sunday March 15th, all active hourly employees will receive a $2.00/hour increase and all full-time employees will receive an extra $100/week.

“I am pleased that Osco has listened to the Union’s demands and responded with improving safety measures and providing incentive pay, but more needs to be done. Albertsons is staged to profit tremendously during this time and it is because of these frontline workers who continue to service customers during this time. If Osco can afford to pay more incentive pay during this time, they should,” said John Coli, Jr. Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 727. “While I am pleased with what the Union achieved thus far, there is more work to be done and we must remain vigilant to keep Osco in line,” added Coli.

Yesterday, the Union demanded more measures be implemented to address safety including: installing plexiglass at consultation counters as well as the drop off and pick up counters; providing additional uniforms to bargaining unit members for enhanced sanitation; elimination of the company’s biometric measures to avoid removal of gloves; daily cleaning of pharmacy bathrooms; elimination of company’s uniform guidelines that require neck ties to avoid items close to the face; placement of social distancing markers and signage for pharmacy guests; closure of the pharmacy during meal breaks to preserve sanitation; and an additional 30 hours of tech support each week to assist in operations and maintain a sanitary environment. Due to the urgency and need to act quickly, the Union gave the Company until Wednesday March 25th to respond to its demands.

“At a moment when frontline health care workers are stepping up and serving the public good, we must be able to protect them and keep them healthy,” said John Coli Secretary Treasurer of Teamsters Local 727. “While we know that the pharmacists work is essential, we also know it must be done safely. Now is the time for companies like Jewel-Osco to step up, take action and lead in our communities. Not wait for others to act and follow behind. It is vital that Osco partner with the Union in these efforts and keep the Union updated so that we can work together to keep workers safe and compensated during this time. We may be on different sides of the table during bargaining, but we are ready to put our differences aside and work together. I look forward to hearing from Osco on how we can work together to help our pharmacists.” added Coli.

Teamsters Local 727 is also circulating a petition that members of the public are encouraged to sign. A copy of the petition can also be found at

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, Union News

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