CVS pharmacist: Chain doesn’t care about us

May 12, 2016

Representatives of Teamsters Local 727 recently distributed leaflets outside Chicago-area CVS stores that accuse the retail chain of mistreating pharmacists by overworking them in understaffed pharmacies.

Representatives of Teamsters Local 727 recently distributed leaflets outside Chicago-area CVS stores that accuse the retail chain of mistreating pharmacists by overworking them in understaffed pharmacies.

However, Michael J. DeAngelis, a CVS spokesperson, characterized the union’s claims as negotiation posturing.

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Courtesy: Shutterstock/Northfoto“CVS Pharmacy has had a long-standing, productive relationship with Teamsters Local 727 in Chicago for many years. Disagreements may occur during any negotiation of a collective bargaining agreement and we look forward to finalizing a new agreement,” DeAngelis told Drug Topics.

“Our pharmacists, including those represented by Local 727, are healthcare professionals who are given the flexibility to manage their work schedules in collaboration with their pharmacist colleagues to ensure that our pharmacies are properly staffed during operating hours. We want to preserve the ability for our pharmacists who choose to work longer shifts to do so,” he said.

The Teamsters represent about 150 Chicago-area CVS pharmacists. The union has filed unfair labor practice charges against CVS with the National Labor Relations Board. The pharmacists’ three-year labor agreement with CVS expired earlier this month.

The CVS pharmacists, through the union, have expressed concerns about uninterrupted breaks, insufficient tech hours, preservation of the nine-hour workday, and elimination of additional tasks that take away from pharmacists' primary job responsibilities.

"They don't value any of our concerns. They're trying to get rid of the profession of pharmacy and make it just a job," CVS pharmacist Chuck Zuraitis said in a statement released by the union. "We're on the front lines every day, and yet, they don't care about our perspective. Really, what they're saying is, they don't care about us."

 

John Coli Jr., president of Local 727, said the union’s recent actions were designed to inform the public that increasing management demands impact customer safety.

“Simply put, we are calling on management to let pharmacists return their full focus to taking care of their customers," Coli said.

The union also claims that CVS recently began prohibiting pharmacists from using baby bonding time.

DeAngelis called those claims inaccurate. “We provide family leave to our colleagues in accordance with state and federal laws, including leave for new mothers,” he said.

Concerning customer safety, DeAngelis said “the health and safety of our customers is our number one priority and we have comprehensive policies and procedures in place to ensure prescription safety. Our systems are designed to help our pharmacists manage and prioritize their work to best serve their patients.”

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