Teamsters seeking to unionize Maine pharmacists

March 13, 2015

Shaw’s Supermarkets is fighting an effort by a Teamsters local to represent pharmacists at its 16 stores in Maine.

Shaw’s Supermarkets is fighting an effort by a Teamsters local to represent pharmacists at its 16 stores in Maine.

The supermarket maintains that its pharmacy managers are supervisors and are not able to join a labor union.  At 15 of its 16 Maine stores, Shaw’s officials said pharmacists oversee pharmacy technicians. One of its stores has a pharmacy manager with no technicians.

Been there, done that, got the message

The National Labor Relations Board held a hearing on the matter in January, but has not issued a ruling. Teamsters Local 340 has petitioned to represent all full- and part-time pharmacists in Maine.

“It’s Local 340’s position that employees have a voice in the workplace and, therefore, we are here to help employees do that in whatever industry they may work in,” Traci Place, business agent with the union, told the Bangor Daily News.

In its court filings, Shaw’s management contends that its pharmacists are pharmacy managers who hire, discipline, and fire employees. Those actions, the company contends, qualify the pharmacists as supervisors.

 

“The unequivocal testimony is that all (pharmacy managers) have the same authority, whether they work in a store with no pharmacy technicians or with five pharmacy technicians,” Shaw’s attorneys wrote.

Union representation in Maine has dropped from a high of 14.7% in 2008 to 12.5% last year. However, Maine’s union membership rate is higher than the national average of 11.1%. Last year, approximately 14.6 million Americans belonged to a union. In 1983, 17.7 million workers in the United States (20.1%) were union participants, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.