Pharmacists rallied outside Pavilions West Hollywood on Tuesday, June 28, 2022, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. A group stood outside the grocery store at 8969 Santa Monica Boulevard holding signs, and distributing fliers to customers on the parking lot to bring attention to their fight for a better a contract.
“We’re just having a little rally,” said Kathy Finn, Treasure of UFCW770 Union Local. “It’s a customer information picket to let customers know what’s going on with our pharmacist contract that covers over 600 pharmacist who work in grocery store pharmacies throughout Southern California. Their contract expired back in March and they’re fighting for a fair contract.”
Finn says the pharmacist are not on strike. “We’re just giving folks information,” she said. “We’ve been bargaining for over three months and we’re far apart still with these companies. These pharmacists worked really hard during the pandemic and are still working hard giving vaccines and doing all kinds of other clinical services. They are actually the prescribers for birth control now. You can come to a pharmacy and speak to a pharmacist and they can prescribe it. It takes a consultation to do that. They do HIV PrEP and PeP, they do travel meds. They do all kinds of things that require a lot of their time and yet they’re still required to fill all of the prescriptions that they did before the services were added and they’re not given enough staff to do it, so often they may be working 12 straight hours on their own without any help. They have to do all these services, plus they have to be on they phone, they have to talk to the counselor, they have to help give the medicines, they gotta do everything. it’s a ton of work and they are not provided adequate staff to do it.”
Another issue the union is trying to negotiate is part-time pharmacist not getting enough hours that qualify them to get health benefits. “There are folks who are healthcare providers, providing healthcare for us and they don’t have their own healthcare,” she said. “They don’t have a benefit plan that covers them, or their families. These companies won’t give them enough hours to qualify for benefits.”
They are also negotiating wages. “We’re very far apart. As everybody knows the cost of living is going up, there is inflation. These folks go through six years of school. Have doctorates and have very high student loans. Cost of living has gone up by seven percent and these companies are offering one percent increases per year.
According to Finn, the union is getting back to the table in early July and they are hoping that the company will see how much value these pharmacists have provided.
“These companies have made record profits, billions, and billions of profits during the pandemic,” She added. “And they are just asking to be treated fairly.”
Pharmacists are asking for support by posting on social media with the hashtag #SupportPharmacists or send video messages to @ufcwlocal770 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The workers control the means to production.