Teamsters Local 727 last year met with Illinois state representatives and prepared proposals for new legislation aimed at addressing the concerns of Teamster-represented Osco and CVS pharmacists.Items proposed by Local 727 included:
- Limits on prescriptions filled per hour, not to exceed 10 prescriptions;
- Increased pharmacy technician support, with at least 10 pharmacy technician hours per 100 prescriptions filled;
- Mandatory reporting of dispensing errors; and
- Increased staffing levels at Illinois pharmacies, with at least one pharmacy technician staffed per pharmacist at all times.
After Local 727’s actions, some changes were made to Illinois pharmacy regulatory rules.
“It was nice to see some changes made to the rules, but the changes did not go far enough, and pharmacy work standards have only worsened,” said John Coli Jr., President of Local 727. “More changes are needed to secure better, safer working conditions for our pharmacists. Today’s unsafe working conditions compromise patient safety, and it’s clear more dramatic and meaningful steps need to be taken.”Tribune Shines Spotlight on Teamster Concerns
Local 727’s concerns gained further attention recently after the Chicago Tribune published the results of an in-depth investigation that revealed just how dangerously public and patient safety is being compromised by Osco and CVS’s current corporate practices.
In “Pharmacies Miss Half of Dangerous Drug Combinations,” published by the Tribune on December 15, two Local 727 union stewards were included in interviews about working conditions and corporate pressure from inside their respective pharmacies. During the interviews, both Local 727 members described increased pressure and demands their employers place on pharmacists, which ultimately distract from members’ critical work to properly and safely fill prescriptions.
“The Tribune’s investigation only further proved that the changes that Local 727 previously proposed are needed now more than ever,” Coli said.
Local 727 is continuing its efforts again this year, and currently is in the process of scheduling new meetings with state representatives to advance additional legislative proposals. Upcoming meetings will provide the Teamsters Union and Local 727 Osco and CVS bargaining unit pharmacists the opportunity to describe unsafe working conditions and heightened performance demands workers face every day.
“We will continue this fight for safer working conditions for as long as it takes to secure them. It is Local 727’s sincere hope that the State of Illinois begins to address these important issues that impact pharmacists and our communities as a whole.”
The union will continue to update pharmacy members as the fight progresses. Anyone with questions should contact Local 727 Osco Business Representative Zach Frankenbach at (847) 696-7500 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or Local 727 CVS Bargaining Representative Melissa Senatore at (847) 696-7500 or email@example.com.
Teamsters Local 727 is an affiliate of Teamsters Joint Council 25, America’s premier labor union for Chicago, Illinois and northwest Indiana.