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“Las Vegas’ CVS Pharmacy Makes History as the First Member of the New National Pharmacy Union”

Las Vegas’ CVS Pharmacy has made history by becoming the first member of the new National Pharmacy Union. This milestone comes as organizers aim to address what they consider unsafe working conditions for pharmacy workers across the United States. The Las Vegas branch of CVS’s Omnicare saw almost 30 pharmacy staff win their union election by an overwhelming margin of 87% to 13%. These pharmacists and pharmacy technicians provide prescriptions to elderly and vulnerable patients in long-term care facilities throughout Nevada.

The newly formed union, called The Pharmacy Guild, will represent these workers in labor negotiations with CVS. The goal is to secure a best-in-the-industry contract that prioritizes the safety and well-being of employees. Shane Jerominski, a community pharmacist and co-founder of The Pharmacy Guild, expressed his excitement about the historic win and emphasized the importance of representation for pharmacy workers.

The Pharmacy Guild was established in November following a nationwide walkout of pharmacy staff. The walkout, known as “Pharmageddon,” involved major drugstore chains such as CVS, Walgreens, and Rite-Aid. It drew significant media attention to the concerns of pharmacy workers regarding unsafe staffing levels and increasing workloads that put both employees and patients at risk. The guild also advocates for legislative and regulatory changes to establish higher standards of practice in pharmacies, ultimately aiming to protect patients.

The decision to unionize is the result of years of dissatisfaction among retail pharmacy staff. Understaffed teams and mounting work expectations imposed by corporate management have been ongoing issues. The COVID-19 pandemic further exacerbated these challenges as pharmacists and technicians took on additional responsibilities such as testing and vaccination efforts. The unionization effort seeks to address these concerns and bring about positive change within the industry.

CVS has stated that it respects its employees’ right to unionize or refrain from doing so. The company acknowledges the decision of Omnicare Las Vegas workers to choose union representation and promises to work closely and collaboratively with its employees to address their concerns. CVS also emphasizes its commitment to providing a positive and rewarding work environment.

Although Omnicare is not a public-facing pharmacy like most of CVS’s locations, it faces similar issues regarding staffing levels and low starting pay for technicians. The problems expressed by Omnicare workers reflect the sentiments of pharmacy staff nationwide. Shane Jerominski emphasizes that these issues are not unique to a particular company but rather prevalent across major chains. The walkouts that occurred were a direct result of employees demanding the support they deserve.

The Pharmacy Guild’s next step is to negotiate a union contract with CVS to address the concerns of Omnicare workers in Las Vegas. One of the key demands is consistent work schedules that guarantee pharmacy technicians 40 hours per week throughout the year. This stability is crucial for retaining skilled individuals who have families and face high stress levels in their jobs.

The momentum of The Pharmacy Guild is spreading to other parts of the country, with pharmacy staff at two retail stores in Rhode Island confirming their filing to unionize with the guild. This development is significant as CVS’s headquarters are based in Rhode Island, indicating that the movement for change is gaining traction.

In conclusion, the unionization of Las Vegas’ CVS Pharmacy marks a historic moment in the pharmacy industry. It represents a significant step towards addressing the concerns of pharmacy workers, including unsafe working conditions and increased workloads. The Pharmacy Guild aims to secure a best-in-the-industry contract that prioritizes the well-being of employees and protects patients. As the movement gains momentum across the country, it is clear that pharmacy staff are determined to demand the help and support they deserve.

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