ABOUT UNION ORGANIZING
What is the process of organizing a union?
Organizing is a democratic process that starts when employees who want to unionize sign authorization cards. Once a majority of eligible employees sign, our union will file these cards with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), a federal agency tasked with overseeing labor law and labor relations. At that point, your employer will have the option of voluntarily recognizing your union. If they choose not to, the NLRB will schedule an election in which all employees in the potential bargaining unit are eligible to vote for union representation.
Can we unionize across our entire industry, instead of store-by-store?
While we aim to organize pharmacy professionals across all major employers, unionizing necessarily starts at the workplace level among people who share common bonds and daily struggles. When you and your coworkers unite to demand better for your patients and your profession, you’re contributing to a broader movement to unionize the industry. If you work for a company that is organized into districts or regions, talk to one of our professional union organizers about including neighboring stores in your organizing effort.
My store only has a few pharmacists and technicians. Is it worth unionizing?
Yes, whether you work at CVS, Walgreens, Rite Aid, a supermarket, or a regional pharmacy chain, most stores only have a few pharmacy staff. This is the reality of our industry everywhere. The way that we will gain a voice in our workplaces and real influence in our industry is by unionizing our own stores and then helping pharmacy staff at neighboring stores unionize. A professional union organizer can assist you in developing a plan to organize other stores in your district or region.
Can pharmacy staff in other types of workplaces, like hospitals and nursing homes, unionize with The Pharmacy Guild?
Yes! If you are interested in organizing your workplace, please reach out to one of our professional union organizers at [email protected]. In acute care hospitals, the laws are different, so there may be some cases where pharmacy staff must organize in the same bargaining unit with other types of health care professionals. IAM Healthcare staff are experienced with these situations and can help you navigate them successfully.
Is it legal for my employer to fire or discipline me for participating in union organizing efforts?
No, your union organizing activities are a form of protected concerted activity under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). Employers who retaliate are held accountable by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), which is the federal agency responsible for enforcing the NLRA. Even though it’s illegal for employers to retaliate for union organizing, it’s best to keep a low profile until you are ready to file for your union election. The best approach is to work with a professional union organizer who will help you navigate this process.
ABOUT YOUR WORKING CONDITIONS
How can unionizing improve staffing and workload?
Unionizing gives you the right to negotiate with your employer over a wide range of issues, including compensation, hours of work, and your working conditions. A union contract can include specific staffing levels that your employer is required to maintain and/or standards to limit excessive workload. In addition to negotiating for these protections in your union contract, joining The Pharmacy Guild will also help to build the movement for state and national legislation for safe staffing in pharmacies.
If we like the way some things are now, will we have to change them if we unionize?
No, on the contrary, filing a petition to unionize affords “status quo” protections, which means your employer won’t be allowed to make policy changes without first negotiating with pharmacy professionals. With a union, you negotiate UP from current wages, benefits, and working conditions. Without a union, your employer can unilaterally change policies, even against the wishes of your Pharmacy Manager.
Will unionizing change our relationship with our supervisor?
It doesn’t have to. It depends on what your relationship is and what you want it to be. If you have a great Pharmacy Manager who takes your concerns seriously, your union can be an additional way to collaborate with them to get the resources you need from corporate. On the other hand, if you have a supervisor who is not providing the support you and your coworkers need, unionizing can help to create greater accountability to employees.