Just two weeks after the first-in-the-nation union filing in Las Vegas, organizing momentum grows as union movement arrives at CVS’  front doorstep, with fight for safe staffing and patient care outcomes taking center stage

RHODE ISLAND, USA Pharmacy professionals at two CVS corporate retail stores in Rhode Island have officially confirmed that they have filed to unionize with The Pharmacy Guild (TPG), taking the national movement to unionize the industry directly to CVS’ doorstep in their home state.

After initially announcing their filing at the stores on Friday, workers confirmed today that the petitions have been formally submitted to the National Labor Relations Board. The NLRB is expected to officially post information about the petitions online this week or next.

“My coworkers and I are unionizing with The Pharmacy Guild so we can have a voice to advocate for the best care outcomes possible for our patients,” said one pharmacy professional active in the CVS Rhode Island organizing. “By unionizing stores in Rhode Island, we’re sending a direct message to CVS and the industry at large that frontline pharmacy professionals will continue taking direct action to reform our industry for the protection of our patients.”

Some individual pharmacy workers have sought to remain anonymous during the organizing push and related filing process due to fear of potential retaliation by company executives.

Understaffing has reached crisis levels for pharmacies across America, with severe industry-wide shortages consistently reported by pharmacy professionals in corporate pharmacy chains.

The crisis sparked a nationwide movement in 2022, with thousands of pharmacy employees from various chains walking out in protest of the hazardous conditions in what was termed “pharmageddon,” sparking the creation of The Pharmacy Guild.

“We’ve seen a dramatic shift in the conditions inside community pharmacies since the onset of the pandemic,” said Dr. Shane Jerominski, a longtime pharmacist, pharmacy reform activist, and co-founder of The Pharmacy Guild. “The dedication shown by pharmacy professionals unionizing in Rhode Island now is a testament to their unwavering commitment to prioritizing patient well-being above corporate profits. These workers are telling CVS that it’s time for them to come to the table to address this crisis, and put the health and safety of pharmacy professionals and the patients they serve first.”

The Pharmacy Guild, an initiative by IAM Healthcare, is the nation’s only union dedicated exclusively to organizing and representing pharmacy professionals across employers in a specialized trade union. 

The union drives spreading at pharmacies across the country – including numerous grassroots drives that are not yet public – represent a significant shift in the industry and reflect a growing awareness of the power of solidarity and collaboration in addressing workplace challenges and inequalities.