The successful unionizations outside CVS’ national headquarters mark the second and third election wins by pharmacy workers organizing with The Pharmacy Guild in just four weeks

Woonsocket, RI — Pharmacy professionals organizing at two CVS corporate retail stores in Rhode Island have won their union election with The Pharmacy Guild (TPG), becoming the first stores in the nation to unionize in CVS’ homestate. The victories mark the continuation of a historic wave of pharmacy organizing. These election results are the second and third union election wins by workers organizing with TPG in just four weeks, as pharmacy professionals fight for a better industry for themselves and their patients. 

“Unionization is the best tool we have to ensure our patients are receiving the care standards they deserve,” said Chris Eggeman, a pharmacist active in the organizing drive at one store. “Our patients aren’t served by an unchecked profit-driven healthcare system; quality patient care needs to come first. There should never be a medication error or a delay in providing healthcare services because of short staffing derived from increasing the bottom line. With our union, we will have a voice to speak for our patients and our profession, and a legally enforceable collective bargaining agreement to ensure that voice is heard.”

The union victories are at 24/7 CVS retail pharmacy stores in Wakefield and Westerly, Rhode Island. Workers say they began organizing in response to declining patient safety standards – and that the union is their best vehicle for change. 

“Before we unionized, we experienced periods of severe understaffing and overwhelming workloads,” said another pharmacist active in the organizing drive at one store. “During those periods, I wasn’t sure I’d be able to keep working. Now, we finally have a voice that cannot be ignored, and a seat at the table.”

“The union election wins in Rhode Island highlight just how much pharmacy professionals are willing to fight to prioritize patient care over corporate profits,” said Dr. Maurice Shaw, a community pharmacist, industry reform advocate, and co-founder of The Pharmacy Guild. “These wins send a direct message to CVS that their employees will hold them accountable to protecting patient health and upholding our professional standards.” 

Two more sets of pharmacy professionals in Rhode Island also filed to unionize with TPG this week. Unsafe staffing levels have reached crisis levels for many pharmacies across America, with severe shortages consistently reported by pharmacy professionals across corporate chains like CVS and Walgreens. The crisis precipitated a tipping point that launched an organic nationwide movement in 2023, when thousands of pharmacy professionals across multiple employers walked out in protest of the dangerous conditions in a “Pharmageddon that birthed union drives across the country. 

The Pharmacy Guild, an initiative of IAM Healthcare, is the nation’s only union dedicated exclusively to organizing and representing pharmacy professionals across employers in a specialized trade union. IAM Healthcare is a national healthcare union within the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM). The rapid formation of grassroots pharmacy union drives, active in every region in the U.S., reflect the urgency of the crisis inside US pharmacies – and the commitment of pharmacy professionals to protect their patients and save their profession.