Pharmageddon

 

Pharmacists at major chains are just like other health care workers around the U.S. They are understaffed, overworked and unsupported by the bosses.

While pharmacy giants rake in huge profits, they continue to exploit the labor force. As the Biden administration wrongly treats the pandemic as a thing of the past, gone are the platitudes given to these essential workers who literally help keep us alive. But health care workers, including pharmacists, have not forgotten or forgiven the bosses for a lack of compensation commensurate with their sacrifice.

Pharmacists are waking up and organizing. A growing trend began in Kansas City when workers at 12 CVS locations staged a walkout. Shane Jerominski, an organizer of the walkout, said in a Nov. 3 interview with “The American Prospect” that when CVS executives flew to Kansas City to negotiate with the workers, it signaled to him and his fellow organizers that there was a moment to seize. The walkout could be an effective way to win worker demands.

Jerominski explained that pharmacy technicians make less than $20 an hour and often must supplement their income with second jobs. Turnover for pharmacy technicians is high, which translates to increased workload for licensed pharmacists. Like nurses, pharmacists are unwilling to risk making an error and losing their license.

Pharmacy executives misrepresent their unwillingness to adequately staff stores and compensate employees as just a shortage of workers. In reality, the executives’ greed is driving pharmacists out of their profession.

Grassroots organizing is continuing. Just this past week, hundreds of pharmacists and pharmacy technicians staged walkouts to call attention to their unsustainable working conditions. Organizers estimated the effort has drawn as many as 4,500 pharmacists and pharmacy technicians from multiple chains, including CVS, Rite Aid and Walgreens.

They drew support from the American Pharmacists Association, the industry’s largest professional organization, which said that the “pharmacy system is broken,” and the APhA stands with every participant in the movement. (pharmacist.com, Oct. 30)

Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions issues call to action 

Members of the United Auto Workers, News Guild, Communication Workers of America, International Association of Theatrical Stage Employees, National Writers Union, United Federation of Teachers and other unions marched alongside 300,000 other people in Washington, D.C., Nov. 4, demanding an end to taxpayer-funded genocide in Gaza. But major union leaders have for the most part been silent in the face of the mass slaughter of Palestinians.

This cowardice is out of sync with the call to action from the Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions. PGFTU is calling for labor unions across the world to boycott Israel and actively hinder the war machine.

Over 500 union members have signed a strong statement put out by Labor for Palestine supporting the appeal from PFGTU. The United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America (UE) has circulated a petition calling for a cease-fire and an end to U.S. military aid to Israel. Other unions, including the Chicago Teachers Union, have endorsed the petition.

Jimmy Williams, general president of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades stated, ​“Israel must cease bombing dense urban areas and should immediately allow for humanitarian aid to reach the people most affected by the conflict. Targeting civilians is a war crime. Collective punishment is a war crime. It is the duty of all working people to stand up and say enough.” (jacobin.com, Nov. 3)

 

Marie Kelly

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Marie Kelly

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