CVS Omnicare Pharmacy First to Join the New National Pharmacy Union

CVS Omnicare Pharmacy (Credits: Faith Ninivaggi)

A CVS Omnicare pharmacy located in Las Vegas has achieved a significant milestone by becoming the inaugural site to join a newly formed national pharmacy union, marking an important step for organizers striving to address what they perceive as unsafe working conditions for thousands of U.S. pharmacy employees.

With an overwhelming majority vote of 87% to 13%, nearly 30 pharmacy personnel at the Las Vegas branch of CVS’s Omnicare secured victory in their union election on Thursday.

These pharmacists and pharmacy technicians cater to elderly and vulnerable patients by fulfilling prescriptions at long-term care facilities across Nevada. Their affiliation with the Pharmacy Guild means representation in labor negotiations with CVS.

Shane Jerominski, a community pharmacist and co-founder of the Pharmacy Guild, expressed optimism about securing favorable terms for the workers. He described the win as historic and resounding, emphasizing the commitment to negotiating an industry-leading contract for the staff.

CVS Health (Credits: CVS)

The formation of the Pharmacy Guild follows a nationwide walkout of pharmacy staff, branded as “Pharmageddon,” which took place in late October and encompassed major drugstore chains such as CVS, Walgreens, and Rite Aid.

The movement, aimed at addressing concerns over unsafe staffing levels and escalating workloads, garnered significant attention, leading to the establishment of the Pharmacy Guild in collaboration with IAM Healthcare, a union representing numerous healthcare professionals.

Similar to the walkout, the Pharmacy Guild advocates for improvements in staffing levels and work standards within pharmacies to ensure the well-being of both employees and patients.

This initiative represents the culmination of years of discontent among retail pharmacy staff, exacerbated by the challenges posed by the Covid pandemic, including additional responsibilities like testing and vaccination.

Responding to the development, a CVS Health spokesperson underscored the company’s respect for its employees’ right to unionize and affirmed its commitment to collaboratively address their concerns. The spokesperson emphasized CVS’s dedication to fostering a positive and rewarding work environment.

CVS Pharmacy (Credits: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Despite being a non-public-facing pharmacy, Omnicare, acquired by CVS in 2015, shares common issues with other pharmacies, including staffing challenges and low starting pay for technicians. According to Jerominski, these issues are pervasive across major chains nationwide.

Looking ahead, the Pharmacy Guild aims to negotiate a union contract with CVS to address the specific needs of Omnicare workers in Las Vegas. Among their priorities are securing consistent work schedules guaranteeing pharmacy technicians 40 hours per week throughout the year.

The momentum is growing as pharmacy staff at two retail stores in Rhode Island have filed for unionization with the Pharmacy Guild, signaling a broader movement within the industry.

With CVS headquartered in the state, these developments underscore the increasing demand for improved working conditions among pharmacy employees.

Olivia Murphy
Driven by a commitment to excellence and integrity, Olivia strives to empower her audience with knowledge that enables informed decision-making and fosters a deeper understanding of the business world. She believes in the power of storytelling to bridge gaps, spark dialogue, and drive meaningful progress within the global business community.