Pharmacists who are covered by a UFCW contract enjoy economic benefits, job security and guaranteed working conditions and standards that don’t often exist in a non-union setting. Company policies can change at the whim of the employer. Once union members propose, negotiate for and ultimately approve a contract, the terms are in writing and guaranteed.
Here are some highlights from existing UFCW Retail Pharmacy collective bargaining agreements:
INVESTIGATION/INTERVIEW. In any instance where an employee is to be interviewed and/or interrogated by the Employer or an Employer representative with respect to any alleged violation of the collective bargaining agreement or alleged infraction of Employer policies that may result in disciplinary action, the employee shall be afforded the opportunity of calling a Union Representative and having a Union Representative present during such interview or interrogation.
GOOD CAUSE. Non-probationary employees shall not be discharged except for good and sufficient cause such as dishonesty, insubordination, incompetency, intoxication, unbecoming conduct or failure to perform work as required. Age, sex, creed or color shall not be grounds for the termination of an otherwise qualified employee.
All full-time employees reporting for work on their scheduled workday shall be guaranteed a full day’s work of eight (8) hours’ with pay (except as provided under the Alternative Workweek provision, Section 188.8.131.52); except if a full-time employee is scheduled to work six (6) days in any workweek, the employee shall be guaranteed four (4) hours’ work on the sixth (6th) day.
WORK SCHEDULE. The work schedule will be posted in the pharmacy. The Employer shall post a work schedule in ink for all employees showing their surname and first (1st) initial not later than noon on the Wednesday preceding the first (1st) day of the following workweek. Any alteration in such work schedule must be made no later than noon on Thursday. If the work schedule within any day is changed after noon on Thursday without reasonable cause, the matter may be subject to the grievance procedure.
LUNCH PERIOD. All hours shall be worked consecutively, except for a meal period which shall be one (1) hour. No employee shall be scheduled more than one (1) hour after the middle of their shift or less than one (1) hour before the middle of their shift for a meal break.
SCHEDULE PREFERENCES. The Company recognizes the right of pharmacists to express preferences for schedules in certain stores in geographical areas in which they wish to work. The Company will keep written requests on file and supply a copy to the Union. When a vacancy occurs in a store or area requested, the Company shall notify the pharmacists who have registered requests, and simultaneously notify the local union, and will consider them on the basis of seniority and the ability to fulfill the requirements of that particular vacancy.
PREDESIGNATED DAY OFF/FULL-TIME. Any full-time employee called to work on the employee’s predesignated day off, as established in the work schedule provision, shall be guaranteed eight (8) hours’ work at the overtime rate of pay; provided that this provision shall not apply in those situations where employees voluntarily agree to switch scheduled shifts with other pharmacists or where they voluntarily agree to work less than eight (8) hours on such day.
EARLY/LATE MEAL PERIODS. An employee who is required to work more than one (1) hour beyond the middle of their shift without a meal period shall receive overtime pay from said hour until the meal period commences. Employees who are required to commence their meal period prior to one (1) hour before the middle of their shift shall receive overtime pay for the time between the start of the meal period and one (1) hour before the middle of the shift.
JOB DUTIES. The pharmacist shall compound and dispense prescriptions, and sell pharmaceuticals, medicines, and related drug items. They may in their individual discretion, but shall not be required to perform, additional functions outside the prescription and drug departments.
ETHICAL PRACTICE OF PHARMACY. On all matters relating to the ethical practice of pharmacy including those set forth in this Article, pharmacists shall be responsible within the Company only to supervisors who are pharmacists.
PROFESSIONAL RELATIONS COMMITTEE. There shall be established a Professional Relations Committee composed of an equal number of Union and Company representatives. The purpose of this Committee will be to consider, discuss, and mutually agree upon, if possible, matters of concern and common interest relating to the practice of pharmacy. In no event shall any action of this Committee interfere with or abridge the legal and ethical duty and responsibility of the individual pharmacist in their practice of pharmacy.
BENEFITS. UFCW contracts also include detailed language around wages, health and pension benefits, paid holidays and vacations, sick leave, hours of work and other important topics. The specifics vary by company.