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UFCW Local 1776 and Rite Aid disagree on union representation

12.20.07

Local 1776 and Rite Aid disagree on union representation

By PAUL TUCKER
theunionnewsabe@aol.com

January 2008 edition of the Union News

REGION, December 10th- The United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Union Local 1776 contends former Echerd Pharmacy and Brooks Pharmacy employees now Rite Aid Pharmacy workers should become union members. Previously Eckerd Pharmacy and Brooks Pharmacy employees were nonunion.

In the spring of 2007, Rite Aid announced they purchased the Eckerd and Brooks Pharmacy chains and would intergrate the stores into their own, becoming the third largest drug store chain in the nation with more than 115,000 employees in more than 5,000 stores.

Throughout Southeastern, Central and Northeastern Pennsylavnia UFCW Union Local 1776 represents Rite Aid Pharmacy employees.

Local 1776 has three separate contracts with Rite Aid. Rite Aid employees in the Philadelphia area are covered under one contract while the employees of the Reading area are covered under another and the employees of Northeastern Pennsylvania are covered under the third contract. Lehigh Valley employees are represented by the Northeastern agreement. The Reading and Northeastern contracts will expire in September 2008 and the Philadelphia area contract will expire in June 2008. Local 1776 represents Rite Aid clerks, pharmacy cashiers, technicians and shift supervisors.

According to Wendell Young IV, President of Local 1776, the union discussed the merger with Rite Aid officials, and believes the new stores employees should be members of the union. Rite Aid officials want the issue discussed when negotiating meetings are conducted for a successor agreement.

There were approximately fifteen Eckerd stores and eight Rite Aid stores in Lehigh and Northampton Counties at the time of the purchase.

Former Eckerd Pharmacy employees remain nonunion, despite now working under the Rite Aid Pharmacy name.

William Epstein, Communications Director of Local 1776, stated the union contract language clearly states the former Eckerd and Brooks stores employees should be union members.

Mr. Epstein did not know how many former Eckerd workers should be union represented.

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