Monday, July 14, 2014

Chicago Teamsters fight for reasonable workload for pharmacists

Remember the scene in 'It's A Wonderful Life' when a young George Bailey's pharmacist boss gives him poison to deliver rather than pills?

Pharmacists have an extremely important job, and it's important they get it right. That isn't easy when hours are cut and work is piled on.

Teamsters Local 727 represents more than  700 pharmacists in the greater Chicago area, and they're concerned about the public safety risks of inadequate staffing.

Local 727 President John Coli, Jr., sharedthose concerns and asked for assistance from the Illinois State Board of Pharmacy at the Board’s meeting on July 8 in Chicago. Said Coli:
Our pharmacists, who we all rely on, are being pulled in more directions than ever. Reduced technician hours, elimination of most full-time pharmacists’ overlap hours and increased pharmacists’ workloads could risk patient care. 
The pharmacists, he said,
...ask that you visit their stores and talk with them. They ask that you look at what other states have done to enhance the practice of pharmacy. And finally, they ask that you consider changes to regulatory legislation to further protect the profession, the pharmacists themselves and the patients they serve each and every day. 
Local 727 pharmacist steward Deepak Chande also addressed the Board, speaking passionately about his personal experience as a 34-year pharmacist.
I care about my customers. We all do. It’s why we do this job. When my workload is so overwhelming, I cannot spend a lot of time with my patients. Sometimes I’m afraid to even make eye contact with customers because I feel so guilty.