Judge Orders Some Pharmacists at Los Angeles County Facilities To End Strike
Pharmacists at Los Angeles County medical centers on Monday began a scheduled two-day strike, but Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge David Yaffe issued a restraining order cutting the action short for some pharmacists, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Managers and temporarily hired pharmacists helped fill prescriptions, and outpatients at hospitals were directed to Rite Aid stores for their prescriptions. The county said it would reimburse the Rite Aid stores.
After county attorneys filed a motion, Yaffe on Monday ordered workers at inpatient hospital pharmacies and custodial facilities to return to work immediately. Outpatient pharmacists were not affected by the order.
County officials said they would begin notifying pharmacists about the court order Monday evening.
About 160 members of the Guild for Professional Pharmacists -- representing pharmacists working in county hospitals, jails and juvenile halls -- did not report to work because of stalled negotiations with the county over proposed salary increases. The stoppage was the second this year by the union.
Union President Ralph Vogel said the pharmacists have been without a contract for more than a year and reject the county's offer of 2.5% salary increases in January 2005 and 2006. Vogel said that while most county pharmacists receive $40.76 per hour, Kaiser Permanente pharmacists are paid $51.39 per hour. "We're a good difference behind," Vogel said, adding, "We don't have any choice but to take strike action."
The union plans to go on a weeklong strike between Christmas and New Year's Day. Attorneys for the union and the county will appear in court Dec. 20 to decide whether to allow pharmacists to go ahead with the action (Leonard, Los Angeles Times, 11/30).