Striking Pharmacists Create Access Issues
Sacramento County on Monday won a temporary restraining order in Sacramento Superior Court requiring three pharmacists to return to three facilities as strikes entered their second week, the Sacramento Bee reports. The county's 35 pharmacists, represented by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, joined the strike that began Sept. 5.
Keith Andrews, the county's division chief of Primary Health Services, said, "The only prescriptions we are filling are those on an emergency basis; someone with tuberculosis, or a sexually transmitted disease, or any communicable diseases." The Bee reports that 8,000 refill requests were waiting to be filled.
The county also began directing some residents with new prescriptions to outside pharmacies.
By Monday, just two of the unions had not reached agreements with the county: AFSCME and the Stationary Engineers Local 39, which represents garbage, water quality, animal control and parks workers.
Andrews criticized the pharmacists for striking, but AFSCME representative Judy Steinke said county pharmacists were "so grossly underpaid" that a strike was needed.
Negotiations continued Monday, but Local 39 officials said county offers have not adequately addressed health insurance costs (Kollars/Fletcher, Sacramento Bee, 9/12).