Pathmark Pharmacists May Strike

NEW YORK - Pharmacy workers at 47 Pathmark stores in New York City and four suburban counties have said they may strike on Monday unless they are promised higher wages in current contract talks, The New York Times reports.

The 400 pharmacists and technicians have been without a contract since October, and so far negotiating sessions have failed to produce an agreement. More talks are scheduled for today, company and union officials said.

The Pathmark pharmacy workers are being paid lower wages than their counterparts at other major chains, and the company has offered an increase only if it can offset it with decreased health benefits, leaving the pharmacists with no net gain, said Laurie Vallone, vice president of the pharmacy division at 1199/SEIU, the union representing the pharmacists. Vallone said that staff pharmacists at Pathmark were paid $36 an hour, well below the standard range among the larger chains, like Walgreens and CVS, which pay from $41.50 to $47 an hour.

"We have no comment on the negotiations," Pathmark spokesman Rich Savner told the New York Times. "We're hopeful we will reach a fair agreement with this local."
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