The Guild was started in April of 1978 by a group of pharmacists working for Sav-On Drugs in the Southern California area. This group of approximately 50 pharmacists wanted to form a separate bargaining group within the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) in order to negotiate terms and conditions that were important to pharmacists, as professionals. The UFCW represented all of the Sav-On employees, only 5% of whom were pharmacists. Consequently, the majority of non-professional employees controlled the contracts. Pharmacist wages and working conditions had deteriorated and when the UFCW denied the request to negotiate a separate pharmacist contract, these enterprising pharmacy pioneers envisioned and organized the Guild For Professional Pharmacists.
Petitions for representation were filed by the Guild with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to seek an election. Pharmacists were given an opportunity to vote by secret ballot whether they wished to be represented by the UFCW or the Guild For Professional Pharmacists. Unfortunately, due to delay tactics filed by the Employer and inconsistent decisions by the NLRB, the election was not scheduled for 6 years! A negotiated collective bargaining agreement with Sav-on was finally completed in March, 1984. We can thank the Guild’s founding pharmacists for advances made by the Guild today with respect to salary, changes in working conditions, and professional dignity.
When pharmacists throughout California learned of the newly organized Guild For Professional Pharmacists, additional petitions were filed with the NLRB for representation elections resulting in an increase in membership. The Guild had developed a reputation within the pharmacy profession and the employers with whom we negotiated agreements as a mature, responsible and professional labor organization representing pharmacists.
The Guild remains a professional organization, composed, run and controlled exclusively by employee pharmacists. The Guild recognizes that it is difficult at best to be a small part of a large union. It is an organization in which all pharmacists can exert their influence, acting together, to advance their economic and professional futures.