NPhA came into existence in 1968. Retail Wholesale Department Store Union (RWDSU) representatives Hank Anderson and Joe Coles approached a Walgreens' pharmacist named Jack Isaacs to encourage a union's development for Walgreens pharmacists. Eventually, RWDSU's encouragement prompted a vote to unionize. With the votes in favor, this union was born.
The newly formed union headed by President Morrie Goldberg, Vice President Jack Isaacs, Secretary Pat Feldman, and other Executive Board members developed a union contract negotiation team. With a team of eight people equally representing the North and South sides, they established the first contract, which increased wages by 20% (from $4.80 to $6.00 per hour.)
Jack Isaacs became the President in 1969 after succeeding Morrie Goldberg upon his passing. Isaacs remained President until 1981 when he passed the presidential torch to William Kennedy. Kennedy went on to hold office from 1981-1990 and again in 1993-1998. During his term in 1984, a membership vote showed 90° in favor of leaving the RWDSU Local 239A & 239B to form today's professional union.
Prior to the union's development, the work conditions were less than ideal. Twelve-hour days, no overtime payment, no job security, and frequent pharmacist transfers to different stores were common place. Besides increasing wages, NPhA helped to normalize the work week (40 hours per week), establish a grievance procedure and bidding system, and institute overtime payment. The significant steps the founders of this union took have paved the way for more appropriate work conditions and wages for pharmacists today. Hopefully, this tradition will live on as NPhA continues to strive for what its members deserve.
A special thanks and recognition to Pat Feldman, Jack Isaacs, Harry Kappos, William Kennedy, and Alan Peterson, who contributed information about the history of NPhA and helped lay the foundation of who we are and what workplace rights we have today.
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