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Teamsters Warn of Possible Work Stoppages, Service Disruptions at AmerisourceBergen
Date:2/28/2008

Union Health Plans Move Closer to Cutting AmerisourceBergen-Brand Pharmacies As Company's Labor Rights Violations Escalate

WASHINGTON, Feb. 28 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- AmerisourceBergen (NYSE: ABC) warehouse workers from across the country rallied with hundreds of their fellow Teamsters outside ABC's annual shareholders meeting in Philadelphia today. The protesters sounded a warning to investors about ongoing and illegal workers' rights violations by the pharmaceutical distributor that could result in widespread work stoppages and service disruptions in the coming months.

Last week, Region 19 of the National Labor Relations Board issued a complaint against ABC for violating federal labor laws protecting workers' rights. The complaint comes on the heels of a recent unfair labor practice strike at ABC's Pacific Northwest distribution hub.

"The last thing we want is widespread work stoppages, but management just continues to back our members into a corner. The company seems to be more interested in bullying its workers than protecting the interests of its customers," said John Williams, Director of the Teamsters Warehouse Division.

Several East Coast distribution hubs are entering contract negotiations in the near future including ABC's newly acquired Bellco facility in New York.

"Early indications show that despite record profits and outrageously high CEO pay and perks, management is seeking draconian cuts from these workers similar to what was experienced at their West Coast distribution hubs," said Williams.

Inside the annual meeting, investors also voiced concerns that ABC's Good Neighbor Pharmacy Network and Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs), such as Medco, are under increased scrutiny by major union-negotiated health care plans due to the potential for service disruptions.

"AmerisourceBergen management is quickly earning a bad reputation among pharmacy benefit managers, independent pharmacies and union-sponsored health plans as a troubled supplier," said Fred Gegare, Teamsters vice president and chairman of the Central States Health and Welfare Fund. "As a trustee of one of the largest Teamster Health and Welfare plans in the country, I'm outraged that AmerisourceBergen pursues scorched-earth tactics towards workers," Gegare said.

He added that he is convening a nationwide meeting of Teamster health and welfare plan trustees next week to discuss the labor abuses at AmerisourceBergen and decide on further action. "Our trustees will be examining options for ensuring that the pharmaceutical distributors that serve our members both provide reliable, excellent service and respect workers' rights," Gegare said.

The rally comes on the heels of AmerisourceBergen's Chief Executive David Yost reassuring shareholders and Wall Street analysts at the company's December investors meeting that he anticipated no work stoppages in the future.

The Teamsters report that during recent contract negotiations, AmerisourceBergen threatened employees with the closure of the Northwest facility, erected a chain-link fence around the facility, marched temporary workers through the work site, sent letters to workers' homes threatening to replace them in the event of a strike, and fired a shop steward.

Founded in 1903, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents 1.4 million hardworking men and women in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico.


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SOURCE International Brotherhood of Teamsters
Copyright©2008 PR Newswire.
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