CVS risking consumer, workers’ health for profits, laborers claim

 NEW YORK-Members of Laborers Local 78 are connecting poor treatment of consumers to poor working conditions for contractors, and are urging consumers to pressure CVS, the corporation responsible, to change its practices.

Local 78 members distributed leaflets outside of a CVS on Manhattan’s Columbus Avenue, near Lincoln Center, explaining that the corporation has hired Panzner Brothers Demolition, a sub-standard non-union company, to remove asbestos from their buildings.

“When asbestos isn’t properly removed,” said one of the union activists, “the fibers go into the air. They’re so small you can’t see them, but, when inhaled, they can remain in someone’s lungs forever.”

According to a flier issued by Local 78, “Ultimately, asbestos fibers cause fatal diseases that currently have no cure.”

The union activists charge that CVS has hired a non-union company to save money. While they are fighting this as an anti-union move, they are also concerned that this will ultimately endanger both people in the area and the unorganized workers themselves.

Local 78 members are connecting this lack of oversight to shocking abuses of consumers, including the sale of counterfeit drugs in Deer Park, N.Y., and a case in East Pointe, Georgia, where the company, known for understaffing its pharmacies, gave the wrong medication to a truck driver, resulting in post traumatic stress disorder.

The picketing unionists made clear that they are not asking for a boycott or a strike; the simply want members of the public to contact CVS and demand that responsible contractors be hired.

The suggest calling CEO Tom Ryan at 401-765-1500 and Bill Jacobs at 516-729-1018.

Photo: Dan Margolis