O’Fallon, MO – UFCW Local 655 members are on strike at McKesson Corp. over low pay, forced overtime and a lack respect on the job.
Workers are walking the picket line in wind, rain and snow with temperatures dropping below 20 degrees on some days.
UFCW Local 655 President David Cook said Local 655 partners working at McKesson rejected the company’s second contract proposal by an overwhelming majority before authorizing a strike.
“It’s about far more than dollars and cents,” Cook said. “Like so many strikes these days, the primary issue at McKesson is a lack of respect from management that sees its workers not as valued and important parts of a company, but as cogs in a machine.”
Cook said McKesson workers are frequently faced with mandatory overtime, particularly on overnight shifts.
“It’s not uncommon for a worker at McKesson on overnight shifts to work 50 or 60 hours in a week with mandatory overtime that leaves them with little time to spend with their family,” he said.
Rather than address those concerns, McKesson’s latest contract proposal would cut back on workers’ breaks.
“This facility is a distribution center for pharmaceuticals,” he said. “I can’t speak for anyone else, but I can tell you that I certainly don’t want the person shipping prescription drugs to be overworked and tired. That’s how mistakes are made.”
Despite the weakened and uncertain economy in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Cook said McKesson employees had no alternative but to strike.
MORE THAN MONEY, IT’S ABOUT RESPECT
“It’s not easy striking in these times,” Cook said. “It’s never easy, but these workers are fighting for more than money. They’re fighting for respect and the right to have a reasonable balance between work life and home life. They want to be treated as more than just a part in a machine.”
McKesson is one of the largest companies in the United States, reporting revenues of $231.1 billion in 2020.
“They are a pharmaceutical giant, and their workers make them successful,” Cook said. “They’ve earned the right to a job that treats them like human beings.”
Cook said he is grateful to the other unions that have shown their support by dropping by the picket line with pizza and doughnuts for the strikers.
If you want to donate to help the workers at McKesson, checks made payable to the UFCW Local 655 Defense Fund can be mailed to UFCW Local 655, 300 Weidman Rd., Ballwin MO, 63011 or visit Local 655’s Facebook page at facebook.com/UFCW655.