Need Vacation? Don’t Become An OHSU Pharmacist.

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Pharmacists have been quietly filing grievances for months over the inability to get vacation on a first come, first served basis when requesting time off for unfilled vacation slots.

For those not familiar with the AFSCME/OHSU contract, management must identify at the beginning of the year the number of opportunities available for vacation time on any given day throughout the year. Those vacations “slots” that aren’t used during the vacation bid in February of each year are available, by contract, on a first come, first served basis for the rest of the year.

Due to chronic understaffing OHSU Pharmacy management has been consistently refusing to honor vacation requests made by pharmacists for time which is contractually available. As a result, employees are having to resort to shift trades and schedule changes to get time off. The lack of vacation availability is taking a toll. Combined with large amounts of extra shifts and overtime to fill shifts left vacant due to unfilled staff positions pharmacists are feeling overworked and under appreciated.

Many current pharmacists believe that these working conditions are leading to staff turnover, fatigue and low morale. As the grievances which have been filed move to arbitration pharmacists might begin to get some relief when arbitrators start enforcing the union contract, but it’s a long process. In the meantime pharmacists are meeting with union representatives to work on strategies to bring about a more immediate resolution.

As Joe Ness, Vice President for Professional and Support Services, said in a recent meeting: “I don’t care how much money you earn in your job, if your vacation is denied, it’s a morale buster.”

It’s time for OHSU Pharmacy management to take these issues seriously and work with the union to resolve these issues.

3 thoughts on “Need Vacation? Don’t Become An OHSU Pharmacist.”

  1. I feel for the pharmacists. But we need to hear more about EVS, transportation and food service workers , as they are much more vulnerable economically than the pharmacists.

  2. Very informative, thank you! I am a physician at OHSU and I was shocked to hear about this problem with our clinical pharmacists. Providers rely heavily on our pharmacy colleagues and I hope they are given vacations in the future. I would also love to see full pharmacy staffing as we have really noticed the impact of under staffing on the quality and safety of patient care.

  3. Don’t be a cook either trying to get a vacation day is like pulling teeth. we are only allowed 1 person off at a time and the one’s that have been here for years get the best day’s and they take all the holidays before and after just so the rest of us has to go without vacation. 1 person at a time in a department as big as our’s.

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