Friday, July 22, 2022

Time for UFT to Dump Walgreen's

It's convenient to go to a local pharmacy and get a 90-day prescription. For UFT members, if you have a Walgreen's near you, you can do that. You could also get a 30-day prescription somewhere else, and mail to Express Scripts for a 90-day supply. For me, that's not too much trouble. 

But I won't set foot in Walgreen's until they stop allowing the people to work there to deny us contraception based on their personal beliefs. If I were vehemently opposed to contraception, I'd decline to work in a place that enabled it. In Walgreen's, instead, they're allowing their employees the freedom to decline sales of birth control pills and condoms to customers. 

Imagine some kid deciding to humiliate someone because of personal beliefs. Imagine some kid doing so just for the hell of it, to exercise the little bit of power this job enables. Either way, Walgreen's is good with it.

There are a lot of jokes and skits about people buying condoms, and how awkward they feel. They buy 500 other things and the clerk asks over the PA for a price check on the condoms, humiliating the already nervous customer. You need not be a nervous customer to feel embarrassed when an 18-year-old clerk says, no, you can't have your condoms because I don't personally believe you should have protected sex. Likely as not, these are the same people who support abortion bans, so they've got you one way or the other. 

Walgreen's, of course, is free to humiliate customers looking to live their lives, and in fact looking to prevent abortions. But I won't set foot in one until they end the policy.

UFT has a partnership with Walgreen's. This is problematic. If we continue to do business with them, we are tacitly supporting their odious policy. Walgreen's, for my money, is not the best judge of what UFT members should and should not do about their reproductive choices. In fact, leaving it to the whim of their employees is an even worse decision. They're saying it's not their responsibility, but rather that of the individual employee. I don't want to be treated like that by Walgreen's or their employees, so I can't differentiate.

If Walgreen's really cared about its employees, it would encourage them to unionize and collectively bargain. It would make sure they had full health benefits. It would offer them a prescription plan as good or better than ours. It would offer them better terms than its competitors. Instead, it indulges the whims of those who wish to express moral superiority to those of us who make the bad choice of keeping them in business. That's unacceptable. 

We need to let Walgreen's know that it is there to serve us. If it chooses to allow employees to insult and humiliate customers, it does not deserve our business. We should cut our partnership until and unless it stops indulging the worst instincts of the fanatical ideologues in its employ. 

Unless they come to their senses, let's cut them off and work to replace them with a partner that respects not only our needs, but also those of all Americans. If I wanted to go somewhere and be insulted, I'd go to frigging Tweed and talk to Chancellor Soaring High.

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