Is CVS Breaking Promises to OB Before Doors Have Even Opened?

by on August 5, 2014 · 58 comments

in Civil Rights, Economy, Labor, Ocean Beach, Organizing

Union to Flier Community Over CVS’s “Broken Promises” on Wed., August 6th

By Micah Mitrosky

CVS is coming to Ocean Beach. In doing so, they promised OB they would be good community partners. In fact, CVS agreed to a Community Benefits Package that included the following promise:

“CVS will provide 20-30 new highquality jobs to the community including strong training, pay, and benefit packages…CVS has the highest rated job satisfaction in its industry and will contribute these beneficial jobs to the Ocean Beach community by prioritizing qualified candidates from within the community in its hiring process.”

Now, with retrofits underway at their new OB location, CVS is quietly breaking their promise to the OB Community before the doors have even opened.

CVS is allowing an electrical contractor on the project that fails to provide all workers with prevailing community wages and cover the cost of good family healthcare. A bitter irony considering CVS prescription drugs are only affordable to families with good family healthcare benefits.

As has become the case more and more these days in America, CVS and their construction management are putting profits above people.

For far too long, large corporations, like CVS, have chipped away at good wages and benefits, stretching family budgets thinner and thinner and adversely affecting our communities.

IBEW (International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers) 569 fights for strong wages and middle-class benefits for working families throughout San Diego County including the families of over 30 of our members living in OB.

We believe CVS and their contractors should uphold their promise to provide strong pay and benefits and take seriously their responsibility to invest in OB’s community. This is why IBEW 569 will be joining local community members and allies on Wednesday to get the word out about what is happening at the CVS job site and take action:

WHAT: Fixing Broken Promises – CVS in OB

WHEN: Wednesday, August 6th, 5:05pm – 6:00pm

WHERE: CVS / APPLETREE SITE (Corner of Cable and Santa Monica)

To RSVP, visit


Micah Mitrosky, LEED Green Associate, is the Environmental Organizer for IBEW Local 569

{ 58 comments… read them below or add one }

da john August 5, 2014 at 12:53 pm

The contractor is probably hired by the building owner and not CVS as is normally the case with larger tenant improvements.

While I support the principal, and have been a union member since I was 15, the wording of the community benefit package is clearly talking about the people CVS will directly hire to work at the store

“CVS has the highest rated job satisfaction in its industry and will contribute these beneficial jobs to the Ocean Beach community by prioritizing qualified candidates from within the community in its hiring process.”

And honestly, how would they ever manage to get a company that has all union electricians that live in OB?

Will the IBEW be boycotting the dude that opens the new apple tree on Newport when that moves forward?

Remembering the state of the old location of apple tree I can’t imaging that guy is going to pony up prevailing wage.

Can’t blame them for protesting CVS for the name recognition, but it seems a tad disingenuous.


Debbie August 5, 2014 at 1:40 pm

daJohn….good points! Best to know the facts before jumping in

Also if the owners of the Old Apple Tree move forward who there be a protest not to allow them to have a liquor license?

Just curious on how the community feels and to say what’s good for the goose is good for the gander.


sean M August 5, 2014 at 3:16 pm

Clearly non union contractors were chosen.


Geoff Page August 5, 2014 at 3:21 pm

I can say from my experience in the construction industry that CVS hired the contractor, not the owner. CVS and the owner will have a contract together but that is for the business and to hold the owner harmless from the construction.


da john August 5, 2014 at 4:15 pm

Honestly what it does not matter one bit to OB who hired the contractor.

The real argument is whether or not the community benefits package is talking about the employees CVS hires directly to work in the store. If non union workers were the issue here why are there not protests at the new Newport Pizza, The OB Warehouse, or any of the other smaller TIs that happen on an almost weekly basis?

What’s happening is the IBEW is cherry picking the community benefits package wording to promote their agenda. I’m all for living wages that unions provide, Hell I made more as a LIUNA member than I do now in the white collar world. It really just stinks to have these guys making waves about breaking promises that were never really made.

My worry that giving such a big corporation bad press for such a non issue will make them less inclined to adhere to the community benefits package.


jeff August 6, 2014 at 6:27 pm

da John – Your comments about the Appletree owner are uninformed. The owners of Appletree had wanted to remodel the building and update it for years, however the building owners kept them from doing so saying that if any improvements were done to the building without their consent, it would nullify their contract which was very favorable to Appletree, thus forcing Appletree to operate in a crumbling store until the end of the lease, which, as you know, ended with the building owners not renewing Appletree’s lease in order to charge a lot more money to a national corporate chain.


da john August 6, 2014 at 10:09 pm

So do they plan on using union labor to build out their new store?


DonCharly August 12, 2014 at 12:52 am

I may have missed it.
CVS said that will do that to the employees of CVS.


Debbie August 5, 2014 at 1:41 pm

correction…..”will there be a”


Debbie August 5, 2014 at 2:11 pm

On another note….it never hurts to check out the health rating of a restaurant before you go there

This was posted on the UT site today…fyi

OB eatery
•Location: 4953 Newport Avenue in San Diego
•Closure citations: Two in April 2014
•Reason closed: Cockroach infestation; unsanitary food preparation area


Tyler August 5, 2014 at 3:38 pm

It closed down. Taika Sushi is now in that location.


SaneVoice August 5, 2014 at 5:16 pm

Maybe it hurts to actually read the information before posting it on the web ?


Debbie August 5, 2014 at 5:51 pm

Excuse me for not digging deeper….not sure when the restaurant changed hands but the SD Health Dept does not have the Health Rating listed for Taika so it must be a recent change.

Let’s hope the new owner knows how to clean otherwise it could HURT alot of people :-)


John August 6, 2014 at 8:24 pm

In the land where sushi was borne are not cockroaches some kind of delicacy?


Micah August 5, 2014 at 3:59 pm

Encourage you all to come out tomorrow so we can share more info and answer any questions you might have. Like you, IBEW 569 believes CVS needs to be a good community partner.


OB Dude August 5, 2014 at 4:37 pm

So what if CVS or the building owner (if this is NOT a triple net lease) hired a local contractor say Zed or Monty’s or Dover or Orange Cat Elect…..they are unionized so that would be no bueno?

IBEW out of OB :-)

I hope CVS will hire locals!


Geoff Page August 5, 2014 at 5:32 pm

I was only trying to correct an earlier post that said the building owner probably hired the contractor. I’m not advocating for union or non-union, although I believe in unions and was a union member for 12 years. But, projects like this usually go to non-union companies and non-union companies still provide jobs for folks. I think the CVS employee policy promise has been confused with the construction work.


da john August 5, 2014 at 6:30 pm

Right on Geoff, I totally agree with you.

In my personal experience the TI projects I’ve worked on with over $1 Million construction cost were contracted by the building owner. That being said, I guess each project is unique. :-)


Geoff Page August 6, 2014 at 10:10 am

Yes, I agree, da john, many TI’s are done through the owner and the costs are included in a long lease agreement. I think the difference here may be that when a chain company like CVS is involved, they have plans ready to go and oftentimes contractors lined up because they know exactly what they want and they do it over and over efficiently and quickly. It could be either, you’re right.


Andrew August 10, 2014 at 12:25 pm

Over 30 IBEW electricians and their families are your neighbors. They have free:healthcare for their families, continuous education, retirement, and a livable wage. All of these benefits in return, circulate back into the OB community. IBEW is a private organization built to better the lives of its members and their families.

CVS is a BIG corporation with over 7,600 stores and can afford to create GOOD jobs that benefit our communities in so many ways. CVS committed to a community benefit package which should support all jobs they are paying to have done.

Those of you that don’t understand what a union is, just remember “an injustice to one, is an injustice to all”. MLK.


da john August 11, 2014 at 7:12 am

Don’t co-op MLK for your CVS boycott.

The community benefit package was organized by community groups whose members volunteer their time outside of the full time work to fight for community interests.

Instead of taking a community issue and making it a stage for your interests your members should be volunteering with the OBTC the planning board or some other community organization. Volunteering in the community would also give your members the chance to promote your organization.

Coming in after the fact promoting trickle down economics of your members wages is straight carpetbaging.


Andrew August 11, 2014 at 7:23 pm

To white collar worker DA John
Why do you have such a negative attitude? You said you were a laborer, so you should know the fight and struggles. You don’t have your facts straight either, you assume a lot. Also you did not make an attempt to understand our issues when you were invited to join us last week, but it seems you probably do understand and choose to try and divide the community issues for your own personal agenda. You choose to avoid the questions I ask below which are the issues at hand.

Question, do you think the workers that would work in the new CVS deserve family healthcare, good wages and retirement, but the workers building the new CVS funded by CVS don’t deserve the same? Or maybe you think neither deserve them?


Barbara Latham August 5, 2014 at 6:45 pm

I’m still offended that we lost our grocery store and somebody thought a second drug store and more liquor sales was a good idea. I suggest we boycott C VS.


Tyler August 6, 2014 at 6:33 am

So you’d rather that property still sit empty and blighted? Because no amount of complaining is going to change the fact that no one else was willing to rent it.


John August 6, 2014 at 8:29 pm

Thats bizarre to even make an issue of the liquor sales. If there was no CVS do you think it would make it hard to find booze in OB? Thats the point and its silly.


nostalgic August 5, 2014 at 7:40 pm

People should be aware that CVS provides a viable alternative to Rite-Aide. Or maybe that’s the point. Part of the CVS/Caremark Corporation, 68% of its business is from the Pharmacy, and people who have Caremark Prescription Service will have the ability to obtain medication without leaving OB. For people with health services needs, CVS often has walk-in clinics. The CVS Caremark Charitable Trust was established to provide funding for health care, education and community involvement initiatives in communities where CVS/pharmacy stores are located. Yes, it is a large corporation. We would rather have kept Adler’s Pharmacy, but didn’t. We shopped elsewhere.


Tyler August 6, 2014 at 6:36 am

Part of me wants to email CVS corporate about to project just to show them that not everyone in the community is fervently against them. Totally agree with John here. This is misguided and ridiculous.


sean M August 6, 2014 at 9:00 am

Cvs employees are union. Ibew throws their brothers under the bus for due $.


Jeffeck August 6, 2014 at 9:00 am

With this one, there will be 3 CVS’s in the local area and still no full fledged grocery store in OB. I hope the Apple Tree folks can provide a decent solution. It would also be nice to have the Newport location free from blight and less vulnerable to occupation by the homeless/travelers that have adopted the front of the building and the parking lots between Starbux and the old B of A building.


Renee August 6, 2014 at 9:39 am

IMO, CVS promised to be a strong community partner in OB and I think that means they should make sure that all workers get good family healthcare – including construction workers. Wouldn’t it be ridiculous if the workers building CVS couldn’t afford CVS prescriptions for their family? As Micah pointed out – large corporations need to invest in their workers instead of looking for the lowest bid possible at the expense of working families.


Mark August 6, 2014 at 12:29 pm



Steve August 6, 2014 at 11:10 pm

No kidding. The line in Rite Aid is worse than the post office.


Seth August 7, 2014 at 10:24 am

Neither here nor there, really, but a couple of years back, one of the Rite-Aid employees sent my wife a friend request on Facebook. That would be whatever, but she had barely ever spoken to him and had never even given him her name, which he obviously got from her photo order earlier that day. No, bro… not creepy at all.

All good, but just one of several things that have left me saying, “you know, it’s really not that good a store.” So long as most of the employees end up with comparable jobs at CVS, not too bummed out with whatever happens to the place.


Geoff Page August 7, 2014 at 10:34 am

I would have had serious speaks with that gentleman. And Rite Aid would have heard from me as well.


Seth August 7, 2014 at 11:49 am

I just attributed it to his being socially awkward and not really understanding how social media works. They might have fired the guy, and it was just easier for her to hit ignore and forget about it. Still preposterous and creepy, though.


Geoff Page August 7, 2014 at 12:49 pm

Well then maybe not speak to Rite Aid but definitely him. It’s easy to write it off the way you did, and generous, but it’s concerning. People like this may take it further, especially since he was ignored. Not second-guessing your actions, just offering my own reaction. The world is too full of dangerous people who look just like you and I.


Mari August 6, 2014 at 2:54 pm

CVS is awful. Awful. Awful. Awful. They will flat out will refuse to wait on your at the counter and will make you use their self check out machines. I don’t know about you but If I’m going to use a self check-out then I better be getting a discount for doing someone elses job. They are incredibly expensive and unhelpful. Rite-Aid has excellent customer service and I vow to NEVER step inside OB’s CVS. Never. Who’s with me!!!


da john August 6, 2014 at 3:17 pm

Not me. You must be thinking of a different Rite Aid than the one in OB because that one always has an insane line, and when you get to the cashiers they are usually pretty worn out from staring at a throng of grumpy people.

Complaining about ringing up a few of your own things is kind of funny though.


MC August 6, 2014 at 3:19 pm

I’ve seriously never had a consistently horrible experience anywhere besides that Rite Aid. Maybe CVS coming will entice them to up their game. Simply go to their Yelp page and read the horrible reviews, one after another… I can’t wait for CVS


Aging Hippie August 6, 2014 at 3:27 pm

I’ve noticed that if the line at Rite Aid gets to be longer than about 5 people, and there are 2 cashiers, one will leave and leave the other one to handle all the customers. It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.


John August 6, 2014 at 8:31 pm

Im with Mari on this.


PJ August 6, 2014 at 9:35 pm

I loathe Rite-Aid & its consistently long lines. It’s insulting as a customer to have to deal with it time & time again. Also insulted by their [not so] undercover civilian security force that starts to follow me around the store when I take too long deciding between which face wash, etc I want to buy. I sadly see CVS as a glimmer of hope to put Rite Aid out of business and have a grocery store go in there instead. Ok, maybe that’s a little harsh but hopefully it will help with the line issue…


PJ August 6, 2014 at 9:36 pm

I meant ‘civilian-clothed’ security force


John August 6, 2014 at 11:06 pm

Fair enough and though I have on a few times stood in line I look at it like hey there are other people doing what I am doing when I want to do it and it’s sometimes a crowded world. I am more annoyed by the prices and lousy selection at CVS. Most of Rite Aids employees are Obecians and have been there a long time.


Steve August 6, 2014 at 11:12 pm

Self checkout is exactly what Rite Aid needs.


Goatskull August 7, 2014 at 8:22 am

Never had that problem with the CVS in Hillcrest.


Goatskull August 7, 2014 at 8:24 am

Just because the one you went to doesn’t mean th OB one will be that way. Like I said I never had that problem as you describe at the CVS I go to.


Mari August 7, 2014 at 10:36 am

Da John,
Complaining about ringing up a few of my things? On numerous occasions I had gone into CVS on WPL carrying my 1 year son and the not one employee even made themselves visible not to mention asked if I needed any help. Have you ever tried ringing up your own items with a 1 year old running around? Not easy and it doesn’t happen anywhere else!!


da john August 8, 2014 at 7:01 am

Nope, I don’t have kids. I’m not really sure it’s CVS’ job to have cashiers over self checkout because its a service you think you are guaranteed. Welcome to capitalism, if you don’t like self checkout shop somewhere else.


Debbie August 8, 2014 at 8:16 am

Self check out…kind of like getting your own soft drinks in a restaurant. You either like it or don’t.

Self check out at Fresh N Easy works great…IMO


Goatskull August 8, 2014 at 9:19 am

To be fair I don’t think Mari is implying that it IS a service that she’s guaranteed. I disagree with her about boycotting the whole chain just because of her had experience (being that the one I go to in Hillcrest has never been a problem), but she’s doing exactly what you suggested by shopping deciding to shop somewhere else and encouraging others to do so. Whether or not they will is up to them.


Jon August 8, 2014 at 9:22 am



nostalgic August 8, 2014 at 3:42 am

If you don’t like CVS on WPL, try the one in Loma Square. WPL used to be Long’s Drugstore I believe, and Loma Square was Sav-On. On all counts, both Rite Aide and CVS are BIG corporations. And so is Subway and so US Bank and so is Starbucks. If you don’t want CVS, go look at the new building going up on the beach at the foot of Saratoga. That’s the future.


Mari August 11, 2014 at 11:04 am

Self Check out is like going to one of those grill your own steak restaurants….what’s the point? They are not faster, I spend half the time looking for that unidentified item in the bagging area.

PS- Thank you Captain da John Obvious, that’s my point.


OB Dude August 11, 2014 at 11:41 am

Sometimes is more fun that to just stand in line and count the minutes until you are up and not have to watch people glued to their cell phone :-)

There is an advantage.


da john August 11, 2014 at 2:15 pm

I thought the point was that you thought you deserved a discount because you were doing someones job for them. I disagree with that view and think it is silly.

People go to those cook your own food restaurants because they think it’s fun not because they are trying to save some cash by cutting out the waiter.


DonCharly August 12, 2014 at 12:51 am

I may have missed it.
CVS said that will do that to the employees of CVS.


Mari August 12, 2014 at 12:31 pm

The point is CVS’ customer service sucks. I don’t like to be forced to use a self check out counter that’s what the employees are for.


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