The present situation between Shoppers Drug Mart management, and their so titled “Pharmacist Owners”, also sometime referred to as “Associates” or “Franchisees”, has become a textbook example of the worst kind of intimidation and corporate bullying imaginable.

It has become so bad, that at least one former associate has now launched legal proceedings against the company for breach of contract.One wonders whether, since the takeover of SDM by Loblaw, this present though not recent approach by management represents the first step towards a change in business model.  This is left to speculation.

There is so much information, and so many examples of unethical tactics by SDM management, all designed to discourage and or punish any associate from daring to speak out against perceived injustices, that my one blog today cannot cover all the material.

It appears that any attempt by any SDM associate to align themselves with the United Association of Pharmacist Franchisees (UAPF) is met with a no holds barred aggressive response.  In many cases this response includes cancellation of the Associate Agreement and immediate removal of the associate from his/her store.  This usually happens at 9 AM of a given day, offsite (donut shops preferred), with little warning, followed by security personnel changing locks, and severe consequent trauma to staff.

SDM has undoubtedly retained the biggest and best law firms in the business to advise them.  In spite of this, their tactics appear clumsy and open to legal challenge. Curious what size and power can do.

SDM repeatedly professes no such anti UAPF/associate attitude exists, but evidence contradicts this.  One Ontario VP Operations has referred to the UAPF as “the 600 pound gorilla in the room”; they cannot even speak the name of their feared entity so they use euphemisms.

Over the course of the next several blogs, I intend to provide several real life examples of the kind of corporate behaviour by SDM management which you read about in management textbooks…corporate intimidation at its worst.

SDM’s tactics appear to be working on the short term.  Actual membership in UAPF today includes only about a third of the associates across Canada.  Interesting as well is the fact that the worst examples of corporate bullying appear to be occurring in Ontario where a so called ‘surplus’ of pharmacists provides more options to the company.

In all cases in my future blogs, I will refer only to real people and real events while avoiding people’s names to avoid embarrassment or repercussions.

Any embarrassment if any will belong to SDM.

As I prepare for a reaction, and if I am ever challenged, I will be able to provide facts; I will pass any veracity audit when/if necessary.

Look to this blog for validation of the thesis in today’s blog.  Many of you will nod your head but be reluctant to respond in the commentary section for understandable reasons (SDM will certainly be monitoring responses).


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