Some Walgreens Pharmacists Walk Out Over 'Harsh' Conditions

Walgreens walkout follows two others last month by CVS staff who also cited poor conditions that put patients and staff at risk.

A Walgreens store is seen in Miami, Florida.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Pharmacists, technicians and support staff at various Walgreens stores in several states have staged walkouts this week, citing “harsh working conditions that make it difficult to safely fill prescriptions,” according to multiple media reports and first reported by CNN.

The strike, which is expected to end October 11, resulted in pharmacy closures at the retail pharmacy chain's stores in Arizona, Massachusetts, Oregon and Washington, according to the report. Some stores remain open with minimal staff, while others are only operating their drive-thru pharmacies or are reducing hours, the report noted.

The walkouts follow the resumption of work for more than 75,000 Kaiser Permanente healthcare workers after a three day strike earlier this month, as Kiplinger previously reported. Kaiser and the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions are set to resume contract negotiations on October 12 and 13, even as the union makes plans for a potential second strike next month if a labor contract deal is not reached.

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At Walgreens, the walkouts have resulted in "disruptions" at a small number of its pharmacies, the company told CNN in a statement. It also told the news network that it is working to resume regular operations at those pharmacies as soon as possible, according to the CNN report.

Walgreens employees are not unionized. The walkouts are being coordinated via social media platforms, most notably Reddit.

Walgreens did not respond to Kiplinger's request for comment.

CVS pharmacists held walkouts last month

The strike comes on the heels of two walkouts last month by nearly a dozen pharmacists at 22 CVS locations in the Kansas City area, according to media reports. The CVS pharmacists also cited poor working conditions relating to, for example, staffing and quotas, that put patients and pharmacists at risk, according to a September 22 USA Today report.

The walkout ended following successful negotiations with CVS in which the company committed to a series of improvements, including additional staffing and paid overtime, according to a September 28 USA Today report.

A CVS spokesperson told Kiplinger in a statement that the company is committed to providing access to consistent, safe, high-quality health care for the patients and communities it serves.

"We are working with our pharmacists to directly address any concerns they may have,” the spokesperson said. “We’re focused on developing a sustainable, scalable action plan to support both our pharmacists and our customers, that can be put in place in markets where support may be needed so we can continue delivering the high-quality care our patients depend on.”

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Joey Solitro

Joey Solitro is a freelance financial journalist at Kiplinger with more than a decade of experience. A longtime equity analyst, Joey has covered a range of industries for media outlets including The Motley Fool, Seeking Alpha, Market Realist, and TipRanks. Joey holds a bachelor's degree in business administration.