Walgreens Workers Are Planning Another Strike—Will Your Prescriptions Be Affected?
Pharmacy staff are set to walk out again after their first major protest earlier this month.
Picking up your prescriptions is not always an easy feat—especially this past year, as a number of medications, from Adderall to common antibiotics, have been in short supply across the country. And now, there's a new hurdle you might have to overcome: pharmacist protests. After conducting a walkout earlier this month, Walgreens workers are now planning another strike against the company. Read on to find out how your prescriptions might be affected.
Walgreens workers staged a walk out.
Around Oct. 9, Walgreens customers in different states reported that their pharmacies were closed unexpectedly. These closures affected locations in Arizona, Washington, Massachusetts, and Oregon, among others, as part of a major protest from the chain's workers, CNN reported.
One of the strike's organizers told the news outlet that Walgreens pharmacists, technicians, and support staff across the country had planned walkouts from Oct. 9 to Oct. 11, and that they had heard from well over 500 U.S. stores interested in participating.
Another strike is set to happen soon.
The protests are far from over. In fact, Walgreens workers are planning to walk out once again, CNN reported. Pharmacy staff and organizers in multiples states have confirmed that they will be participating in another strike at the end of the month.
The walkouts are set to occur from Oct. 30 to Nov. 1. Shane Jerominski, an independent pharmacist who used to work for Walgreens and is one of the walkout's organizers, told CNN that he has been working with representatives from unions to plan walkouts starting the day before Halloween. This is typically a busy time for pharmacy chains because it marks the beginning of cold and flu season, as well as a time in which demand for vaccinations increases.
You may experience trouble picking up prescriptions at the end of the month.
Walgreens told CNN that the impact from the previous protest in October had been "minimal." According to the company, around 20 stores out of about 9,000 had "disruptions over three days" between Oct. 9 and Oct. 11. But Walgreens walkout organizers told CNN that their tally of participants for the next walkout is much higher, at about 600 employees—and they're already hoping that the strike spreads nationwide.
Either way, you could end up facing problems picking up your prescriptions or getting vaccinated at the end of the month, as the previous smaller walkout did leave some customers high and dry.
"Scheduled a booster/flu shot appointment today and the Walgreens pharmacy is just closed all day, without warning," one person wrote in an X post on Oct. 9.
Another noted a few days after, "Dear @Walgreens, I haven't been able to fill my heart meds for aweek [sic] because the pharmacy is eternally closed. What is happening to this establishment? I need the medication to live."
Some blamed the strike directly for trouble getting their medication.
"Our local @Walgreens was still taking and scheduling appointments and prescriptions at closed pharmacies from the walkout and now is refusing to allow the RX to be transferred to another pharmacy even though they can't fill it. PATHETIC," one X user wrote.
Walgreens says it is "listening to concerns" from its workers.
Pharmacy staff at Walgreens are protesting against working conditions they say make it hard to fill prescriptions in a safe manner. Some claim that the company pressures its workers to reach certain targets without providing adequate staffing or resources to do so—which they say is putting customers at risk of prescription fill errors or accidental needle sticks during vaccinations, USA Today reported.
"I was asked recently, 'Why would you want to close the pharmacy for a few days; that's not good for patients,'" one of the Walgreens pharmacists who participated in the first walkout told the news outlet. "I think a lot of pharmacists haven't done it because we don't want to cause harm. But are we going to cause harm all day every day? Or are we going to inconvenience people for a few days in a way that might evoke change?"
For its part, Walgreens has maintained that it is committed to working with its pharmacy staff.
"The last few years have required an unprecedented effort from our team members, and we share their pride in this work—while recognizing it has been a very challenging time," the company said in a statement previously provided to Best Life. "We also understand the immense pressures felt across the U.S. in retail pharmacy right now."
They added, "We are engaged and listening to the concerns raised by some of our team members. We are committed to ensuring that our entire pharmacy team has the support and resources necessary to continue to provide the best care to our patients while taking care of their own wellbeing. We are making significant investments in pharmacist wages and hiring bonuses to attract/retain talent."