November 1, 2023
In a protest for workers’ rights, pharmacy employees at CVS and Walgreens have initiated a three-day walkout for more staffing and better working conditions.
Confirmed by Reuters on Oct. 30, the “Pharmageddon” protests hope to force the big-name franchises to approve and enforce new policies that ensure employees are not overworked while being understaffed. The mass involvement in the walkout, which was organized via social media platforms such as Facebook, led to the closing of several stores in New York City.
Nearly 5,000 employees were expected to participate, with technicians and pharmacists working together to advocate for their working conditions. However, according to organizer, Shane Jerominski, who previously worked as a pharmacist for Walgreens, it is hard to measure the scope of the walkout with no union established.
While the number of stores impacted remains unknown, he stated what issues led to the push for a walkout. Jerominski referred to understaffing prompted by the pandemic, which led to stressful and hectic shifts at the pharmacies.
“The pandemic just caused so much additional work and stress that the turnover rates (of staff), which were already very high, just became extremely epidemic,” he shared with the news outlet.
Without a union to help with negotiations, striking employees are taking a chance, despite the risk of retribution; but the trend is expanding to many industries, as workers everywhere begin to advocate for themselves.
In response to the walkouts, CVS and Walgreens stated that they were working with their employees to address the issues and promote a productive environment.
Walgreens assured that they are communicating with staff in the midst of the strife, “Our ongoing efforts are focused on how we recruit, retain, and reward our pharmacy staff.”
The business is expanding its micro fulfillment center to fill prescriptions, allowing pharmacy staff to focus more on patient care and lessen their work load. As the walkout is set to end after Nov. 1, protesting employees wait to see if any changes will come from the ordeal.
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