Hundreds of Walgreens Pharmacy Workers Walk Out, Claiming Dangerous Conditions

NYPD police car parked outside Walgreens Pharmacy responding to shoplifting call, Queens,
Lindsey Nicholson/UCG/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Walgreens employees across the country are temporarily striking in protest of working conditions which “put their lives and your life in danger.”

Speaking with CNN, protest organizers within the drugstore chain claimed that over 500 of the corporation’s approximately 9,000 locations – about 5.5 percent – are interested in joining the walkout from Monday to Wednesday. The publication confirmed that some pharmacies at locations in the left-leaning states of Arizona, Washington, Massachusetts, and Oregon have already shut down due to the demonstrations. 

While several Walgreens have already been forced to close, many that remain open are reportedly severely understaffed, with the majority of employees not showing up for work. An organizer told the outlet that some stores will try to get by with only their drive-throughs staying operational, while others will eventually have to close.

Walgreens Pharmacy and store closing sign at entrance, Queens, New York. (Lindsey Nicholson/UCG/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

The complaints of the workers include being faced with increased demands to perform vaccinations and other medical tasks while having to deal with bullying and harassment from customers.

“It’s a hard job on a good day. It’s an incredibly rewarding job, but it’s hard,” interim executive director of the Kansas Pharmacists Association, Amanda Applegate, told the publication. “And so the idea of pharmacists essentially being turned into ATMs in these environments, encouraging volume over quality, is why this is happening.”

While there is no official union leader in charge of the coordinated protest, Walgreens employees have been spreading the word like wildfire via social media, word-of-mouth, and fliers. Under the “#OperationSpotlight” hashtag, pharmacy workers are making their voices heard.

“Dear Public, There is NOT a Shortage of Pharmacists, Technicians,” one protester displayed on a sign outside of a Walgreens store. “There is a shortage of pharmacy employees willing to work in conditions which put their lives and your life in danger!!”

According to Twitter user Bled Nguessan, who purports to be one of the striking employees, she is aware of around 200 stores nationwide that are either closed or suffering from staff walkouts.

However, while the Walgreens corporation has said they’ve “seen some activity” and are “monitoring” the situation, they refused to say if any specific locations had been impacted by the employee walkout.

“The vast majority of pharmacies are operating across the country,” the company said in a statement to CNN.

The protests come as Walgreens and other drugstores and retail stores across the country face closures due to excessive theft. As reported by the Daily Mail, CVS said in September that it will have closed 900 pharmacies – ten percent of their locations – by 2024, amid the increase in shoplifting.

According to KCTV5, several Kansas City, Missouri, area CVS locations have been shut down for over two weeks as their stores have faced similar walkouts over working in a “dangerous environment.”

 WATCH — CNN: San Francisco Walgreens We Visited Had 3 Thefts in 30 Minutes, Stores Are Locking up Lotion, Coffee


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.