Walgreens employees are planning another walkout later this month in protest of pharmacy working conditions.
The workers — which include pharmacists, technicians and support staff — say low pay and staffing issues have made it difficult for them to safely fill prescriptions. Some have already staged walkouts at a handful of Walgreens locations earlier this month, but organizers say they’re planning a major walkout from Oct. 30 through Nov. 1 — an especially busy time for stores as cold and flu season drives demand for medication and vaccinations.
It also coincides with Halloween.
In a statement, Walgreens acknowledged that pharmacists have been overworked but said the company is aggressively taking steps to address worker concerns.
“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,” Walgreen communications director Fraser Engerman told CNN. “We also understand the immense pressures felt across the US in retail pharmacy right now. We are engaged and listening to the concerns raised by some of our team members.”
The move by Walgreens employees follows similar trends in other health care sectors. In September, 22 CVS locations in the Kansas City area shut their doors in a planned walkout across a period of two weeks.
Heather Simons, who lives with pre-existing health conditions and requires medication, was frustrated to learn her local CVS was closed.
“I’m really proactive about vaccines,” Simons told Scripps News Kansas City. “Due to unforeseen circumstances, they canceled all appointments.”
Unlike union strikes, Walgreens workers do not have a central body to organize and have relied on things like social media, emails and fliers to plan the walkouts. There are 9,000 Walgreens locations across the U.S.