CVS and Walgreens Employees Preparing for Another Strike

Photo by Stephanie Rhee on Unsplash

( – Employees from leading pharmacy chains like CVS, Walgreens, and Rite Aid are gearing up for another collective action slated to start this upcoming Monday. The move comes in the wake of previous demonstrations, where workers in the pharmacy sector have been rallying for improved work environments. Coined “pharmageddon” by Shane Jerominski, a veteran pharmacist and one of the coordinators, the initiative aims to spotlight a series of pressing issues.

Between Monday and Wednesday, a concerted effort will see workers across these pharmacy chains calling in sick. This is not the first of its kind; an earlier demonstration saw 200 Walgreens locations facing absenteeism, closely followed by CVS workers in Kansas opting for a similar tactic. Jerominski notes that the grievances run deep, including a call for guaranteed working hours and enhanced pay rates for pharmacy technicians. Additionally, employees are advocating for a participative approach to scheduling that would involve pharmacy managers and pharmacists.

The overarching aim of these collective actions is multi-fold. Improved staffing levels in stores will not only ameliorate work-life balance for employees but could potentially mitigate errors, thereby enhancing patient safety. In a letter to Walgreens employees, the organizers highlighted their collective strength, saying, “We are a force to be reckoned with, and we will not stand idly by while our well-being and the well-being of those we serve are compromised.”

Although the scale of participation in this new round of action remains unclear, a social media poll conducted by Jerominski on his page “The Accidental Pharmacist” suggests considerable support. Over 2,000 respondents pledged their unqualified support, and an additional 1,442 indicated they would join if large numbers were involved.

Jerominski, who once worked for both Walgreens and CVS, is also organizing visible protests in front of the respective company headquarters, capitalizing on his social media influence to mobilize healthcare workers. With work conditions being a recurring issue in direct messages he receives, Jerominski believes the time is ripe for substantial change.

Companies like Rite Aid, CVS, and Walgreens have offered reassurances of their commitment to employee well-being, but the workers believe that more actionable steps are necessary, particularly when prescription backlogs and patient safety are at stake.

Both Jerominski and the anonymous pharmacist who initiated the first Walgreens walkout concur that with pharmacies focusing more on lucrative vaccine services, day-to-day tasks like prescription filling have taken a backseat, putting both staff and patient well-being in jeopardy. It’s a complicated issue, one that these collective actions aim to bring to the forefront for meaningful resolution.

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