Thousands of Walgreens Pharmacy Workers in US Resign from Jobs, Claiming Working Conditions Endanger Patient Lives
- Thousands of employees will walk out of stores in protest against the difficult regulations and vaccination expectations
- Employees at more than 500 of Walgreens’ 9,000 stores nationwide have expressed interest and solidarity in ‘Operation Spotlight’
Walgreens employees, pharmacists, technicians and support staff will leave their jobs next week in protest at the conditions, they say they threaten the health and safety of patients.
The protests will start on October 9 and run until October 11. Workers have the option to protest for as long as they want between three days, organizers say.
It’s being done in response to what pharmacy officials call “challenging prescription and vaccination expectations.”
Employees at more than 500 of Walgreens’ 9,000 stores nationwide have expressed interest and solidarity in “Operation Spotlight.”
“My pharmacy has traditionally been the top of the chain, but these corporate demands are unrealistic and unfair to us and our patients,” one employee wrote in a social media post about the protests.
Thousands of employees will walk out of stores in protest against the difficult regulations and vaccination expectations
One employee used social media to protest working conditions and organize the walkout
Employees at more than 500 of Walgreens’ 9,000 stores nationwide have expressed interest and solidarity in ‘Operation Spotlight’
One Walgreens employee took to Reddit to explain the situation at their pharmacy.
They wrote: “I spent hours explaining to patients why we made an appointment with them for a vaccine we didn’t have. I have also given over 100 vaccines in one day, all by myself, with over 600 leaflets on the counter.
“I asked for help and expressed my concerns, just as you did. They call you all whiners and tell you you’re “not meeting expectations.” When will they meet our expectations? When are they going to give us the support to meet our patients’ expectations?’
The unnamed Reddit user also goes into detail about what other workers can do during the protest, including contacting their local Board of Pharmacy and news outlets.
‘Contact your local pharmacy immediately! Walgreens cannot do anything to penalize you for reporting safety concerns. There are whistleblower protections in every state.
‘Report this madness. Report the inhumane working conditions. Report the negligence and abuse our patients experience. Report the dangers our patients face as a result of the unsafe environment Walgreens has created.
“Call the local news and let them know what’s going on. Anonymous is fine, in front of the camera even better. As a whistleblower you are protected. I already have a big interview planned with the news broadcast. Contact us yourself. Let’s make this big.’
Another Reddit user provides steps on how employees can contact their local pharmacy
‘There have been nights when I was on the verge of tears because it was so hard. I had a patient bump his fist and tell me I was doing a good job, and that meant so much to me. The patients care more about us than about the employer,” said a pharmacist
Walgreens said in an email response that it was engaged and listened to the concerns of some of its team members
Another Reddit user provides steps on how employees can contact their local pharmacy.
He wrote, “I think we all know at this point that Walgreens isn’t going to change on its own. In that sense, I would like you to put pressure on our pharmaceutical boards. These facilities are set up to ensure our patients are safe.”
Walgreens said in an email response that it was engaged and listened to the concerns of some of its team members.
“We are making significant investments in pharmacist wages and hiring bonuses to attract/retain talent in harder-to-reach locations,” the company said.
A pharmacist told me CNN: “There have been nights when I have been on the verge of tears because of how hard it is. I had a patient give me a fist bump and tell me I was doing a good job, and that meant so much to me. The patients care more about us than the employer.’
This comes a week after CVS agreed to increase hiring at its stores to ease workloads, which sometimes made it difficult for employees to take bathroom breaks.
Pharmacists at at least a dozen CVS pharmacies in the Kansas City area didn’t show up for work in September and planned to be away again until the company sent its chief pharmacist with promises to fill open positions and expand its workforce expand.
It was one of the latest examples from workers across the country fed up enough take action. But unlike the ongoing strikes at the car manufacturers or inside Hollywoodthe pharmacists did not demand a pay increase or more vacation, but more employees to help them.
It’s unclear why workload concerns, common across the industry, led to a work stoppage in Kansas City. The pharmacists involved are not members of a union and have not spoken publicly, so it is not entirely clear how satisfied they are with the company’s response.