Mostly non-unionized employees at CVS Health Corp. and Walgreens Boots Alliance drugstores have walked off the job in protest about harsh working conditions.
Reuters said the three-day walkout of thousands of pharmacy workers began on Monday and has been dubbed “Pharmageddon” on various social media platforms, like X and Facebook.
The protest garnered support from the American Pharmacists Association, the largest advocacy group for pharmacy workers, which expressed:
APhA stands with every pharmacist who participated in the walkout today. The bottom line is that we support every pharmacist’s right to work in an environment with staffing that supports your ability to provide patient care. We know that these are steps you deem necessary in order to be heard by your employer.
Reuters spoke with Shane Jerominski, an ex-Walgreens pharmacist and one of the organizers of the protest, who said it’s unclear how many stores are affected nationwide by the walkout. He noted at least 5,000 pharmacy workers are participating in the non-unionized labor action.
Workers at Walgreens and CVS have staged walkouts before. Several pharmacies in the US were closed in Arizona, Washington, Massachusetts, and Oregon in September and early October over labor action disputes. Walgreens told CNN the current labor action is only impacting operations “minimally.”
The Facebook page “The Accidental Pharmacist,” with its 122,000 followers – many of whom are pharmacists and technicians – has been actively sharing updates regarding the ongoing walkout.
This latest labor action comes as workers are getting record-breaking pay hikes thanks to strategic strikes, according to Bloomberg.
“We are seeing an incredible moment of worker power,” Acting US Labor Secretary Julie Su said in an interview.
Su said, “We said that essential workers matter, and now workers are saying, ‘Let’s really figure out what that looks like.'”
The drugstore walkout shows a new labor movement emerges.