Why pharmacy workers at CVS, Walgreens are walking out


Pharmacy workers say poor working conditions and understaffing are putting employees and patients at risk, with increased demands on staffers becoming untenable and preventing them from doing their jobs properly.

Walgreens and CVS workers are staging walkouts for three days starting Monday, organizers say, marking the second such job action this month by pharmacy staffs demanding better working conditions in the face of industry retrenchment.

Organizers say they hope the job action – on the heels of an Oct. 9 work stoppage by thousands of Walgreens pharmacists – will step up pressure on management to address concerns about wages and staffing shortfalls that pharmacy workers say could hurt patients.

“After years and years of trying to get the attention of the corporations about those issues, their inability to respond properly and their skillful ways to shift blame and lie to the public about the true essence of their practices, which have eventually led to this public crisis and unsafe conditions, employees really had enough,” said Bled Tanoe, a former Walgreens pharmacist who is helping to coordinate the walkouts.

Walkout organizers have not provided an estimate of the number of affected stores or participating employees. A Walgreens spokesman said only two of the retailer’s roughly 9,000 stores had been affected as of midafternoon Monday.

CVS spokeswoman Amy Thibault said it’s “business as usual” at the pharmacy chain. “We’re serving patients across our fo

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