How Are 'Pharmageddon' Walkouts Impacting Business?

Some Walgreens, CVS, Rite Aid workers stage work stoppage
Lynn Petrak
Senior Editor
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Pharmacists on the job
Several individual, non-unionized pharmacists are walking off their jobs at Walgreens, CVS and Rite-Aid this week, with many claiming unsafe working conditions due to staffing shortages.

In a move that has been dubbed “Pharmageddon,” workers at many retail pharmacies are walking off the job this week. From Oct. 30 to Nov. 1, pharmacy employees at various CVS, Walgreens and Rite Aid locations are expressing their concerns about fair wages and staff shortages by stopping work. 

This cross-banner labor action follows earlier walkouts at Walgreens and CVS stores. The workers are not represented by unions in their action. 

[Read more: “Walgreens Pharmacists Walk Off the Job”]

The affected retailers continue to operate their business to the best of their abilities. In a statement shared with several media outlets, CVS Pharmacy reported that its pharmacies remain open: “We're serving patients across our footprint today and we're not seeing any unusual activity regarding unplanned pharmacy closures or pharmacist walkouts.”

Walgreens, for its part, reported that three of its U.S. stores temporarily closed on Oct. 30. A spokesperson told the Los Angeles Times that a small number of pharmacies experienced workforce disruptions but "nearly all of our 9,000 locations continue to serve our patients and customers."

So far, none of the affected retailers have posted statements to their social media pages. 

Meanwhile, an ongoing labor dispute continues at another retail business. Following a 99% vote to authorize a strike, nearly 700 warehouse workers at Smart & Final are holding a two-day “practice strike” this week amid negotiations with the Chedraui-owned banner. Employees at two Smart & Final warehouses in California joined the Teamsters Local 730 union earlier this year. 

Deerfield, Ill.-based Walgreens, which operates nearly 9,000 retail locations across the United States, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, is No. 5 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2023 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America. With its CVS Pharmacy subsidiary operating almost 10,000 locations nationwide, CVS Health is No. 7 on PG’s list. Employing more than 6,300 pharmacists, Philadelphia-based Rite Aid operates 2,200-plus retail pharmacy locations. The company is No. 22 on The PG 100. Commerce, Calif.-based Smart & Final was acquired in 2021 by Chedraui USA. That business is a subsidiary of Mexican supermarket operator Grupo Comercial Chedraui, which is No. 48 on The PG 100,

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