KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Walgreens pharmacists walked off the job Monday at certain stores across the country.
It comes after similar walkouts last month at CVS locations right here in the Kansas City metro.
Local customers FOX4 talked to had heard about the news of Walgreens walkouts before we caught up with them. They decided to buy their medications now before they risk the pharmacy being closed at a later date.
Walgreens pharmacy workers are calling for more staff, but some customers said every industry is short-staffed right now.
“Ever since COVID happened and so many people have had to work from home and so many people have lost jobs, I think a lot of people have just been rethinking everything,” KCK resident James Humphrey said in an interview with FOX4 Monday.
Humphrey understands pharmacists wanting more staff, but if his mom Ruth can’t get her medication because of a walkout from Walgreens employees, he won’t be too happy.
“She has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, so I want to make sure she gets her medication,” Humphrey said with his mom Ruth next to him.
Walgreens spokesman Marty Maloney released the following statement to FOX4:
“A small number of our pharmacies are experiencing disruptions and we apologize for any inconvenience. We are working to return these pharmacies to regular operations as quickly as possible. Nearly all of our 9,000 locations continue to serve our patients and customers.”
“Our pharmacy teams work tirelessly to serve our communities — from administering life-saving vaccines, to helping patients receive prescriptions and health screenings — especially this time of year, during which we see some of the highest rates of respiratory illnesses and seasonal vaccinations.
“The last few years have required an unprecedented effort from our team members, and we share their pride in this work — while recognizing it has been a very challenging time.
“We also understand the immense pressures felt across the U.S. in retail pharmacy right now. We are engaged and listening to the concerns raised by some of our team members. We are committed to ensuring that our entire pharmacy team has the support and resources necessary to continue to provide the best care to our patients while taking care of their own wellbeing. We are making significant investments in pharmacist wages and hiring bonuses to attract/retain talent.”
As of Monday afternoon, FOX4 had not heard of any Kansas City-area stores where pharmacies had closed because of pharmacists and techs walking off the job.
“We spoke with the Board of Pharmacy earlier today,” Kansas Pharmacists Association Director of Practice Development Amanda Applegate told FOX4 Monday.
“Pharmacies are legally obligated to reach out to the board and let them know if they have unexpected closures, and I know, as of about 11 this morning, the board had not been able to confirm any closures.”
Applegate hopes leaders at large corporations like CVS or Walgreens understand that the health care professionals have stuck it out as long as they can — and they’ve reached a breaking point.
“So whether or not there are closures today, closures at the end of the month, which are also called for as well too, is that attention has been gotten, and that’s an important piece of this process,” Applegate said.
Two weeks ago, Applegate said there were about 20 CVS closures across the Kansas City metro when pharmacists there walked off the job.
During the CVS walkout, corporate staff flew to Kansas City to meet with organizers and work on making changes.