Walgreens pharmacists rally for fair pay and conditions across Chicago area

The National Pharmacists Association-LIUNA (NPhA-LIUNA), representing nearly 900 Walgreens pharmacists in Chicagoland, will begin demonstrating at 46 Walgreens stores throughout the Chicago area starting Thursday.

The aim is to advocate for improved pay and working conditions for Walgreens pharmacists.

Pharmacists have been working for nine months without a contract, and despite inflation increasing costs by 25 percent over the past seven years, the NPhA-LIUNA says Walgreens pharmacists have only received a two percent wage increment during that period.

Additionally, NPhA-LIUNA stated that in 2023, 74 percent of Walgreens' sales were derived from pharmacy services, while 26 percent came from retail.

"Despite being essential workers who played a pivotal role in guiding the country through the COVID crisis, Walgreens persists in exploiting us. We deserve a fair wage increase that reflects our contributions to the company. Additionally, we demand more reliable scheduling and adequate staff support with proper training," asserts Joe Pignataro, President of NPhA-LIUNA and a full-time Walgreens pharmacist. 

Pharmacists plan to conduct demonstrations at two to three Walgreens stores every weekday for the next four weeks.

A spokesperson released the following statement in response to the planned demonstrations:

"We deeply appreciate the work of our pharmacists, who are striving every day to achieve our shared vision of serving our communities and reimagining healthcare. Our leaders are in our pharmacies regularly, listening to concerns and responding to feedback. We have taken steps over the last two years to improve pharmacists’ experience, advance the profession and enable them to provide the high value care they were trained to do. We are fully committed to ensuring their contributions are acknowledged and rewarded, including with competitive pay and benefits, and are continuing to bargain in good faith with our Chicago area pharmacists in an effort to reach a new contract." 

Walgreens says it has implemented technological advancements and centralized services to alleviate pharmacy workloads, including new workflows. Additionally, the company says it is investing in pharmacist wages, virtual pharmacy integration and flexible scheduling models to recruit and retain talent while focusing on patient care during busy periods, aiming to enhance job satisfaction and optimize patient outcomes.