CVS, Walgreens and Rite Aid pharmacy workers walking off job

Pharmacy store workers across the country will reportedly stage a nationwide walkout starting Monday to protest what they say are unsafe working conditions that put both employees and patients at risk.

Workers at places like Walgreens, CVS and Rite Aid say low pay and staffing issues have made it difficult for them to safely fill prescriptions. Some have already staged walkouts at a handful of Walgreens locations, but organizers said earlier this month that they’re planning a major walkout from Oct. 30 through Nov. 1.

The expected walkout — dubbed “Pharmageddon” — comes at an especially busy time for stores as cold and flu season drives demand for medication and vaccinations. It also coincides with Halloween.

In a statement, Walgreens acknowledged that pharmacists have been overworked but said the company is aggressively taking steps to address worker concerns. 

“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,” Walgreen communications director Fraser Engerman told CNN. “We also understand the immense pressures felt across the US in retail pharmacy right now. We are engaged and listening to the concerns raised by some of our team members.” 

The latest expected walkout follows similar trends in other health care sectors. In September, 22 CVS locations in the Kansas City area shut their doors in a planned walkout across a period of two weeks.