Details fuzzy as CVS, Walgreens walkouts set to start

'Pharmageddon' is the nickname for a planned walkout by pharmacists at U.S. drugstore chains set to begin Oct. 30, although there is no count for how many workers will participate.

Pharmacists employed by Walgreens, CVS and Rite Aid are not unionized, resulting in scant information about how many people or how many locations could be affected by the planned walkout from Oct. 30 through Nov. 1, according to NBC News

Shane Jerominski, an independent pharmacist and walkout organizer, said the protest could affect "hundreds of stores across different chains," CNBC reports. He noted that 'Pharmageddon' organizers do not have a firm count, but noted interest in the demonstration from pharmacy staff in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, California, Texas, Michigan, Missouri and Indiana.

An Oct. 29 Reddit thread devoted to Walgreens pharmacy staff asks how many are participating in 'Pharmageddon' Oct. 30 and urges pharmacists to call in sick. It drew 15 responses. 

"Planning to call out 15 minutes before shift!" one user responded. "The time is now. Hopefully these walk outs can cause the company to change policies. Pharmacies need more support!" 

In comments to CNBC, Walgreens did not acknowledge tentative walkout plans, and CVS Health said the company isn't seeing any "unusual activity regarding unplanned pharmacy closures or pharmacist walkouts currently." Rite Aid did not share a comment with CNBC

CVS has more than 30,000 pharmacists, 70,000 pharmacy technicians and approximately 9,500 CVS Pharmacy locations in the U.S. Walgreens has more than 86,000 healthcare providers, including pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and other positions, across more than 8,700 Walgreens drugstores in all 50 states. There are approximately 2,100 Rite Aid locations across 17 states. 

Walgreens pharmacy workers organized a walkout earlier in October after seeing success from pharmacy workers calling out sick at 22 CVS locations in the Kansas City metropolitan area. 

Walkout organizers have said the protests are in response to pharmacies' unreasonable performance demands, understaffing, patient situations escalating in violence, and limited resources, such as the lack of mandatory training hours for incoming staff. 

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