Walgreens to close thousands of stores on Thanksgiving, marking a first

Walgreens will close locations outside of its 24-hour stores on Thanksgiving Day — a first for the company announced weeks after pharmacists at U.S. drugstore chains staged a walkout. 

"We have consistently heard from our team members — who are the face of Walgreens — that time off is a meaningful way for us to demonstrate we value them," Tracey Brown, Walgreens' chief customer officer and president of retail said in the Nov. 16 announcement shared with Becker's. "We heard them, are committed to listening to their feedback and are dedicated to doing what is right for them. We hope they can enjoy the holiday and spend time with their loved ones."  

Walgreens operates more than 8,700 drugstores with a presence in all 50 states. 

Nearly all 700 of Walgreens' 24-hour locations will remain open on the Nov. 23 holiday to "help meet the healthcare needs of our customers" via prescription access, pharmacist advice and medication management. Some Walgreens distribution centers and other sites will maintain operations on the holiday. 

The time off follows demonstrated discontent among U.S. pharmacists at retail pharmacies, who banded together to plan a walkout dubbed 'Pharmageddon' for CVS, Rite Aid and Walgreens locations Oct. 30 through Nov. 1. While there is no way to confirm how many pharmacists and pharmacy technicians participated at a national level, estimates and reports suggest a quiet turnout

Organizers of the grassroots labor action have created an organization, the Pharmacy Guild, that now seeks to unionize the workforce and advocate for safer working conditions at the pharmacies. 

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