Walgreens CEO Tim Wentworth recently commended the company’s pharmacy staff during an earnings call, despite failing to address the recent three-day protest walkouts over poor working conditions. Employees in the pharmacy department have been expressing dissatisfaction for years, citing issues such as understaffing and burdensome work expectations imposed by corporate management.
These concerns have only been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic, as pharmacy employees were tasked with additional responsibilities such as testing and administering vaccinations. As Wentworth prepares to take on the CEO role on October 23rd, he will undoubtedly need to address the growing labor pressure that Walgreens faces.
Another challenge awaiting Wentworth is the profit squeeze caused by the falling demand for Covid products and Walgreens’ transition into a large health-care company. Nonetheless, Wentworth remains optimistic about the future, sharing a positive experience he had with a Walgreens employee in Rochester, New York. This encounter, and similar experiences, influenced his decision to join Walgreens.
In response to the recent walkouts, Walgreens issued a statement earlier this week, acknowledging the hard work of its pharmacy teams and the unprecedented effort required from team members in recent years. However, it remains unclear whether management has made any changes to address employee demands, which include increased staffing, payroll transparency, advance notice of staff and schedule changes, and mandatory training for new hires.
Pharmacy employees at Walgreens bear a wide range of responsibilities, including filling prescriptions, administering vaccines, dealing with insurance companies, performing Covid and flu testing, and managing customer complaints. These responsibilities, coupled with the ongoing issue of understaffing, create a challenging work environment for these employees.
As Walgreens moves forward under new leadership, it is evident that addressing the concerns of pharmacy staff is crucial for the company’s overall success. Providing adequate staffing, improving working conditions, and meeting employee demands should be at the top of Wentworth’s agenda to ensure a positive and productive work environment for Walgreens employees.