Most Kansas City CVS pharmacies remained open Wednesday despite a planned second wave of pharmacist walk-outs in the metro area and beyond.
Pharmacists at Kansas City area CVS locations, many of them inside Target stores, walked off the job late last week to demand better working conditions.
Their grievances included CVS leadership cutting hours, reducing the availability of pharmacy technicians and attempting to relocate Target-based pharmacists to standalone CVS stores.
California-based pharmacist Shane Jerominski, a former CVS employee and online organizer attempting to unionize pharmacists nationwide, told The Star that a second wave of walkouts was planned for Wednesday.
USA Today also reported Wednesday that strikes were planned, adding that CVS executives met with Kansas City pharmacists Tuesday night. Prem Shah, CVS’ chief pharmacy officer, then issued a memo promising “immediate” changes like filling vacant staff positions and improving pharmacists’ workflow.
“I want to apologize to our pharmacy teams that we haven’t addressed these concerns in the region more quickly,” Shah wrote.
The Star reached out to 17 Target locations in the metro as well as six standalone CVS stores Wednesday morning, and found only one that was closed. One other is operating with reduced hours, and several more were not reachable.
How many CVS pharmacies are closed in Kansas City?
The Star contacted 17 Target locations containing CVS pharmacies Wednesday morning. Of the 12 that answered their phones, only one said that their pharmacy is closed today: the location in the Oak Park Mall at 11501 W. 97th Street in Overland Park.
One other location, at 6100 Broadmoor Street in Mission, will close at 2:30 p.m. today. It’s unclear whether this early close is a result of short staffing or other strike related adjustments.
The Star also called a selection of six standalone CVS locations around the metro. All of them were open for regular business.
Is your local CVS closed unexpectedly? Let the Service Journalism team know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Are Kansas City’s CVS pharmacists unionized?
Kansas City area CVS pharmacists are not part of an officially recognized union. While various unions represent employees at some CVS stores, there is no national union for pharmacists or CVS workers.
Technically, that means those who walk off the job are engaging in coordinated collective action rather than an “official” strike. This may involve taking sick days in tandem to put pressure on their employer without risking losing their jobs for not showing up to work.
The unofficial nature of the recent walkouts has made the results for patients vary from pharmacy to pharmacy.
At least three pharmacists who called out last Thursday returned to work the next day out of concern for their patients.
What should I do if my local CVS is closed?
Most CVS locations appear to be open around the metro Wednesday. But if yours is closed, there are still options.
In some cases, pharmacists can transfer your prescription from another pharmacy location to be filled. That means if you go to an open CVS, they may be able to fill a prescription that was originally sent to a different CVS.
However, controlled substances cannot be transferred from one location to another, even at the patient’s request. If you need your medication right away, or if it’s a controlled substance, you may need to call your doctor and have them send your prescription to an open pharmacy.
Do you have more questions about labor and working conditions in Kansas City? Ask the Service Journalism team at email@example.com.