Walgreens Pharmacists Begin Strike In Rockford Area

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Just hours before a Walgreens pharmacist strike is scheduled to start up, customers at this store on Charles and 20th Street were mixed on how a labor stoppage could affect their prescription service.

"The concern is if someone really needs something important, this one is open 24 hours, and if they don't get it they'll be pretty much in big trouble," Annette Boniface said.

"I'm really not too concerned. We have all our medications for the next 30 days. If it goes further than that, we'll have to look elsewhere," Paul Swanson said.

Leaders at the National Pharmacists Association, which represents Walgreens pharmacists, say the strike isn't about dollars, but what they describe as decreasing staff levels and increasing work levels.

"And most patients who have been in pharmacies, or even casual customers will see the pharmacist is usually overwhelmed," Union Representative Chuck Sauer said.

"The rhetoric that you are hearing today is really unfortunate. It's union leadership that is using it is looking for media attention," Walgreens executive Phil Burgess said.

The pharmacy at Rockford's only 24 hour Walgreens on Charles Street will stay open from 8 am to 12 midnight during the strike, a strike these customers hope is resolved quickly.

"Just hope they settle and go on with what they should be doing, and not be overwhelmed on it," Boniface said.

Pharmacists at Rockford Walgreens stores declined comment to 23 News Wednesday evening.

Walgreens company leaders said tonight they plan on reopening talks with the pharmacists union on Thursday.