A person with knowledge of the matter told Reuters that Walmart is urging some of its 16,000 pharmacists across the U.S. to voluntarily accept wage decreases by reducing their working hours.
Senior Walmart field leadership instructed 20 market leaders—directors of 10 to 15 shops in a certain region—at a meeting in May to start approaching pharmacists about voluntarily cutting back on their base wage hours, a source told Reuters.
A person who was present at the conference and spoke on the record under the condition of anonymity stated that, as an illustration, a pharmacist might switch from an 80-hour, two-week pay period to one that is 64 or 72 hours long.
Despite the fact that the decision was advertised as being made statewide, the market executives who attended the meeting represented Arkansas, Tennessee, Missouri, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, and Louisiana, the source added. The insider stated that Davey Lavergne, Walmart’s vice president of Health and Wellness, had instructed leaders to begin employing pharmacists at lower base rates.
Walmart’s Pharmacy Dilemma
According to Walmart, the Bentonville, Arkansas-based retail business pays its pharmacists an average salary of more than $140,000 annually, excluding bonuses and incentives. In response to requests from pharmacists for a better work-life balance and a decline in drug demand over the summer, Walmart revealed to Reuters that it was lowering the number of hours it was offering some pharmacists.
Walmart reduced the pharmacy’s opening hours by two hours at more than 4,500 U.S. shops earlier this year due to a scarcity of pharmacists and pharmacy technicians that started during the pandemic.
There is no evidence, according to Michael Hogue, CEO of the American Pharmacists Association in Washington, that the demand for drugs decreases in the summer and that pharmacies need fewer hours to fill prescriptions. Lack of pharmacy technicians is the main factor driving major drug stores like Walmart to reduce pharmacist hours, according to Hogue.