William McNary

William McNary, the co-director of Citizen Action Illinois, speaks at a rally to protest Walgreens on June 11, 2014 ( Lenny Gilmore / RedEye ) (Redeye / June 10, 2014)

If reports are true that Walgreens will retain its U.S. corporate citizenship, William McNary will keep shopping at outposts of the Deerfield, Ill.-based drugstore giant.

“I will definitely be continuing to use my rewards card, and I will continue to encourage others,” said McNary, co-director of Citizen Action Illinois. “We’re happy about this. We’re very happy about this.”

Citizen Action Illinois and other activist groups had been protesting Walgreens' possible move to shift its corporate citizenship to Europe to pay fewer taxes.

The Tribune reported Tuesday that Walgreens, despite nearing an acquisition of European company Alliance Boots, would not be undergoing a so-called “inversion.”

Walgreens spokesman Jim Graham declined to comment on the matter, saying he would not confirm or contradict the report.

Nell Geiser, associate director of retail initiatives at activist group Change to Win, applauded the decision but said Walgreens should have moved more quickly.

“This has been six months of unnecessary speculation,” she said, “a process drawn out by Walgreens that should have been answered at the very outset with a resounding ‘no.’ ”

Both Geiser and McNary pointed to public outcry as the reason for Walgreens' reported decision. Both have attended protests at Walgreens stores in recent months, and politicians such as President Obama and Sen. Dick Durbin have spoken out against corporate inversions.

At a news conference Tuesday at the Walgreens at 410 N. Michigan Ave., Durbin said an inversion would be "not only fundamentally unjust and ungrateful, but it shifts the tax burden to everyone else."

If Walgreens has decided to keep its corporate citizenship here, "that is great news for Walgreens and that is great news for America," said Durbin, who said he has no inside knowledge of whether the reported decision is true.

"Reaffirming their commitment to the state and the nation will sit very well," he said.

mcrepeau@tribune.com

 

Want more? Discuss this article and others on RedEye's Facebook page