Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s founder, earns $268,000,000 every day, while regular Amazon and Whole Foods Market employees make an average of $15 per hour. Reports have uncovered the horrible working conditions inside Amazon’s massive warehouses — as some employees had to pee in bottles because they lived in fear of being disciplined over ‘idle time’. Now a group of workers at Whole Foods is trying to form a union, seeking better compensation after the Amazon buyout left the company with deteriorating working conditions, workers claim.
In a memo sent to nearly every Whole Foods employee on Thursday, the union’s organizers said Amazon is accelerating layoffs and consolidating stores put employees’ livelihoods at risk, and that more consolidation was expected. This is the second time Whole Foods workers have tried to organize, but it is the first time under the new ownership of Amazon, said the Fast Company.
The union demanded a $15-an-hour minimum wage, better retirement benefits, paid maternity leave and lower health insurance costs, among other benefits — as the current situation shows all is not well in the popular grocery store as Amazon is their new corporate overlord.
“Over the past year, layoffs and the consolidations of store-level positions at Whole Foods Market have upset the livelihood of team members, stirred, anxiety, and lowered morale within stores,” the memo declared. It then claims that Whole Foods CEO John Mackey sold the store to Amazon “with an agreement to trim hundreds of millions of dollars of labor from our stores.” The letter continues, “There will continue to be layoffs in 2019 and beyond as Amazon aims to aggressively trim our labor force before it expands with new technology and labor models.”
Whole Foods workers seek to unionize, says Amazon is ‘exploiting our dedication’ t.co/uRkU85spZM
A group of workers at Whole Foods Market are leading an effort to establish a union for the Amazon-owned company’s 85,000+ workforce.
In a letter addressed to Whole Foods … pic.twitter.com/m7fLKeyWVW
— Penguin Coders (@Penguin_Coders) September 6, 2018
“The success of Amazon and (Whole Foods) should not come at the cost of exploiting our dedication and threatening our economic stability,” the authors added.
The Wall Street Journal, which initially reported the memo and attempted unionization last week, said the proposal was distributed at more than 499 Whole Foods stores.
The employees are organizing with the Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union — who represents workers from big box retails, including Macy’s and H&M.
The Fast Company said Whole Foods had fought many attempts to unionize, and it is likely with Amazon pulling the strings today, unionizing has a very low probability. This summer, numerous reports showed poor working conditions and almost poverty line compensation for Amazon employees, which the company denies.
What makes the Whole Foods attempt interesting is that, for decades, the grocery store has created the perception of a good employer–providing strong wages and benefits than most other competitors. However, with new ownership, that has all changed, as Bezos plans to strip Whole Foods of its labor costs to make it more efficient
Amazon and Whole Foods are likely to respond to the union’s demands by denying its ability to form, but the heavily indebted American worker with no savings and a crappy job in the gig-economy is starting to catch on to this corporate pillaging of the bottom 90 percent.
People are beginning to notice their real wages are still negative, as President Trump claims today’s economic environment is the “greatest ever.” Whole Foods workers attempting to unionize could be an inflection point for the American worker who over the past three decades has been stripped of wages by corporations.
In response to an inquiry via the Fast Company, Whole Foods provided the following statement:
“We respect the individual rights of our team members and have an open-door policy that encourages team members to bring their comments, questions, and concerns directly to their team leaders. We believe this direct connection is the most effective way to understand and respond to the needs of our workforce and creates an atmosphere that fosters open communication and empowerment. We offer competitive wages and benefits and are committed to the growth and success of our team members.”
…And now Bernie Sanders on Wednesday introduced the Stop Bad Employers by Zeroing Out Subsidies (Stop BEZOS) Act, which would tax corporations with at least 500 employees for the value of public assistance those workers receive, to save $150 billion in government spending per annum. Sanders said Bezos’ wealth increases by $260 million per day, yet he “continues to pay thousands of his Amazon employees wages that are so low that they must rely on food stamps, Medicaid, or subsidized housing in order to survive,” said Sanders, who also took aim at Walmart, Burger King, McDonald’s, and American Airlines.”
Maybe today is the inflection point where the bottom 90 percent of Americans finally figure out that the corporate takeover of America – a government of the elites by the bureaucrats and for the corporations have been depriving them of a basic wage for decades.