portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article reposts united states


Whole Food's Vote to Unionize Upsets Libertarian Founder

Whole Foods union problems erupted in 1990, when they took over a failed co-op in Berkeley, CA. Founder John Mackey believed that union demands sunk the co-op, so he refused to hire its employees -- an unpopular move in leftist Berkeley.
Whole Foods woos its staff
R. Michelle Breyer, The Austin American-Statesman, June 6, 2003

When workers at a Whole Foods Market Inc. store in Madison, Wis., voted last summer to unionize, it shocked company chairman and founder John Mackey. "The Madison vote was a wake-up call," Mackey acknowledged this week.

In response to the Madison vote and what it symbolized, Mackey has spent the past nine months criss-crossing the country, with a goal of visiting every store by the end of the summer. He has 23 of the company's 143 stores left to go. His goal, he said, is to get back in touch with the company's 27,000 employees, who are called team members.

"Before the Madison vote, I did a question-and-answer session and realized that team members didn't have a clue what Whole Foods was about," Mackey said. "I realized I need to get back into the stores and I need to talk to the people. I need to listen to people."

Despite six consecutive years on Fortune magazine's list of the 100 best companies to work for -- Whole Foods ranked 32nd this year, up from 48th last year -- Mackey said he knows there's room for improvement. As Whole Foods has grown into a $3.2 billion company, the balance between the company's attention to its employees and to the company's other stakeholders may have gotten a little out of whack, he said.

Although the company's share price has been on a hot streak, profits and revenues have steadily risen, and new stores have opened, union leaders say Whole Foods' employees have lost their voice. That may have enabled organized labor -- which long has criticized Whole Foods for the company's efforts to keep unions out of its stores -- to gain a foothold. Whole Foods is the second-largest nonunion food retailer, behind Wal-Mart Stores Inc.

"The status quo was no longer good enough for Whole Foods employees," said Dan Welch, president of the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1444 in Madison, which is negotiating a contract with Whole Foods. "Regardless of what happens in Madison, Whole Foods will have to face this all around the country."

The National Labor Relations Board postponed a scheduled April 4 election at a Whole Foods store in Tyson's Corner, Va., while it investigates charges the company engaged in efforts to stop employees from organizing. The United Food and Commercial Workers ran ads in weekly newspapers in 11 cities from New York to San Francisco criticizing labor practices at Whole Foods.

Union demonstrators have picketed stores and the company's annual meetings. "The unions are after us," Mackey said.

Mackey said the company has spent a lot of time and money trying to improve the relationship with employees. In addition to his national tour, Mackey plans more face-to-face meetings between the company's leaders and employees, better orientation videos and streamlined employee morale surveys to encourage more participation.

Perhaps the most dramatic change will be a series of companywide votes this summer through which employees will help determine what benefits will be offered.

Beginning in January, the company decided to pay 100 percent of health care premiums -- with a higher deductible -- for all full-time employees, who make up 87 percent of its work force. In the past, the company paid from 50 percent to 100 percent, depending on which of three plans employees chose. The company also starting issuing "personal wellness cards" to full-time employees -- a debit card with $1,700 to spend on medical and dental expenses.

But while beefing up health benefits, Whole Foods stopped matching contributions for its 401(k) plan, which didn't sit well with some employees. About 22 percent of employees currently contribute to the 401(k) plan. With the vote, Mackey said employees will choose their benefit priorities, such as reinstituting the 401(k) match, tuition reimbursement or full health-care coverage. The company has a set amount of money allocated for benefits.

"I'm not smart enough to make these trade-offs for people," Mackey said. "They'll make the trade-offs." Whichever plan employees choose will be in effect for three years, when they will vote again on benefits for the next three years. It's too soon to tell whether these measures will ward off organizing efforts.

"I think the company generally has been regarded as being progressive," said Bob Goldin, executive vice president of Technomic Inc., a Chicago-based research and consulting firm for the food industry. "They need to make sure their practices live up to the hype. That doesn't mean they'll keep the wolves at bay. But the best defense is a good offense."

Although a step in the right direction, the company's action is not akin to a union contract, said Jill Cashen, spokeswoman for United Food and Commercial Workers International, which represents 1.4 million supermarket and retail workers. "The problem with a company-sponsored employee involvement program is it still belongs to the company," Cashen said. "The company can change it at will or eliminate it at will."

Mackey, an outspoken Libertarian, is unlikely to budge on his views on unions. "Unions are not a good thing," he said. "They are resistant to change and they create an adversarial relationship to management. We think unions would be very harmful to our business."

Goldin agrees that unionization could have a significant effect on Whole Foods' bottom line and its corporate culture. "They're kind of a touchy-feely, New Age kind of business," Goldin said. "With unions, you get a certain amount of rigidity."

The company's union problems erupted in 1990, when Whole Foods moved into Berkeley, Calif., taking over the stores of a failed co-op. Mackey believed union demands were to blame for the demise of the co-op, and he refused to hire its employees -- an unpopular move in left-leaning Berkeley.

Unions representing butchers and retail clerks picketed the stores and accused Whole Foods of age discrimination, a charge they later withdrew. Until last year, organized labor hadn't had much success.

Whole Foods opened the Madison store in 1996. Workers complained about such issues as health insurance and a dress and appearance code. Although no contract has been signed yet between the the union and Whole Foods in Madison almost a year after the vote, union leaders think more stores will follow the Madison example and attempt to organize.

Cashen said organizing efforts are in early stages at some other stores around the country, although she declined to disclose those locations, citing fear of management retaliation. "They want to have a say," Cashen said.

Mackey says he thinks he is giving workers that voice without union help. And ultimately, he says he thinks all of the company's stakeholders will benefit. "If you don't have happy team members, you won't have happy customers," Mackey said. "If you don't have happy customers, you don't have happy shareholders."

homepage: homepage: http://www.statesman.com/business/content/auto/epaper/editions/friday/business_e30eb3be16ea20b71092.html

Whole Foods - a mercenary shark 06.Jun.2003 15:33

Dudley Doolittle

Whole Foods is a glaring example of the greedy corporate beast. In city after city Whole Foods has gone in and used its monetary might to put existing stores out of business. Over and over again it puts its stores in competing locations, rather than trying to open new areas and coexisting. Whole Foods is an example of corporate greed taking over the spirit and vision of the grassroots natural/organic foods movement.

Curious 06.Jun.2003 16:57


Personally I have never been in one of their stores for various reasons but don't they cater to the rich and pampered set?

Whole Foods Bad, UFCW Better? 06.Jun.2003 17:26

Nona Bow

The UFCW staffer who keeps posting these Whole Foods articles keeps making the assumption that the UFCW really creates a union for their workers. The UFCW (United Front for Cutting Wages as UFCW Local P-9 calls them) is one of the scabbiest and pathetic excuses for a union, anti-democratic to boot.

The UFCW recently sued a member in Canada who had the audacity of posting the union's consitution on-line so its members could read what they have to obey! Now THAT'S democratic unionism.

Who ever is posting these self-serving pieces is most likely a paid organizer who's fishing for recruits. Don't believe the hype!


blah 06.Jun.2003 17:35


Regardless of UFCW, Whole Foods sucks

Hype? 06.Jun.2003 22:04


Who ever is posting these self-serving pieces is most likely a paid organizer who's fishing for recruits. Don't believe the hype I tend to think people can make up their own minds. In fact that is what unions are about, allowing employees to negotiate their relationship with their employer rather than have the terms dictated to them . No matter how benevolent the current dictator is that benevolence can end any time with there is a change of mind or management.. "What force on earth is weaker than the feeble strength of one. The union makes us strong."

Shop Locally 06.Jun.2003 22:17

organically grown

Whole Foods is just another non-local mercenary corporation. No surprise that stock prices are more important than employees' wages and benefits. Whole Foods is also a member of the Portland Business Alliance, and y'all should know what they stand for in this community (hint--it's not supporting the activist community). Natures is now Wild Oats, another non-local corp. I think your best bet is to shop New Seasons, at least they're locally owned, better still shop the local farmers' markets, or even better, grow your own.

Boycott Whole Foods 06.Jun.2003 23:02


People's Co-op is a great place to buy food. The people there are dedicated to sustainable living - from food, to the way the place is heated and cooled, to how they do business.

Anyone who cares about sustainable living and fair labor and business practices should avoid Whole Foods. They are a dominating corporation with an agenda as greedy and manipulative as any other.

a long hx of union-busting 07.Jun.2003 07:48


I lived in Austin when Whole Foods was a local store, before they spread into a national corporate entity. They were boycotted by the left and shopped by the liberals and the rich. Even then, the management/owners had busted up effors to unionize the workers. Stick to the local co-ops... Wheatsville was the major alternative in Austin, and People's ROCKS in PDX!

Don't forget about.... 07.Jun.2003 09:43

andrea pdx

Don't forget about the Alberta Co-op and Food Front Co-op. Food Front is also a UFCW Local 555 union shop.

Reply to "Union" 07.Jun.2003 12:52

Nona Bow

I would like to make clear I am for workers' forming and *controling* their own unions. That's what the IWW's song "Solidarity Forever" you quote is about. The power should be in "our" hands. But Soldarity Forever means that all power is in the hands of the rank and file. That is , ALL power in society- running the entire thing and doing away with both capitalists and labor fakers.

The UFCW isn't about that. The UFCW has repeatedly rammed concessionary contracts down the throats of its membership. In the famous P-9 local strike, the UFCW actually signed a contract with Hormel that made SCABS union members and had all the existing union members fired! A friend of mine is a UFCW steward in a natural foods store. Whenever he actually fights for his members the Local Business Agent undercuts him. Why? Because an active membership would make the BA and other UFCW functionaries irrelivent- unemployeed.

"Union" says that the workers should have the right to make their own decisions. I agree entirely, only unlike "Union", I believe they should have the right to be educated BEFORE they make the decision. It's called informed concent. Most grocery store workers come to the UFCW because they are the AFL-CIO's Retail union, not because the UFCW has anything going for it. UFCW by default.

But there are many other good unions they could turn to or even form their own. The IWW is also doing very good things with grocery store workers. I've heard the East Coast based independant union UE is organizing soome retail. Powell's went ILWU because they couldn't stand the UFCW. All of these are MUCH better than the UFCW.

After that ramble I must also state that the song IS "Solidarity Forever" and even if workers make the mistake of going with UFCW we should support them. But support the workers, not the UFCW.

If you think I am making this up, check out the documentary movie "American Dreams". It won an Oscar for best documentary and is widely available.

Nona Bow

Learn about Food Cooperatives-- and shop there exclusively! 07.Jun.2003 15:45


For those activists who want to free themselves from the consumer mindset-- learn more about why food coops are fundamentally different from Whole Foods, Wild Oats AND New Seasons. And then shop exclusively at coops-- promote the cooperative mindset and put the greedy competitive food corporations out of business!

Coops like People's, Alberta and Food Front, are a particular kind of business incorporation whereby the members are literally the owners. So the workers are the owners, the shoppers are the owners, the Board of Directors are owners elected into those positions by the owners. Unlike the stock market model, this system is based on equity: only one share per person. And it's based on open membership: anyone can become a member by purchasing or otherwise working off a refundable investment in the coop. One member one vote, concern for community, locally owned and run collectively... Learn more-- knowledge is power!

Besides governance there's like a thousand other reasons to support your local coop and NOT shop at any corporate food store. Check out the local websites like www.peoples.coop.

Use your cash dollars PRODUCTIVELY as you build community ownership at a coop!

From the IWW 07.Jun.2003 23:42

IU 660 iu660@riseup.net

I've been following this for awhile.

The UFCW is a horrid union that is luring hard working people into a deceptive trap: Have OUR election, fight for OUR contact, follow OUR rules.

Activist folk: please don't get caught in the mindset of merely casting workers in Whole Foods aside as the Corporate Bullshit Enemy. Organize them!

Portland IWW retail workers are organizing in natural foods. If any WF workers read this, or know somebody who works there, please respond.

Wolf In Sheeps clothing 09.Jun.2003 08:35


Organically Grown..."I think your best bet is to shop New Seasons,at least they're locally owned".Locally owned by how many people? People's Food Co-op is locally owned by nearly 2000 people and has been serving the surrounding community since 1970 with respect for the environment and other local businesses.
Now,along comes New Seasons to open yet another store on Division and 20th,only 4 blocks from people's and 4 blocks from nature's,is this there idea of good business practice and community building. How quickly we forget that New Seasons is owned by the same Natures owners" who sold out the "locally
owned " Nature's to GNC,who quickly sold out to Wild Oats.How long before the few who are making the profits at New Seasons sell out again ?

thank you Warrior 10.Jun.2003 10:08

milk & cheese

thank you Warrior, for saving me the trouble of attacking New Seasons.

The loyalty some people feel to corporations is scary. Coops are the best solution for food purchases (except Food Front, which is not very democratic).

These attempts at putting a smiley face on capitalist schemes like New Seasons and Stumptown Coffee and even Nike show just how easily led liberal consumers are.

whole foods is overpriced 03.Aug.2003 11:26

know it for fact

next time you are in a whole foods store, write down a few prices. Whole kids peanut butter is outragiously priced. Big price, small jar. A lot of products are like that. Whole foods puts out a product in a smaller container and charges a lot more. The markup on their products are extreme. I was involved with wholesale operations to many stores and whole foods was one of my accounts. I knew what they bought it for and what they are selling it for. How does double the wholesale sound? I think it sounds like a rip off. Whole foods is simply taking advantage of all the baby boomers and young kids who want to live forever. Wait until large grocery stores start putting up big displays of organics and natural foods. Look out stockholders.

What Happens to "Organic" When You Spray Pesticides in the Store? 28.Feb.2004 21:57


Whole Foods sprays pesticides inside its stores. What happens to "organically grown" produce, etc., when it is exposed to pesticides inside the store? They still label and sell these as organic...

THINK about this! You are paying a lot to shop at Whole Foods. You pay extra for organic because you do not want to ingest pesticides.

Whole Foods cares only about profits. It does not care about its customers. It does not care about the community. It especially does not care about its so-called "team members."

Whole Foods is laughing (AT YOU) all the way to the bank.


Yet Another F---ed Over Team Member

Please boycott Whole Foods Market.

Whole Foods Market, under all of its names (Bread & Circus, Wild Oats, and on and on) treat their 'team members' (AKA employees) very poorly. They discriminate against injured and disabled workers by FIRING THEM if they file a Workers' Comp claim. Whole Foods Market and its high-priced law firms will stop at nothing to crush any employee who tries to assert his or her rights under the law.

Whole Foods is a corporate monster motivated only by money. Whole Foods pretends to be "humane" and a "wonderful" company to work for. This is a lie.

Look up the case Elaine Tijerina and her experience with Whole Foods Market: "In the case of Whole Foods Market Southwest v. Tijerina, 979 S.W.2d 768 (Tex. App. -Houston [14th Dist.] 1998, pet. denied), the plaintiff, who succeeded on her Chapter 451 claim,testified that her bosses called her into a meeting and badgered her extensively about herapparent overuse of paid medications for the treatment of her occupational injury and threatenedto "let me go if I was going to continue to take this amount of medication." Id. at 779. Underpressure, she went on, she finally told her supervisors that she was giving some of the medicationto her husband and others. The plaintiff further testified that this was untrue, but that thecompany did not give her further opportunity to explain, but instead dismissed her formishandling company property (controlled substances). The plaintiff also introduced evidencethat management regarded her compensation benefits as "costing too much," and that hermedical expenses were charged to the store's budget, thus potentially impacting managers'bonuses. Based on these facts, the appeals court affirmed the jury's award of punitive damages." (SOURCE: "Retaliation The Suit of Choice"  link to

Please boycott Whole Foods Market and all of its companies. Elaine Tijerina is not alone in her experience with this greedy corporate monster.

WF & Perjury 09.Sep.2004 18:32


Are there any TM's who have tried to stand up for their rights with WF who have been stopped due to WF management and its lawyers lying?

Is anyone interested in taking legal action against WF for this?

Please post at the  http://www.wholeworkersunite.org website.

Whole Foods Promotes Fake Gainsharing 20.Oct.2004 12:12

Jon Marx Mackey

Whole Foods Has recently admitted that managers at their store in Sacramento were stealing Gainsharing Bonuses from successful teams and giving them to failing ones. How were they doing this? They were putting employees on payrolls in departments that they never worked in. If you still work for the Food Whole, take a look at as many labor surplus reports as you gan get your hands on. Then look at all the departments that are making bonuses... now, look and see if there are random people from unsuccessful departments thrown on these payrolls. This is not only against company policy, it is illegal.

The most amazing part of this is the Core Values. HA ha Ha! I know Team Members who have been fired for: giving their disco. to their parents, for being late for work, late back from a break, giving another team member a sample...

Yet, managers knowingly and willfully stole employee's bonuses and what was their punishment you might be asking?

These corrupt, fraudulent, criminal managers were WRITTEN UP.

O.K., so that's your idea of leading by example... because I always thought I was supposed to pay for my Soy Beans. NO??!?

Yeah, I'll boycott Whole Foods, I'll never shop there again. I won't let any of my friend shop there either. They wouldn't anyways, they are all apalled.

I am a Grade School teacher, do you really think I'd tell my kids to shop from a store where the managers rip off their employees, and the punishment that corporate gives them is a slap on the wrist.

Not to mention, Raley's and Safeway both cary most of the products a WHole Foods carries except for cheaper. Same product lower price and union workers; yeah yeah, I know union's are not perfect, but anyone working at a Whole Foods who thinks management or corporate has the employee's best interest in mind... take another bong hit and turn up the television.

Whole Foods Market SUCKS 12.Jun.2005 01:24


Oh fuck whole foods. They suck!

Whole Foods Sucks 29.Jun.2005 16:25


Whole Foods sucks! That it is a green, health food store is bull. They sell Dow and Dupont products-hardly green! Their staff lie about the importance of supporting fair trade coops in promoting their own 365 coffee. They lie about their shrimp being Sea Turtle Safe and they were started on weapons profits. They are intense Union Busters and will readily terminate anyone who dares mention union activity (See Wholeworkersunite.com). The produce manager in our local WF store lied and said that there were no local suppliers of organic apples and that's why they didn't have any. I owned a business in the area and bought my organic apples from one of the biggest organic apple farms in the northeast/in our area! It was a downright lie. In addition the founder of whole fools, I mean whole foods, admits that he envisioned a seductive sales environment that enticed customers into buying with flirtatious young attractive staff. I have watched customers melt in the hands of whole foods employees and know of three people whose marriages ended because their spouses were actually enticed right out of the store, by employees with severely poor boundaries. And that is just in one store!! Staff are encouraged to dress provocatively where-as in other grocers they are required to dress professionally. You are encouraged to focus on the quality of food, not the sexiness of employees or the "prettiness" of the store. Whole Foods is a con job for Whole Fools! If you are truly environmentally conscious and committed to social justice, boycott Whole Foods and support your local Grocer or Coop. Whole Foods is no better than any other multi national corporation. They suck the life out of our communities while pretending to be community friendly

Co-ops versus Corps 20.Aug.2005 21:15

Old Town Granny

I shop almost exclusively at Whole Foods. I don't drive and it is a pleasant walk from my home in Chinatown to the store. I don't buy many of the higher priced items. I would love to shop at Food Front. I shopped there regularly in the early seventies when my older children were small; I was living on Savier street and it was just a skip and a hop away. There was a lovely little garden area beside the store (it was at a different location on Thurman) and the children would sit outside and drink kefir and eat little nutritious treats while I shopped. But it's a heck of a walk now from where I live and would cost to ride the bus or streetcar. I've compared prices for specific items that I buy at Whole Foods (Heart to Heart cereal, and Silk soy milk for instance). The sale price for the cereal at Food Front was more than the regular price at Whole Foods (when I made a comparison a couple of years ago). Not only is Silk soy milk more expensive at Safeway, but I've never seen the Enhanced product that I buy at Whole Foods anywhere else. When I canvassed last year in SE Portland, it was really a pleasure to stop in at People's. It would be lovely to live near and be able to support one of our city's great co-ops, but I am still working a couple of jobs, between 55 and 65 hours a week right now, and I would be hard put to find the time to shop at Food Front, let alone in the SE. Would I rather be shopping at a co-op than a corporate-owned and run food store? Yes, but we can't always get what we want. And for now, I am thankful to have a store within walking distance that does support and distribute foods grown organically. I appreciate the option of paying more for bananas that are being grown and harvested with concern for the workers. Do I wish that the Dole bananans (or whatever major brand name their conventional bananas are) were not even in the store? It's the Mick Jagger line again. I do totally applaud everyone whose comments reflect a concern for the workers at Whold Foods and I hope they will organize locally in a responsive, democratic union. This is sure no workers' paradise that we're living in.

to jojobean 11.Sep.2005 19:55

current team member

i currently work at the portland whole foods and do agree that their business practices are sketchy...but...i have NEVER heard of anyone being told to dress "provacatively". the dress code is liberal but we are encouraged to dress professionally. i myself have been reprimanded for having my "shoulders exposed" in a wide neck sweatshirt. i am not saying that you're lying, but you have to realize that most stores within a corporation operate more or less ethically depending on the character of those in charge and that specific store.

Team member loyalty 18.Nov.2005 13:40


I guess exposed shoulders are not OK but exposed belly's and cleavage are. Anyway, I was also curious to know why I've never seen an african american employee in Whole Foods? An employee in a Massachusetts store told me that it's because African American people don't shop there!!!!!!!!!!!!! Geeeee....I wonder why????? Do you think that perhaps an african american might feel unwelcome if a store does not adequately reflect the diversity of it's own community?

Whole Foods - Whole Fraud 01.Mar.2006 14:30


Whole Foods Market is great at putting out good press, but as an employer, beware. Their version of employee democracy is shrouded in secrecy, and as a result rife with fraud. They would have you believe that team members participate in their fate, but their choices are always so limited or circumvented by management as to be a farce. Ever notice how many really young people work there? They are much like many corporations that only want employees for the time they seem to be happy with unfulfilled promises, or are not able to use "benefits" yet, then to be terminated. John Mackey feels he has the answer to health care. High deductibles and a medical card with a nominal amount of money on it for the first year. Few team members can afford to use the health care in their first year, and even fewer survive as employees for one year. Ever notice the incredible turnover of faces there? It is made clear there that they do not believe in Union representation and that any inclination on your part with put your job in immediate jeopardy.

They also espouse their policy of buying from local "farmers." Um....you would be hard pressed to find ANYTHING local in a Whole Foods Market. Most products come from the same Chiquita and Dole that stock every other supermarket in America. They just market it differently (and price it differently).

Whole Foods thinks that Portland should be grateful they are building two more stores in the area to bring their Texas version of employee democracy. We've all seen the results of that. We need protection from these Wall Street creeps. Their bean counters in Austin look just like the ones at WalMart and Safeway.

whole frauds 11.Mar.2006 20:38

john mankey

from the following thread on  http://www.wholeworkersunite.org/


(i urge you to post on the above website... pdx, i knew i could count on you. btw, why isn't there a bigger push for unionizing at New Seasons... lest anyone forget how their last fateful venture ended, Natures Fresh Northwest)

I agree with bonez on most points here. you did forget to mention the disgusting coffee; that you can smell the fish department in our town's wfm from across the store; that the 365 brand is, pardon my french, crap; the bread is par-baked frozen and shipped to stores to essentially thaw out; the prices across the board are higher than safeway, fred meyers, the local competition new seasons, and even the local co-op; that whole body stuff can be found at a plethora of stores, again, usually priced less than wfm; i know at least 3 friends who have gotten food poisoning at that foul, over-priced department you call prepared foods (yeah, prepared days ago); as far as the produce goes, why are their apples from wa and ca (that are first shipped to emeryville then back north!!! that's sure fresh!) when we are spitting distance from the premium apple capital of the world: hood river? the produce is often not so fresh looking, or tasting and is consistently overpriced... here it is less bait-and-switch, and more shock-and-awe; food as porn as some might say; and, i have seen and heard about the rodent problem at wfm's and have seen with my own eyes rat-gnawed yams with little black turds stuck to them on the display racks. it's my understanding that the red produce knives are only for the conventional produce, i have seen this violated repeatedly at at least 3 stores and this is what caused me (which has less to do with me being an anal-retentive og shopper, and more to do with being lied to) to finally retain my green from wfm's establishment.

recycling? if by recycling you mean a bunch of smashed cardboard that wfm is compensated for or do you mean the tons, yes tons, of culled produce that is simply chucked in the dumpster. no remorse?

sure, maybe your gainsharing whatever adds to your hourly but i know this has been manipulated at other stores, again why no comment on this thread broken???


is this the same store where all of these other judgments should not be passed on wfm because it is stores not store we are talking about now. so should i judge not the 3 stores in 3 states i have visited? i think not.

the wine, cheese, and beer departments along with the meat department are really the only "teams" that seem to shine. but, again usaully overpriced, not always, but usually.

granted, some of this may have changed as i have not shopped there in nearly two years but as i said, i still have friends who work there and i still hear them saying this same stuff. i know two of them work there simply so they can stay as stoned through life as possible. to each their own. but, these friends, even the ones who aren't stoners, continue to shop elsewhere, especially at trader joes and the farmers markets, where even with their 20% wfm disco they still pay less for most items.

broken, when you say polyester zombie, are you referring to the stoned wfm employee sporting their polyester smock/apron, their 50/50 wfm tees, their non-organic long-sleeves. i notice you also don't mention nearly all of these items are made in where? guesses anyone? that's right, china. does not china repeatedly lead the world in human rights violations? i realize that inevitably some items may have to be purchased from china, but tees and caps? : (

i'm not going to comment on the bookstore because if you think borders is the hottest thing going, well then, apparently you've never been to powells books.

wfm seems to have once built its foundation on its reputation and integrity but with that foundation constantly being riddled with cracks and holes, how long will this giant stand, or at least remain king of the hill?

yeah, you get an arbitrary vote which is a drop in the bucket to the flood that is collective bargaining.

you were waiting for a rebuttal broken? you've gotten a few. your turn to comment.

Unions are not all they seem 19.Apr.2006 06:43


My personal experience is with the teamstters union. These guys dont give a crap about workers right s violations. The avg life of a ups pt worker is 7 weeks. Dont u think the teamsters should be concerned about this. Instead they make backroom deals with ups to move around pesion funds which 95 percent of workers never see. Workers should just stand up for themselves. There were kids making 120 dollars a week at ups and the union was taking 30 dollars a month from them for nothing. The teamsters dont give a crap about there workers just there pockets. One day ups and the teamsters will be in a lot of trouble for there so called pension fund. I payed 4 years worth of dues and will never see a penny. So be careful what these unions offer.

AssWhole Foods 16.May.2006 16:38


When I first started working at the WFM in Louisville, KY, I was very charmed by all their 'Core Values' rhetoric. Within 3 months the beast started to rear its ugly head. Being friends with a lot of the young TLs, I found out about a lot of unethical practices. For one, they purposely over-hired to get thru the first couple of months of the store opening. Then they fired all those that they saw as 'non-conformists'. If for some reason they don't like you, they WILL find a way to get rid of you (i.e., not giving you a raise, accusing/lying about something you supposedly did, etc). From the stuff that my TL friends told me & that I witnessed: they were all very sneaky, deceitful and mean-spirited all the way up the CORP ladder. I noticed that too when I was part of a group to help market the holiday stuff. The corp. marketing person was ranting about how she wanted to blow Wild Oats out of business and was really rather nasty about it. I didn't appreciate that - I have friends who work there and need pay checks. They do like to hire the very young and niave because they don't know any better. The STL was a total CORP douche-bag. One day when we crossed paths I asked him why the VitaminWater price was raised to $1.69, that Kroger's sells it for $1.49 like we used to. His answer to me was, "then you should shop at Kroger." Nice... Everybody hated him 'cause he was so biased and a giant dork (Austin Powers for Halloween, how appropo). Luckily, he's gone to another store. I worked there for a year (until I could afford to quit and find somewhere that respects their employees more). I used to really love WFM, but now that I know how corporate, money hungry and unethical they are, I would rather shop at Kroger. They try to represent themselves as a caring, neo-hippy group, but they're just as bad as WalMart, if not worst. Shame on you, WFM!!

Try getting a raise at Whole Foods 12.Jun.2006 17:14


I make $10/hr at Whole Foods. I have a Bachelor's Degree and have been working for this company for 5 months. I manage and train team members and have an assistant (who makes the same wage as me). This is the lowest wage at this store. The STL will not give me a raise because there is not enough money in the budget. So, when I leave I will expose these manipulating bastards who have taken advantage of my skills, talent and loyalty. Why this company is one of "the top to work for" eludes me. It is a horrible corporation that exploits their employees.

Whole Foods: Not Ethical at all 01.Aug.2006 14:09

dotherightthang ewiedman1@yahoo.com

I have worked for whole foods market for almost five years now I have seen one store team leader leave and a wretched racist woman step up from second in charge along with her little rat boy. She hired all her cronies and now is looting the store. She puts on fronts at the monthly store meeting even tearing up at times although when it comes to work on the floor she is no where in sight. She has her favorites and won't speak in passing. She is always wanting bigger more elaborate displays that take way more product than could be sold. She has fired more black people than white. There is only two black people, both assistant managers, to the 15 or more lead managers. Not only that but on the administration team or admin there is only one and he is a reciever. The four in charge are all white. I have witnessed many black people come and go and there are no scruples when it comes to firing... One lady was told she needed to stay to get her work done but watch over time, but when she clocked off and worked off the clock they said she couldn't do that, so she stayed clocked in and then they fired her for misuse of the time clock. Just recently though we were aloud to take marked off product, (Old fruit, veggies, day old bread, dented cans etc. all of which was tossed becasue there is no food bank seystem or even composting at this WFM. They were coming up short from margin and so they said we were not to take anything home any more. So with in the first week an employee took some spoilage and got fired. but ironically a team leader of cheese, or manager of the cheese department called and told an employee to "write off" 150.00 worth of wine. She was suspended with pay until the matter was resolved. She later got canned but I still wonder if she is getting paid????? Whole Foods is dirty with its croniism. Lets do the right thang

get the facts live life 19.Dec.2006 06:29


Whole Foods is not perfect and whether people believe it or not, we are trying to do the right thing most often. We are a business and have to operate with that in mind. If you or anyone does not like what WFM is then change it. It is a compnay that is still very fluid. Many peole think that you have to sell your sould ot work for a large company. This is not the case, everyone works for themsleves first and if you wnat to work in a great place - act from a place of greatness. WFM is easily one of the best companies and we need smart people who want to make the world a better place.

Employe Treatment at an all time LOW 29.Dec.2006 23:32

saxonsaysso laxitife@yahoo.com

I find this entire 'Whole Foods' image to be very funny. My husband has worked at a whole foods for two years now and he is making a base wage despite his raises. Why is this? Well, when the 'team members?' decided they were unhappy they uped the wage a dollar. He almost did not recieve his recent raise becasue of this. Then with the holidays becuase they were not getting enough interest in working there they raised the start to what he makes without offering him anything more. He makes what someone walking off the street makes after two years!! They have put off his job dialouge for FOUR months now. Despite the fact that he won the 'Customer Service Award' for the quarter. He has almost the highest amount of regulars only following an individual who has been there for over five years. He has been unjustly accused of cheating on a vote?!?! His direct manager has a personal vendetta against not only my husband but some other indivduals and lets any and all know it. Also, it toke them over two months to get him his team member card. They keep him just one hour under what he needs to be full time despite is many requests to be full time. The management at this particular store has found a way to cheat the entire store out of a holiday bounus. And they admitted it and walked away with an extra coushin to their pockets while the workers were left with little money for the holidays let alone rent or food. How many people who work at Whole Foods can really afford to shop there? They cliam that they are some holy salvation for shopping organic. I am not buying it. I have seen and felt first hand just how 'Great' they are.

This company is out of control. If you speak to the people in produce many will confess that they just pile organic with non organic. How many people who shop there actually look at the sticker with the numbers on it, or know what they mean if they do look. They are lying to the people who shop there. Cheating the people who work there. They are out for the lining of their own pockets and do not give a rats ass about anything else. They are expanding left and right. Why do this? Well to make MORE money for themselves. When my husband started they told him that they had a voting system for things like hiring and raises. That system is gone at least at his store along with all the other things that made working their worth it.

I say there needs to be accountablity for all companies. What happened to human rights in this world. When did an employee become a number and a budgetting figure and not a human being?

AssWhole Foods 13.Feb.2007 16:13

Top Best Places To Work

The reason why AssWhole Foods is always on the list for "The Top Best Places To Work" is because all it takes is a vote! So all of the cronies and the suck-ups who make the real money put in their votes. That's all it takes! This is very misleading because you think that you'll be working for a really good company, not a bunch of hypocrites. When I tell people of my experience there and the things that I saw, they're always surprised. WFM has a clean facade, but they're really dirty rats. Hopefully someday big media will expose them for what they really are. Corporate slavedrivers who don't give a shit about their "team" members.

What Whole Foods Managers (and certain employees) are really like 22.Feb.2007 22:24

anonymous prime

Think twice about eating anything from whole foods, and that includes cooked chickens, it might have been on the floor, and think twice before leaving anything in their suggestion box or complaining about any of their employees mistreating you (have cam running on your neck when dealing with them. See see  http://www.marsroyal.com/choices.pdf

What Whole Foods Managers (and certain employees) are really like 22.Feb.2007 22:24

anonymous prime

Think twice about eating anything from whole foods, and that includes cooked chickens, it might have been on the floor, and think twice before leaving anything in their suggestion box or complaining about any of their employees mistreating you (have cam running on your neck when dealing with them. See see  http://www.marsroyal.com/choices.pdf

What Whole Foods Managers (and certain employees) are really like 22.Feb.2007 22:24

anonymous prime

Think twice about eating anything from whole foods, and that includes cooked chickens, it might have been on the floor, and think twice before leaving anything in their suggestion box or complaining about any of their employees mistreating you (have cam running on your neck when dealing with them. See see  http://www.marsroyal.com/choices.pdf