Since being bought by Amazon two years ago, employees at Whole Foods say their working conditions have declined markedly amid pressure to push Amazon Prime deals and memberships, plus widespread understaffing, increased workloads and labor budget cuts.
Amazon announced in June 2017 it would buy Whole Foods. In interviews with 24 Whole Foods employees across the US, workers described an increasingly pressured environment and the erosion of Whole Foods’ corporate culture.
Workers interviewed were reluctant to speak on the record for fear of retaliation.
“Amazon has changed the company so much to the point where I can’t recognize Whole Foods any more,” said one Whole Foods worker in California. “It sends chills down my spine every day to see the store I love bombarded with everything and anything Amazon, from the Prime signs, Amazon lockers, Amazon meal kits and the Prime shoppers.”
In September 2018, a group of current and former Whole Foods workers organized Whole Worker, a group for workers to organize collectively to push for improved working conditions.
In a mass email sent to Whole Foods employees by over a dozen current and former workers with Whole Worker on 21 June, the group characterized Whole Foods’ relationship with Amazon as a subordinate to Amazon, where workers are primarily used to sell Amazon Prime memberships and deals.