Sparta Report

Whole Foods Workers Not Too Thrilled About Amazon Acquisition

Good morning, Spartans. Many of you may recall the New York Times’ long expose about the brutal working conditions at Amazon. Needless to say, while Whole Foods investors are probably very happy with Amazon’s new acquisition, the employees are not quite feeling that thrill:

The merger that shook food and retail stocks on Friday – Inc’s proposed deal to buy Whole Foods Market Inc – rattled some employees of the upscale grocery chain who expressed fears ranging from layoffs to the loss of their laid-back corporate culture.

Some workers at the nonunion grocery chain wondered whether Amazon, known for its hard-driving culture, would mean big changes to their pay, benefits or employment.

“I think that they are a very profit-driven company, so there might be some streamlining as far as labor,” said Sasha Hardin, 28, of the Mount Pleasant store, who has been with Whole Foods for 6-1/2 years.

A Los Angeles deli worker in his 30s, who is expecting his first child this summer, is worried about layoffs. “I want to keep working,” said the worker, who did not want his name used.

Whole Foods has a corporate culture that prizes inclusive decision-making, such as allowing workers to vote on benefits every three years and disclosing executive pay.

I have little doubts that Amazon is going to push hard to impose its corporate culture on Whole Foods. The question is whether that kind of culture can succeed at the brick & mortar level given how low and poor the pay is.

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