Whole Foods vs. Unions

Photo courtesy of Whole Foods

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In what’s being euphemistically dubbed the ‘third way’, the CEOs of Whole Foods, Costco, and Starbucks have joined together to lay out a ‘compromise‘ to the management/labor stand-off over the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA). At issue is whether employees interested in forming a union would be allowed to choose their union formation process. Current law lets companies insist upon a secret-ballot election, even when employees would prefer a majority sign-up method.

I’m not going to restate the merits of labor’s position (you can read about it here and here) but surely we can agree that employees should be able to choose how they decide to form a union, right? Well, Whole Foods CEO John Mackey thinks it’s un-American.

Mackey said that binding arbitration is “not the way we
normally do things in the United States” and that allowing workers to
organize without a secret ballot “violates a bedrock principle of
American democracy.”

First, if Mackey thinks that binding arbitration isn’t the way we do things in the US, then perhaps he should try reading a copy of Mother Jones… after all, they’re sold at Whole Foods markets.

Second, Mackey’s tired canard has been debunked over and over. Even the Wall Street Journal editorial board, home of anti-labor commentary, finally admitted last week that the “the bill doesn’t remove the secret-ballot option.” Again, it merely allows employees to choose the union formation process.

So, why would “mission-driven” Whole Foods CEO John Mackey keep
repeating this worn out lie? I mean, I understand that he doesn’t like
unions, but he’s pissing off his good progressive customers who expect that the company’s motto—”Whole Foods, Whole People, Whole Planet”—actually means something. This customer is not satisfied.

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We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

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