Workers stated they are pressured to push Amazon Prime, all while handling increased workloads and being understaffed
Since they were bought by Amazon two years ago, Whole Foods employees say their working conditions have diminished considerably, amid growing pressure to focus on pushing the Amazon Prime deals and memberships, increasing workload, being understaffed, and labor budget cuts. The interviewed workers were reluctant to speak on the record because of fear of retaliation, but one Whole Foods employee in California stated:
“Amazon has changed the company so much to the point where I can’t recognize Whole Foods anymore. 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 previous workers from Whole Foods, organized Whole Worker – a group for workers to collectively push for better working conditions. In a mass email sent out to all employees of Whole Foods back in June, the group characterized the relationship between Whole Foods and Amazon as a mere subordinate to Amazon, where workers are mainly used to increase the number of Amazon Prime memberships and deals.
Whole Foods workers in the south-west and north-east of US are also noticing how more and more sales have to be Amazon Prime. Whilst new hires must know specific Prime benefits for customers. The company stated: “Whole Foods is not an independent company that has an investment or something from Amazon. It is a grocery retail outpost for Amazon, and it’s there to push online sales, Prime memberships and Prime devices.”
While a Whole Foods representative also added: “Our Team Members are the heart of Whole Foods Market and we are proud to continue to have one of the highest ratios of full-time/part-time employment and hourly starting wages in the industry. We have not cut labor hours as a result of increasing minimum starting wage to $15 per hour.”
However, numerous workers in different Whole Foods departments said they’re pushed to prioritize Amazon-related tasks over everything else.