Since its acquisition by Amazon two years ago, Whole Foods employees indicated that their working conditions are increasing in the face of increasing pressure to focus on driving Amazon Prime deals and memberships, widespread staff understaffing, and increasing workload The reduction of the working budget has fallen significantly.
Amazon announced in June 2017 it would buy Whole Foods. In interviews with 24 Whole Foods employees in the US, employees described an increasingly under-pressure environment and the erosion of Whole Foods' corporate culture.
The interviewed employees hesitated to talk about the record for fear of retaliation.
"Amazon has changed the business so much that I can no longer recognize Whole Foods," said a member of the Whole Foods team in California. "Every day I shudder when I see the store I love being bombarded with everything and everything from Amazon, Prime signs, Amazon lockers, Amazon food sets, and prime buyers . "
and former Whole Foods employees organized Whole Worker, a group where workers join forces to work together to improve working conditions.
In a mass e-mail written by over a dozen current and former employees with Whole Workers on 21 June, the group characterized the relationship of Whole Foods to Amazon as subordinates of Amazon, where the workers are mainly used to increase the Amazon Prime memberships and prime deals.
A Whole Foods team member in the Southwest US said, "Cashiers are currently trained to ask every customer if he has Prime. In autumn, they register for the guest service. They aim for 35% of product purchases to be Amazon Prime items, even if the guest does not have Prime.
A team leader from Whole Foods, who runs a meat department in the Northeastern United States, has completed a training course for new hires now includes sections on key benefits for customers. "It had nothing to do with customer service, expectations or requirements. Just taking advantage of Prime, answering questions on Kindle, Amazon tablets, Amazon Fire Stick and Amazon music.
A Whole Foods employee in the Pacific Northwest claimed that Amazon kiosks replaced Prime lockers at Whole Foods stores across the region, where Prime customers can place and pick up Amazon orders.
"Whole Foods is not an independent company that has an investment or something from Amazon. It is an outpost for food retailers on Amazon and serves to promote online sales, prime memberships and prime devices. "
A Whole Foods representative emailed the Guardian," Our team members are at the heart of Whole Foods Market and we are proud to continue to enjoy one of the highest ratios of full-time / part-time employment and hourly hourly wages in the industry to have. We did not reduce working hours because the minimum starting wage was raised to $ 15 per hour.
However, many employees in various departments of Whole Foods said they are forced to give priority to tasks related to Amazon over all other tasks.
"We have to have big signs about our prime deals, additional signs on the displays and patterns, or we're constantly being asked about them," said a member of the Whole Foods team, who set up food workers in a special department in the Rocky Mountains One of the changes associated with Amazon is that the number of employees in the shops where they work has become the norm. Full-time employees who have reported that Amazon's working hours have been regularly reduced from 40 to 35 hours to 37 hours a week, setting a minimum wage of $ 15 for all employees, which virtually eliminates wage increases.
"I've been working for the company for over a decade and have implemented the most recent crisis since the minimum wage of $ 15," said a Whole Foods employee in the Midwest.
The employee said that his schedule was cut to 27 hours a week despite working full-time and in a understaffed department. "They give us more and more tasks and more checklists and things to do, but our working hours are getting shorter and shorter."
A Whole Foods full-time Mid-Atlantic team member commented, "Now I'll usually schedule 36 to 37 hours a week," since Amazon's minimum wage has increased.
Another full-time worker in California told the Guardian: "Since the winter of 2018, in our business labor shortage or compaction has occurred successfully, busy and a great environment. Then we stopped filling jobs, cutting work hours, and getting people to repair holes. "
A Whole Foods buyer and supervisor on the West Coast said," We do not have the manpower to bring products to customers and us on the shelves. I do not have time for customer service because we're always up to date , "