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by Greta Moor
Tuesday, Jul. 01, 2003 at 6:58 PM
Whole Foods continues lying and misinforming their workers about unionizing while the only unionized workers in the company try to get the real story to their co-workers.
In an attempt to correct the lies and misinformation Whole Foods is spreading about unionizing, Whole Foods workers from Madison, Wisconsin – so far the only workers in the 140-store chain to unionize – are trying to get the truth out to their co-workers at stores across the country.
As part of this effort, workers have launched a new version of their web site – http://www.wholeworkersunite.org. As before, the site is run by Whole Foods workers and their allies committed to getting the truth out – the truth about unionizing and the truth about the company’s practices, including their vicious anti-unionism.
Workers at the Madison store voted to unionize in July, 2002 (see http://madison.indymedia.org/info/display/whole_foods/index.php for news and information about their effort). Up until that point, Whole Foods tried to keep the effort secret from workers at other stores – obviously hoping they would vote “no” and the issue would quietly go away.
But when workers won and the news got out, Whole Foods had to change its strategy. Whole Foods executives began sending a series of communications to workers at other stores filled with lies and misinformation about what happened in Madison and unionizing in general. Anti-union trainings began at various stores for both workers and management. And when union activity has sprung up at other stores, Whole Foods has responded viciously – even going so far as to hire armed guards at a store in Tyson’s Corner, West Virginia (a suburb of Washington, DC) in an attempt to intimidate and scare workers.
Meanwhile, workers at the Madison store have been involved in contract negotiations with the company, while also trying to get the truth out to their co-workers at other stores. When workers have tried sending company-wide emails to tell their side, they have been squashed by management.
Along with the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (with whom Madison workers voted to affiliate with), they took out an advertisement in a handful of alternative publications across the country to get the attention of Whole Foods workers and shoppers. All of the publications – except Vegetarian Times – ran the ad.
Workers need more help in getting the word out. If you are a worker at a Whole Foods store, if you know someone who works there, if you are a concerned customer wanting to know how you can help, or if you are simply interested in actions based on social and environmental justice, please go to their web site – http://www.wholeworkersunite.org. Get updated on what’s going on, sign the on-line petition and/or the guestbook, subscribe to the newsletter, send workers an email, try to get unions started at other Whole Foods stores – anything to help build this important movement.
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