Whole Foods Employees Are Applauding This Defiant Company Email

An internal email between a Whole Foods employee and executive management, recently leaked to Reddit. In the screenshot of the email, it appears the note was written to Executive Vice President of Operations, Christina Minardi, and President of Whole Foods' North Atlantic Region, Rick Bonin (via Linkedin and Whole Foods). The person who wrote the email that was posted to Reddit, said they were upset because they believed they were being put under extra stress with an executive visit, while employees already have been struggling. According to the email, employees have been dealing with an ongoing pandemic, the holiday season and a snowstorm that recently hit. If the visit continued, the email promised that workers would call off "to show we are tired of being used as dispensable pawns."

The worst aspect of these visits is that it would likely involve interstate travel. As CNN reports, almost all the states in the North Atlantic Region, which include Central and Eastern Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Maine, enforce some kind of quarantine on anyone travelling from infected states. A similar point not made is that among the steps to keep their team members safe during COVID-19, Whole Foods notes on its site a point about travel: "We have asked team members to cancel nonessential business travel (both domestic and international)." 

The responses to the leaked email, were unanimous in their praise. They considered the person who wrote the email a hero, agreed the visit was a dangerous waste of time and hoped he would not be fired for leaking the email. "My thoughts exactly," one user wrote on Reddit. "Hope this dude doesn't get canned for standing up for himself and his store."

Grocery industry is facing issues during the pandemic

This email is the latest in semi-audible fumings that have emerged from Whole Foods' workforce and the workforce of the grocery industry as a whole during the COVID-19 pandemic. On Nov. 24, the BBC reported on labor activists who were demanding for hazard pay, paid sick leave and better communication to workers about the pandemic's presence as the industry turned towards the holiday season. "As holiday shopping begins this Thanksgiving," President of United Food and Care Workers International, Marc Perrone, explained, "we are already seeing a huge surge of customer traffic. Unless we take immediate actions beginning this holiday week, many more essential workers will become sick and more, tragically, will die."

The hazard pay that many retailers including Whole Foods showered on their workers ended, as The Philadelphia Inquirer announced, in June. Instead, with news of a vaccine still a novelty, Amazon has, according to The Wall Street Journal's coverage, asked the CDC to consider its workers as a priority for inoculation, "We request that [the CDC panel] continue to prioritize these essential workers who cannot work from home."