Why This Company-Wide Email From One Whole Foods Employee Is Causing Such A Stir

While unions representing workers at Kroger teamed up with Bernie Sanders to demand that COVID-19-related Hero Pay be reinstated, another Whole Foods employee has taken a stand against management. In mid-December 2020, a Whole Foods worker emailed their resignation letter, company-wide. The letter, which was later copied onto Whole Worker, and subsequently went viral on the Whole Foods Reddit forum, articulated eerily similar concerns to those of Kroger's employees.

"I'm not ready to absolve leadership and this company's complete lack of respect and caution for team members' general welfare," The Whole Foods worker wrote, noting that, "Whole Foods Market has had outbreaks at nearly every store in the company. My location, Birmingham, Michigan, has had multiple cases of COVID, including a streak of seven cases in eight days leading into the week before Thanksgiving." The letter-writer further alleged that "I know team members who have lost family members and come to work understanding that if they do not have the PTO to support them, they won't get paid."

While the employee in question quit their job, they nonetheless demanded that Whole Foods reinstate the $2 extra an hour that it had given to employees in recognition of the pandemic. (The company, per Business Insider, ended this pay in June). They additionally demanded a "return [of] health benefits for those contracted as part-time workers," the expansion of "PTO coverage and payments to factor in the increased risk of exposure to COVID," and that the company "mandate face masks or shields for customers."

Whole Foods response to the company-wide email

Part of the consternation surrounding the Michigan-based Whole Foods worker's resignation letter is that it seems to have been deleted within minutes. One self-identified Whole Foods employee on Reddit claimed that "I didn't even get to see it, I originally saw it on someone else's email and it was also gone from their inbox when they went back to check."

Whole Foods seems to be taking a duck-and-cover approach in response to the letter. When Business Insider reached out to the company a spokesperson denied that the resignation letter was sent company-wide." They further told the news outlet that their employees' safety was "its highest priority" highlighting the fact that the supermarket "will invest more than $450 million this year to maintain rigorous safety measures in our stores and facilities and to provide our team members with additional benefits to support them during this time."

Be that as it may, similar to Kroger, Whole Foods employees seem to run greater risks of contracting COVID-19. Earlier this week, for example, Daily News reported that more than 24 employees in Brooklyn have come down with the virus. "My concern basically is, they're not following the protocol," an employee interviewed by the news source said, "It's more about the money than our health. I don't think that's fair at all."