Womptastic

"Let your downhills carry you uphill."

It’s true: Whole Foods employees “voted” on our benefits package this year. What Mackey doesn’t tell you is this: On the health care portion of our benefits vote, we were presented with three choices that we had no voice in drafting, and all of them resulted in significant cuts in benefits and increases in out-of-pocket employee costs. This not only has implications for the overall health of employees, but also resulted in, essentially, a pay cut.

Employees had no avenue to negotiate over whether these options were fair. We had no opportunity to discuss them with our co-workers. Instead, we were pulled in small groups to a conference room filled with computers where we listened to corporate “benefits specialists” explain each of the options, ask for clarifying questions, and then give us a few minutes to make our choice.

In my voting session, the benefits specialist glossed over the ways in which two packages threw workers with families under the bus in order to lessen cuts to the benefit packages of single workers who have no dependents.

Then, on the way out, they handed us “I voted!” stickers and thanked us for participating in “workplace democracy.”

Of course, it wasn’t workplace democracy in that conference room—it was management forcing us to accept a benefits cut in order to increase the already massive profits that we create for the company. This mask of democracy is central to the way Whole Foods does business, but it’s a mask that workers can increasingly see through.

And that’s why, in ever-increasing numbers, we want a union.

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