Whole Foods workers across the US are planning to hold another sickout protest on 1 May, as the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus infections at the supermarket chain continue to rise and workers charge the Amazon-owned company is doing too little to help them.
Workers complain too little is being done to enforce social distancing in stores; it is difficult, and sometimes impossible, to qualify for sick pay; and some are not given masks or training on cleaning. In the meantime, Whole Foods is reportedly recording record sales.
Dan Steinbrook, an employee at Whole Foods in Boston, said: “The bottom line is we don’t think Whole Foods or Amazon is doing nearly enough as they could be to protect both employees and customers at the store in terms of personal safety and public health.”
Steinbrook, who also participated in a sickout protest on 31 March organized by Whole Worker, a worker activism group said: “Grocery stores are one of the only places open to the public so they’ve become a significant public health concern in terms of stopping the spread of this disease. Any transmission we can stop at the grocery stores is extremely important for saving a lot of lives.”
Whole Foods workers have become increasingly concerned over the confirmed cases of coronavirus at Whole Foods stores. Employees have tested positive for coronavirus at Whole Foods locations across the country including West Orange, New Jersey, Sudbury, Massachusetts, Brookline, Massachusetts, Arlington, Massachusetts, Hingham, Massachusetts, Cambridge, Massachusetts, San Francisco, California, New York City, New York, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, New Orleans, Louisiana and Allentown, Pennsylvania.
photo credit: Peter Foley EPA (the Guardian)