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Monday, September 10, 2007

Whole Foods scares off local competition

At least in this case in Tennessee, it has seemingly frightened it away.

Do you get a good vibe off Whole Foods? For some reason, I'm not getting one. It's not just this episode. Between the "libertarian" founder who's an internet troll in his spare time, its explicit goal to eliminate its competitors, and its yuppie gloss on green, it's creeping me out.

Comments (11)

From the labor perspective, Whole Foods represents a huge threat to working people.

"Natural" foods is the only sector of the grocery industry that is growing, and the only one that is not significantly unionized.

Getting paid in "cool bucks" doesn't go far when you've got a family to feed, clothe and shelter.

Between Whole Foods, Walmart and Super Target, organized labor's toe hold on the retail grocery industry is under significant threat.

Well even New Seasons isn't unionized, but I'm told that pay and benefits are well above what a union could bring anyway... even dishwashers can make $12 or so an hour at NSM, and part time employees can get full benefits after a few months. Nonetheless, I wouldn't mind if they explored it...

three words folks: don't shop there.

TKrueg, aren't you a manager at New Seasons? Or am I thinking of somebody else?

Anyway, unions aren't only about wages (and I sincerely doubt Mr. Rohter is paying "well above" a union wage).

Unions are really about fairness and democracy in the workplace. Better wages and benefits are just a part of that.

Yep, it was you.

Hey, you have a right to your opinion about working conditions at New Seasons, but we have a right to know that it's coming from a New Seasons manager, don't you think?

Or is there another TKrueg in the Portland blogosphere?

I'm with Kathe W. - I never shop there!

I wasn't hiding my status at NSM, I clearly commented on a previous post under this moniker. I just assume that it's out there.

Also, I don't think anything I said can be read differently with or without my disclaimer. I don't know what industry averages are for wages, but I know we have new hires from every store imaginable that can't believe what we pay. Union or nonunion. My disclaimer: I'm pro-union but I have heard we're well above bar. Take that for what you will..

TKrueg, the way I read your comment was as somebody who has heard about wages and salaries at New Seasons. That's a big difference from somebody who is a manager at New Seasons. It absolutely matters.

At any rate, be careful with what you say about being "pro-union". I was a "manager" at Nature's, and Brian Rohter came down on me like a ton of bricks when I started agitatin' for a union back in '96. I was suspended, subjected to a gag order, and bad mouthed by name in the press (I honored the gag order; management did not).

Make no mistake: New Seasons is big-time anti-union. If anybody tries to organize there, I can predict move-by-move what Rohter's response will be.

"Oh you can't scare me/
I'm stickin' with the union...
'til the day I die..."


Union Girl who is married to Hockey God, aka Himself

In terms of huge corporations, WFMI does a lot of things right, and that's part of the reason people patronize it. Growing up in Texas, I have known a lot of folks who have worked at Whole Foods at all levels from bag checker,to the regional office, to the corporate office, who enjoyed working at Whole Foods because of a congenial staff, competitive pay, and good products.

This from money.cnn.com

Whole Foods Market
What makes it so great?
Whole Foods has long had a salary cap limiting pay of top execs, currently at 19 times average full-time pay. But founder and CEO John Mackey went further, reducing his salary to $1 and forgoing all future stock options.

Headquarters: Austin

Issues about unionis and political affiliation aside, I find it hard to shop at Whole Foods for a basic reason: they don't really sell much in the way of whole foods. It's just a tarted up, more expensive Safeway that sells the idea of organic and local more than the substance.

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