Looks like our friendly neighborhood bookseller has a bit of a union problem. Amazon, the second-largest private employer in the U.S., has long been anti-union, which made the company compatible bedfellows with Whole Foods, another notoriously anti-union retailer, when they bought the grocer for almost $14 billion last year.
Amid rumbling of unionization attempts by Whole Foods employees, Gizmodo got a hold of a 45-minute video produced by Amazon and reportedly shown to Whole Foods team leaders. “We are not anti-union, but we are not neutral either,” the video, which Gizmodo declined to publish, reportedly states. "We do not believe unions are in the best interest of our customers, our shareholders, or most importantly, our associates. Our business model is built upon speed, innovation, and customer obsession—things that are generally not associated with union. When we lose sight of those critical focus areas we jeopardize everyone’s job security: yours, mine, and the associates'."
The video also, according to Gizmodo, talks about union-organizing "warning signs" to look out for, including employees using words like “living wage” and “steward," distributing flyers or petitions, wearing union hats, and workers associating with people they normally don't, showing an increased interest in the company, and “any other associate behavior that is out of character." (Well that's not too broad.)
In another section, a cartoon character in the video says, “Bargaining is a roll of the dice. Things could get better for associates, but they could get worse or stay exactly the same."
According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, however, union workers make 27 percent greater wages than non-union workers’ wages; are more likely than non-union workers to have health insurance, pensions, sick leave, and other benefits, and the decline of unions have correlated with the stagnating wages in the American working class.
Union employees are also less easy to lay off: In June, Whole Foods laid off hundreds of local marketing staff at Whole Foods shops around the country.