Libba Letton, a spokeperson for Whole Foods, said the company supports its employees right to unionize. “So far, none of our employees have chosen to go through with unionizing. That choice is always open to them. They can choose to unionize or not to unionize. It’s always 100 percent their choice. We support that. It’s the law.” Letton also said Whole Foods has “an exceptionally high number of employees—70-80 percent nationally—who qualify as full time, which means they’re eligible for our health care plan. I think that speaks well of us as a place to work.”
Weissman told the Advocate last week that activists are also considering addressing freedom of speech issues at the Hadley Whole Foods after a September incident in which the property owner obtained a trespass order to keep activists distributing leaflets away from the store’s entrance. (The activists continued their action in the parking lot instead). In contrast, Weissman noted, WalMart is bound by a National Labor Relations Board ruling that requires it to allow union activists the same access to leaflet at store entrances as other groups, such as people seeking petition signatures for ballot questions.
Such actions would address multiple issues, Weissman said. “There’s the right of [Whole Foods’] workers to have healthcare, and a union if they want. And our right to inform the public at the door instead of being kicked out into the parking lot.”
Before any actions are taken, Weissman said, JWJ plans to confer with United Food and Commercial Workers (the union that represents supermarket employees) and the Franklin-Hampshire Healthcare Coalition.