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Living in the heart of progressive, yuppiefied DC, I know plenty of folks who would never step into a Wal-Mart -- on philosophical/political grounds -- but who rely on Whole Foods as their primary grocer. Whole Foods, after all, has done a damn good job of publicly portraying itself as a lefty-friendly company, what with its green credentials and its permanent slot near the top of Fortune's Best Places to Work List. Now, I've always thought that the idea of Fortune Magazine compiling a list of the best places to work would be like Colonel Sanders printing a list of the best farms at which to be a chicken, but whatever. The fact is that most people don't know that Whole Foods is run by a libertarian extremist, John Mackey, whose politics -- when stripped of a hippie veneer calculated to attract progressives -- look far more like Ayn Rand's than Barack Obama's.

The proof is in the role that Whole Foods has played in opposing the two most critical domestic agenda items of the Obama Administration. On the Employee Free Choice Act, the most critical labor law reform in over 50 years, Whole Foods has been in the vanguard of the corporate charge to kill the bill and keep unions on the ground. This is hardly surprising, as Mackey absolutely loathes labor unions:

The union is like having herpes. It doesn't kill you, but it's unpleasant and inconvenient, and it stops a lot of people from becoming your lover.

Mackey dresses his feelings up a lot prettier than Lee Scott, but he ultimately will do whatever he can to kill unions at Whole Foods and beyond. Far from supporting real labor law reform -- he wants to mandate free rider laws across the country and allow CEOs to start captive company unions. These are positions that would attract the ire of progressives were they uttered by Wal-Mart or Tyson Foods, but which get lost in the Whole Foods greenwashing. And it's not like the grocery industry isn't heavily unionized -- by taking such an extreme anti-union position, Mackey and Whole Foods are the exception, not the rule.

That said, I'm used to seeing labor rights issues go unnoticed by many progressives, and I'm consequently unsurprised that Whole Foods continues to draw millions of liberal customers attracted by the stores' admittedly excellent produce and fish selection. (I'm just happy that the unionized Giants and Safeways in DC have been rapidly improving their own wares.)  But now, Whole Foods is messing with health reform -- and that's guaranteed to get the attention of pretty much anyone who voted for Barack Obama:

John Mackey, chief executive of Whole Foods, said that while his company offers coverage, he worries that an employer mandate would lead to more stringent federal rules on what employer plans must include.

He said that would drive up the cost of employer benefits, motivating companies to end their benefits and instead let employees sign up for the public insurance option, figuring that paying a penalty would be less costly. This would result in eventual domination by the public insurance plan -- something Mackey suspects is reformers' secret hope.

"It's a Trojan horse," he said.

No public option, no employer mandate -- no effective health reform. No unions to bargain benefits. That's Whole Foods' position. What's yours?

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 10:00 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Unions stop people from being your lover? (14+ / 0-)

    Uh... what?

    Never slowed me down!

    "Right wing freak machine" General Wes Clark

    by Tracker on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 10:02:00 AM PDT

  •  Due to my wife's food allergies (21+ / 0-)

    we had to sop getting much of our food at Save-Mart and drive an extra half-hour to the only place we've found that carries food that she can eat:

    Whole Foods.

    Well, fuck.

    Are you on the Wreck List? Horde on Garrosh.

    by Moody Loner on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 10:03:29 AM PDT

  •  I love Wal-Mart. (6+ / 0-)

    I'm sorry.  That's just the way it is.  Besides, it's a couple of hundred miles to a Whole Foods.  And they sound kind of snotty, besides.

    Which say, Stand by thyself, come not near to me; for I am holier than thou. These are a smoke in my nose, a fire that burneth all the day.

    by bugscuffle on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 10:04:20 AM PDT

  •  Next thing you know (8+ / 0-)

    you're gonna tell me that Trader Joe is a birther!

  •  Its his business (0+ / 0-)

    Its his decision, wrong he loses money, right he makes money. Money, the great motivator!

    Don't drink and blog

    by c2olgos2 on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 10:04:55 AM PDT

    •  Not smart business (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ken in MN, moosely2006, JeffW

      to piss off your customers.

      This is your world These are your people You can live for yourself today Or help build tomorrow for everyone -8.75, -8.00

      by DisNoir36 on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 10:07:39 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  And like all greedy fucks (6+ / 0-)

        He just wants more money.

        You know, you can only spend so much money in a lifetime.

        Greedy fucks. They make the world not go round.

        We need two lists: those we will work to elect and those we will defeat. If you're not progressive, you're not a Democrat.

        by moosely2006 on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 10:09:31 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Yep, pisses me off. I won't be going in to any (4+ / 0-)

        Whole Foods from now on.  I can live without them.

        Banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies. -Thomas Jefferson-

        by coloradocomet on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 10:34:05 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Whole Foods customers don't look pissed off to me (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        roboton, The Sinistral, jabu, jkleins, cap76

        They look quite happy whenever I go in there.  The employees seem happy too.

        So.. we have a company that tops the list of best places to work.

        It is very popular with lots of customers wanting healthy choices, from liberals to conservatives (I usually can't tell by looking at them which political stripe they are).

        They have one of the most progressive employee health care plans I have ever seen that rewards healthy living.

        They provide very high quality foods, especially organics.

        But because you don't like the politics of the owner, they should be banned from the face of the earth.

        You know.. sometime I think progressives are their own worst fucking enemies.  It's really laughable.

        "Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others." - G. Marx

        by Skeptical Bastard on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 10:45:14 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I don't shop there (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Linnaeus, ZenTrainer, DFH

          so fuck you too.  I've never been in one.  There isn't one anywhere near me.  I was just commenting how it's not smart business practice to piss off your customers.

          But since you mentioned it...

          Yes I hate the owner's politics AND policies.

          He might have a good healthcare plan for his employees (and I don't know) but he's preventing everyone else from having one too.

          He might take care of his employees financially (again I don't know)  but he's fighting to ensure that other people get paid shit wages by opposing unions.

          From what I do know, he caters to the wealthy and sells expensive 'organic products' (I have organic products too, in my backyard!) to customers who can afford to make healthy choices.

          He's no different than any of the other scumsuckers.

          Oh and last I checked we progressives had a fucking choice in this country to shop wherever we wanted.  Nobody wants him banned but we do think that if this asshole thinks it's okay to fight against policies that would benefit us, then we should be able to choose to shop somewhere else.

          The only laughable lout here is you.

          This is your world These are your people You can live for yourself today Or help build tomorrow for everyone -8.75, -8.00

          by DisNoir36 on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 11:08:39 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  This (0+ / 0-)

          But because you don't like the politics of the owner, they should be banned from the face of the earth.

          ...is not a claim that the diarist made.

          Procrastination: Hard work often pays off after time, but laziness always pays off now.

          by Linnaeus on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 11:51:22 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  The Employees May Be Happy (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ZenTrainer

          I go to WholeFoods about once  a month.  Never have I met the same employee again. So it looks to me the employees are even happier to leave.

    •  The problem is that money dictates decisions, so (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      EthrDemon, moosely2006, st minutia

      other more important things like security and quality of life are considered worthless in the decision calculus.

  •  Public option only? (9+ / 0-)

    Hell, that'd work for me. Drive away all the private insurance companies.

    Abolish gun control, marriage, and helmet laws. -7.00, -3.79

    by KVoimakas on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 10:05:30 AM PDT

  •  I'm glad to see labor issues on the front page. (16+ / 0-)

    It is important to get unions in all grocery stores.  Otherwise the unscrupulous employers like Whole Foods can cut their costs by shortchanging workers, while union stores can't get that advantage.  

    We shop Giant's because of the unions.

  •  whole pay check (18+ / 0-)

    as long as im spending that kind of money, ill pay myself, thank you, as a part owner of willy st. coop!

  •  I've been making the same point to my wife. (10+ / 0-)

    "Whole Paycheck" as I call the place, is in fact run by someone Alan Greenspan would worship.

    The bottom line for me, however, is that the shit is overpriced and doesn't really taste all the different from shit you can find at PathMark for much lower.

    In any case, we go to some of the more independent elitist liberal supermarkets where shit is always overpriced.

    "If you come to a fork in the road, take it." - Yogi Berra

    by brooklynbadboy on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 10:06:10 AM PDT

    •  It's not just about taste. (14+ / 0-)

      It's also about our unsustainable food economy.

      Of course, as Michael Pollan makes clear in The Omnivores Dilemma (a truly indispensable book....if you haven't read it, get it now), Whole Foods organic food, while marginally better than regular factory farmed food, doesn't really address many of the core problems with our factory farmed economy.

      If you can afford it, it's better to eat local.  Shop at farmers markets and local food coops.  

      Policies that were wrong under George W. Bush are no less wrong because Barack Obama is in the White House. - Bob Herbert

      by GreenSooner on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 10:09:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  For me, eating isn't a political cause. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        nycwahoodem, brein

        It's about filling my stomach with the maximum amount of quality at the lowest possible price, except when I don't give a shit how much it costs. Like when it comes to top quality beef, for example.

        Those Greenmarket cookies taste like shit, by the way.

        "If you come to a fork in the road, take it." - Yogi Berra

        by brooklynbadboy on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 10:13:04 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  If anything is political for you, food ought to. (7+ / 0-)

          Food issues touch on the environment, social justice, labor equality, energy policy, public health, and your quality of life.  I presume if you have a Daily Kos account that you care about political issues; if so, you really, really ought to be concerned with food policy and its ramifications.  

          It's unfortunate that on this particular issue, despite its numerous impacts on all of our lives, you would prefer to to focuse solely on "filling [your] stomach with the maximum amount of quality at the lowest possible price" — essentially the definition of mindless consumerism.

        •  Maybe this will change your mind. (5+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Dube, PsychoSavannah, fizziks, jabu, ZenTrainer

          "The party of ideas has become the party of Beavis and Butthead." ~ Paul Krugman.

          by Neon Vincent on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 10:51:18 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  are you a douchebag? (0+ / 0-)

          Seriously, I ask that because your comments are making you seem like one.  You might want to take a metaphorial mirror and look at your attitudes

          It's about filling my stomach with the maximum amount of quality at the lowest possible price

          So no regard for the externalities and consequences of what you do, to yourself and others?

          All this wasted time learning and acquiring skills... And all along I should have just squinted to see Russia

          by fizziks on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 01:20:02 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  The older I get the more I think our (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Neon Vincent

        bodies are obliged to eat local foods. I follow my cravings often, and they usually lead to local foods. Pico de Gallo, for example.

      •  pollan (0+ / 0-)

        is a hack.

        it's easy to eat local when you live in berkely and have the breadbasket/fruitbasket/meatbasket of california all year round.

        tell me what I, in NYC, should eat locally in the dead of winter. i sort of like bananas, according to mr. pollan, too bad, i should live elsewhere.

        •  Someone did a lovely photo diary of a (4+ / 0-)

          farmer's market in NYC - I think it was Manhattan but I could be wrong.  If you want to eat bananas, eat bananas, but it's better to eat them in knowledge than ignorance.

          HOPE for CA: http://www.couragecampaign.org/

          by slowbutsure on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 10:39:15 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  yes (0+ / 0-)

            there are farmer's markets. but in the winter, a person SHOULD NOT and cannot survive in full health on winter root vegetables. people need fruit.

            the whole foods stores here have many NJ, NY, and PA products. they try. many of these farms are small and can't fully support the millions of shoppers at these stores...neither can farmer's markets.

            it's all well and good to talk about co-ops and farmer's markets in small neighborhoods and cities, it's different in the middle of 8 million people who don't live near an area with a constant growing season.

            i really thought the difference between progressives and conservatives was the willingness to have a discussion in the face of reality instead of dogma. acting like food options for 8 million people don't change reality, is very silly.

          •  Union Square has a farmer's market to die for n/t (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Neon Vincent, slowbutsure

            Policies that were wrong under George W. Bush are no less wrong because Barack Obama is in the White House. - Bob Herbert

            by GreenSooner on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 10:54:43 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  I live in Oklahoma (4+ / 0-)

          ...hardly the breadbasket of the country. But I'm able to largely eat locally if I want to.

          NYC has terrific farmers markets.

          Part of eating locally is eating seasonally.  People survived for centuries in the climate of New York without a global food economy.

          Of course, our current economy is built to incentivize eating the products of the industrial agricultural economy. In the short-run it will be cheaper not to eat locally. No question about it.

          But this isn't about absolutes. You like bananas. Great. Eat some bananas (though it's an odd example, as Californians also cannot enjoy local bananas). But think about, at least occasionally, substituting local produce (New York grows wonderful apples, for example). Every bit counts.

          Policies that were wrong under George W. Bush are no less wrong because Barack Obama is in the White House. - Bob Herbert

          by GreenSooner on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 10:50:40 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  It's also possible (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Neon Vincent

          to be thoughtful about these issues, eat locally when possible, and consider the choices you make when it's not.

          Although in this thread you seem a lot more interested in saying fuck you to the notion of eating thoughtfully -- whether for environmental or economic justice reasons -- at all.

      •  For me, it's about convenience (0+ / 0-)

        Co-op pickup times were extremely limited and inflexible;  missing a pickup due to work meant throwing away $20. I also got a disproportionate amount of veggies I hated.

        Farmer's market has no parking. Carrying bags of produce for 2 blocks with a toddler in tow is anti-fun. And just shopping for food and scrutinizing fruit at a busy farmer's market while your kid wants to run around is not feasible. I'm afraid I'll be paying for food, turn around, and my kid will be gone.

        So I shop at Trader Joe's instead.

        "Any dictator would admire the uniformity and obedience of the U.S. media."-- Noam Chomsky

        by just some lurker guy on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 11:53:10 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  The politics behind "holistic" health (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jct, brein, Neon Vincent

      tend to be pretty libertarian.  Many of the biggest vitamin companies, for instance, are based in Utah.  It is an industry that is terrified of health care reform because one of their primary markets are the uninsured--that is, it is cheaper to buy vitamins than it is to go to a Dr if you are uninsured.  The other demographic are rich folks who have good insurance but who can afford to buy the most expensive items in the store.  I know this because I worked in the industry for many years.  

      •  The neutraceutical industry is anti-regulation (0+ / 0-)

        For years, the makers of neutraceuticals have been fighting this daft notion that medicine should be shown both safe and effective.
         
        Often they portray regulation as a conspiracy by BIG PHARMA to destroy competing alternative remedies, to make their opposition palatable to their hippie constituency.  But in the end it's really because HEAD-ON doesn't actually contain any useful ingredients (in fact it's worse than that:  HEAD-ON doesn't even contain some of the ingredients listed on the box, because some are diluted to a concentration much smaller than 1 molecule per container.)

  •  Ukrop's is the best (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    skywaker9, JesseCW

    Hardworking Democrats in charge there, but when I do move North into the land of Whole Foods, Arlington, Fake Virginia in general - it's Harris Teeter for me.

    •  isn't (0+ / 0-)

      the Ukrops family crazy right wingers who get people banned from airwaves because they find them objectionable...and don't sell alcohol.

    •  Oh, you gotta try MOM's! (0+ / 0-)

      My Organic Market.  Absolutely fantastic small chain.  Closest to Arlington is in Del Ray (if you're going to the Harris Teeter on 41 near Potomac Yard, it's maybe 3/4 of a mile from there on Mt Vernon Ave, across from the Wafle Shop).

      "When those windmills start to chop people up, tilting at them may not only be rational, but may become a necessity." -arodb

      by JR on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 10:45:33 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yay MOM's (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JR

        Here in Maryland we have one that I can stop at on my way home -- though it involves going down Rockville Pike for me to get there.  I go right by the Whole Foods on my way.

        On Parklawn Drive (which becomes Nicholson Lane).

        •  That's the one I go to now... (0+ / 0-)

          ...since moving to Wheaton last year.  I'm close enough that I only have to go past the Safeway on Randolph Rd to get there (though a Shoppers and a Giant are both closer to my house).

          "When those windmills start to chop people up, tilting at them may not only be rational, but may become a necessity." -arodb

          by JR on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 11:38:00 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  I've never even heard of this company before. (5+ / 0-)

    Makes me wonder what else i'm missing in a town of roughly 8 thousand.

    Abolish gun control, marriage, and helmet laws. -7.00, -3.79

    by KVoimakas on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 10:06:43 AM PDT

  •  Never shopped there either (5+ / 0-)

    They're "earth-friendliness" was obviously fake and no large corporation is ever a friend to labor.

    I have my nice produce and butcher and fish guy and box store.

    Three be the things I shall never attain: Envy, Content, and sufficient champagne. --Dorothy Parker

    by M Sullivan on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 10:06:52 AM PDT

  •  Here's my position: Co-ops (14+ / 0-)

    My food co-op is owned by those it serves and pays employees (union) a decent wage with benefits.

    Hunger Mountain Co-op

    It's one of the larger retails businesses in town.

    This is not what I thought I'd be when I grew up.

    by itzik shpitzik on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 10:07:12 AM PDT

  •  Local food coop (8+ / 0-)

    That's our position, we shop at our local food co-operative for most of our groceries.  On many things it's cheaper and we are supporting a local business that's integral to our community.

  •  thanks for this (4+ / 0-)

    I've never understood how Whole Foods' marketing efforts have been so successful, but a lot of people seem to buy into the brand.

    Wal-Mart and Whole Foods are extremely similar companies. What do about retailers like them is an interesting discussion, and the solutions depend upon what outcome you want to see.

  •  My position is in line at Noriega Produce. (4+ / 0-)

    I wouldn't go to Whole Foods any more than I'd go to Safeway.  We have a great local grocer who carries a wide variety of organics and local produce (at reasonable prices!) and we're happy to support them.  When we're at our cabin near Santa Cruz, we shop at New Leaf, a very small chain in that area.  Much better than Whole Paycheck.

    They only call it Class War when we fight back.

    by lineatus on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 10:08:24 AM PDT

  •  The owner of Whole Foods has a huge ego (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    moosely2006

    I happen to know that he was denied a contract to open a store at Bridgeport Village, an upscale shopping center.  So what does he do?  Finds a site across the street and builds a store there out of spite.

    "Polls are like crack, political activists know they're bad for them but they read them anyways."-Unknown

    by skywaker9 on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 10:09:27 AM PDT

    •  didnt this happen (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      skywaker9

      because the original store went union so he closed that store and opened another one across the street. Or is this an urban legend?

    •  The Ego is costing him (4+ / 0-)

      They went through a period of rapid expansion and acquisition here in Northern California.  They decided to build a brand new store in Sonoma, CA where I used to live.  This was a town of 6,000 people that already had an absolutely outstanding locally owned market.  The WF ended up laying off a bunch of people from their initial hire because people remained staunchly loyal to the local place.  Whenever I went in there (because the local place didn't carry one particular type of cider I like) it was always dead.

      Where I live now, there is a shell of a WF that was supposed to open in March.  They built it from the ground up.  Then, they ran out of money.  They won't be opening it until Summer 2010 at the earliest.  Despite this, I seriously question the location.  Its right by the freeway, adjacent to a mall, but in a lower-middle class part of town.  The higher-class areas a few miles away already have excellent local markets right in their neighborhoods.

  •  asdf (0+ / 0-)

    If he delivers what his customers want and his employees are happy I don;t care WHO his idols are.

    Sounds like a successful and responsible merchant to me.

    I'd shop at his stores if we had them here.

    I don't have "issues". I have a full subscription!

    by GayIthacan on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 10:09:50 AM PDT

  •  Support your local co-op! (3+ / 0-)

    I am proud to live in a nation that hasn't practiced torture since 1/20/2009 - I just wish this alone didn't justify celebrating.

    by RethinkEverything on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 10:10:08 AM PDT

  •  It's been my experience that people with this (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    fizziks

    mindset who are self made; vs the Silver spoon Waltons; had a bad personal experience with unions either with a family member or themselves as young adults.

    Dear GOP&Conservatives If all you have to offer are Cliches and Hyperbole then STFU. Thanks XOXOXO

    by JML9999 on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 10:10:28 AM PDT

  •  Assembly lines created Unions (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ice Blue, Albatross, JeffW

    That's the way I look at it. People are obliged to form unions.

  •  Okay, I admit it, (6+ / 0-)

    I love Whole Foods. And in all honesty not shopping there will make my life a little bit harder. But I've had enough. I just went to their corporate website to send an email that I am done spending my money with them only to see it used against me and my best interests.

    Interestingly enough, when I went to the email screen I got this:

    Site Maintenance Notice
    Sorry, but the page or function you attempted to use is under maintenance and is not currently available. Please try again in a few hours; thank you for your patience.

  •  buy local (0+ / 0-)

    Try Magruder's.

  •  It's a Pretentious Place (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jct, timewarp, washunate

    And the customers reflect that.  I shopped at "Hole" Foods a few times and when I saw union pickets there, I never shopped there again.  Fortunately, the grocery stores here in Northern NJ are union stores and they have a pretty good assortment for vegetarians and vegans, especially Kings.

    Peace.

  •  Ive always wondered (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    fizziks, JeffW

    why some libertarians are opposed to unions. I mean, as long as one isn't forced to join a union and it exists as a voluntary organizational entity what is so bad?

    Opinions alter, manners change, creeds rise and fall, but the moral laws are written on the table of eternity. -Lord Acton

    by Imperial on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 10:12:35 AM PDT

    •  Here's why. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      timewarp

      Only dead fish go with the flow.

      by dov12348 on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 10:14:05 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  but (0+ / 0-)

      you are in fact forced into the union...to get the job you have to be in it basically, if the store unionized.

      •  false (0+ / 0-)

        You do not have to join the union. You do have to pay for some union activities (like bargaining for higher wages and benefits) but you do not have to support their political activities. Almost all businesses have open shops, even though non-union workers benefit from concessions bargained for by the union.

    •  Because unions can have non-cost drawbacks. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cap76, Imperial

      While I understand the reasons for unions, and think they are generally good, in practice, at least in the industry I'm involved with, along with unions comes much stricter work rules that get in the way of productivity: Seniority, difficulty in fireing less performing workers, and lack of flexability in work and assigments. I don't know if and how much these things would affect grocery work, and how much they derive from the contract negotiations, but these factors do not motivate me to go out of my way to find union labor when I want to get things done.

      From a libertarian perspective, a union could be seen as a labor monopoly.

  •  I don't have anything to do with them, and never (4+ / 0-)

    have been inclined to.  For me, this is just the icing on the cake.

    I have always based this on the premise that a grocer that needs to call themselves Whole Foods is like a car dealer that calls themselves Honest John's:  They are clearly hiding something!

    I think maybe the slang name 'Whole Paycheck' had something to do with this.

  •  Mackay also got caught by the SEC (7+ / 0-)

    I'm not going anywhere. I'm standing up, which is how one speaks in opposition in a civilized world. - Ainsley Hayes

    by jillian on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 10:12:55 AM PDT

  •  Thankfully in Portland (4+ / 0-)

    We have a choice, called New Seasons:
    New Seasons

    "Polls are like crack, political activists know they're bad for them but they read them anyways."-Unknown

    by skywaker9 on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 10:13:19 AM PDT

    •  That's where I'd shop (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      skywaker9, Magnifico

      if I were up there -- a friend works in the Beaverton store and raves about their employee-friendly policies.

      Civility is the way of telling someone to go fuck themselves in such a way that the someone agrees it probably is a good idea.

      by Cali Scribe on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 10:36:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  They are (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Magnifico

        They used to own a store called "Nature's" and then sold out to Wild Oats.  They served out their five year non-compete and then opened New Seasons.

        "Polls are like crack, political activists know they're bad for them but they read them anyways."-Unknown

        by skywaker9 on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 10:42:55 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I'm stealing this. (15+ / 0-)

    I've always thought that the idea of Fortune Magazine compiling a list of the best places to work would be like Colonel Sanders printing a list of the best farms at which to be a chicken

  •  Sigh! (4+ / 0-)

    Isn't there any company that isn't tainted by this sort of crap?

    Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

    by JeffW on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 10:13:55 AM PDT

    •  Sure. (0+ / 0-)

      As the diarist says, lots of grocery stores are unionized.  My first job as a bagger in a grocery store took UFCW dues out of my paycheck.

      In fact, all the grocery stores I can bike to are unionized.  To reach a non-union store I have to get in a car and drive out to the highway to the big box variety.  

  •  Join your local natural foods co-op (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pinko Elephant, itzik shpitzik

    if you possibly can!

    Seattleites are fortunate to have a great one: PCC Natural Markets

    The difference between liberals and conservatives is that liberals want a better life for everyone and conservatives want a better life for themselves.

    by Mehitabel9 on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 10:14:26 AM PDT

    •  I misse the co-ops in my hometown (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      brein

      in Humboldt County, CA, there's a couple and they're beautiful, big spacious stores with everything you could possibly want. Gorgeous places. Whole Foods hasn't gotten in up there, probably because the niche is already taken.

      Here in the Twin Cities I live too far from the coops and Whole Foods to really be able to use them.  So I just have to source what I can from the local supermarket.

  •  The Whole Foods (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Neon Vincent

    I'm not going anywhere. I'm standing up, which is how one speaks in opposition in a civilized world. - Ainsley Hayes

    by jillian on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 10:14:32 AM PDT

  •  "What smells at Whole Foods?" (6+ / 0-)

    Sharon Smith asks the question.

    Using a carrot and very large stick, Mackey managed to "convince" Whole Foods workers across the country to vote in 2004 to dramatically downgrade their own health care benefits by switching to a so-called "consumer-driven" health plan--corporate double-speak for the high deductible-low coverage savings account plans preferred by profit-driven enterprises. As Mackey advised other executives in the same 2004 speech, "[I]f you want to set up a consumer-driven health plan, I strongly urge you not to put it as one option in a cafeteria plan, but to make it the only option."

    There have been setbacks for Mackey, to be sure. He suffered public humiliation in 2007 when he was exposed as having blogged under the false user name "rahodeb"--his wife's name spelled in reverse--between 1999 and 2006 at online financial chat boards hosted by Yahoo.

    For seven years, he backstabbed his rivals--including the Wild Oats franchise that Mackey later purchased as an addition to the Whole Foods Empire. The Wall Street Journal reported a typical post: "'Would Whole Foods buy (Wild Oats)? Almost surely not at current prices,' rahodeb wrote. 'What would they gain? (Their) locations are too small.'"

    At one point, rahodeb even admired Mackey's latest haircut, gushing, "I think he looks cute!"

    "The heresy of individualism: thinking oneself a completely self-sufficient unit and asserting this imaginary `unity' against all others" Thomas Merton

    by Pinko Elephant on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 10:14:41 AM PDT

  •  Whole Foods=Whole Paycheck (5+ / 0-)

    My brother says Whole Foods is called Whole Paycheck by the people who patronize the business.

    •  So they think it is a ripoff, but, they still go (0+ / 0-)

      there.  Is it a status thing or what?

      •  I sure as hell think it is. (0+ / 0-)

        I live in Northern California.  People here are above average affluence.  Being "Green" is defiantly a status symbol.

        I look at the number of Lexus Rh 400's and know it to be true.

      •  There are some things you can buy there (0+ / 0-)

        and it can be cheap.  If you know how to shop.  Like natural peanut butter and sugarless jams.  Etc.  If you avoid the fancy stuff it is a convenient one stop place for staples if you like to eat "real food".  I  shop there less now that Trader Joe's has come to NYC

      •  No, some folks just want more than calories. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        fizziks, brein

        The food available at Whole Foods is high-quality, and there are a number of organic and gourmet product options that are simply not available at most grocery stores.  Thinking something is expensive is not the same as thinking something is a rip-off, and people often spend more than the lowest possible price for goods for reasons other than what other people might think about them.

        Being willing to spend more — on groceries, or on anything — is just an acknowledgment that a higher return often necessitates a higher investment.

      •  not a "rip off" (0+ / 0-)

        See, I know this is a difficut concept for many people, but some of us do not automatically see something that is more expensive as necessarily being a rip off.

        Is it a "rip off" to pay more or a 63" HD flat panel TV when you can just pick up an old 12" black and white unit with a handle and rabbit ears at a garage sale.  No, it is more expensive, but not a rip off.

        Some people (myself included) are willing to make sacrifices in other areas in order to pay more for higher quality, better tasting, healthier food.  This involves splitting my shopping between Trader Joes, normal grocery stores, and yes, Whole Foods.  It isn't a status thing because it's for me, and nobody knows where I got the food anyway.  

        All this wasted time learning and acquiring skills... And all along I should have just squinted to see Russia

        by fizziks on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 01:29:51 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I've always thought the "whole paycheck" thing (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      fizziks

      was stupid. Obviously it's widespread so plenty of people think it's clever, but aside from the fact that, well, organic and specialty products tend to cost more so a store full of them will also tend to cost more, I don't even think it's that true.

  •  I don't think WF's "green" imagine is completely (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pinko Elephant, timewarp

    ...deserved.  Most people assume that the produce they buy there is organic, but most of it is not in my local WF store.  I don't regularly shop there because it is inconvenient, expensive and has a terrible parking problem on the weekends, and I am a member of a CSA farm so I get my organic produce weekly from there.

    That said, I like the selection of meats and cheese they offer and the number of organic products they offer overall and the store was generally clean, well lighted and well staffed the time I was there.  

    Sorry to hear that the owner is so against what he kind of pretends to support.  Money talks.  I keep saying it on here:  Howard Dean wasn't making some kind of metaphor when he said we need to buy our country back.  He meant it literally.

    And tell me why again it would be so bad for businesses for all their employees to go get their health coverage elsewhere?  Is it because they couldn't lord health coverage over the masses any longer to keep them enslaved in jobs that otherwise suck but for the benefits?

    "When people show you who they really are, believe them." - Maya Angelou

    by Pennsylvanian on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 10:15:34 AM PDT

  •  We're lucky (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Red Bean, JesseCW

    The area we live in has several different locally owned markets.  Between those, the weekly farmers' markets, and Trader Joe's, we don't ever set foot inside a Whole Foods.  My mother worked for them for YEARS (starting at a local market that was bought out by WF), and ultimately walked out because their corporate culture is very toxic and cutthroat in the middle management areas.  I later found out about Mackey's politics, and his skillful manipulation in the marketing arena, and refused to give them my business.

    That they are way overpriced helped my decision.

  •  So what's the problem? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ppluto, jct

    He said that would drive up the cost of employer benefits, motivating companies to end their benefits and instead let employees sign up for the public insurance option, figuring that paying a penalty would be less costly. This would result in eventual domination by the public insurance plan -- something Mackey suspects is reformers' secret hope.

    Okay  - so what's the problem here? This is in short why US manufacturing has a hard time competing with other western countries - manufacturers can do what they specialize in: manufacturing, instead of also having to act as a health care provider.

    Terminator Salvation was a terrible movie.

    by Bobs Telecaster on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 10:17:29 AM PDT

  •  Isn't this the same guy (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JesseCW, soms

    who got caught making up bogus stories about his competitor, causing their stock to drop, then buying it up?

  •  It's crazy that NYC would ban Wal-Mart because (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pinko Elephant, JesseCW, soms, washunate

    of its labor practices, but encourage "Whole Ripoff" stores even though it has worse anti-union practices than Wal-Mart.

    It's a class thing, of course. Whole Foods sells the kind of shit upper income white liberals like, while Wal-Mart basically sells bullshit.

    "If you come to a fork in the road, take it." - Yogi Berra

    by brooklynbadboy on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 10:17:40 AM PDT

    •  Whole foods employees make a living wage (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      fizziks, jabu, brein

      they are paid a much higher wage than Wal-mart..if the city wants to keep people off General Assistance, it makes a difference.

    •  apples and oranges (0+ / 0-)

      Did you even think before you commented.

      Here are some reasons NYC might not want a Wal-Mart:

      1. Wal-Mart CAUSES sprawl
      1. Wal-Mart directly causes the closing of competing, local businesses
      1. Wal-Mart does not pay a living wage, and actively encourages its employees to apply for forms of public assistance.  This is a huge drain on communities

      Now WF, yes, they are being asses in their lobbying, but their impact to local communities is noting like WM.  Think before you try to be clever

      All this wasted time learning and acquiring skills... And all along I should have just squinted to see Russia

      by fizziks on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 01:33:33 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I hate to say this but... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ZenTrainer, JesseCW, COwoman
    If you are a "liberal" and you don't support Unions... then you are NOT a liberal. Its just that simple.

    Also, I think its important to point out that I am not Union nor is my family Union. You might even call my family "petty bourgeoisie" but I still try to understand labor and so should all liberals.

    •  So we have litmus tests now? (5+ / 0-)

      I work for an open shop contractor in a city loaded with union shops.  We all get along well enough and when our employees work on union jobs they get the prevailing (union) wage and benefit payments.  There can be co-existence.  We have employed many former union members who have never made any attempt to unionize our company and several who were openly hostile to unions after their experiences, in fact.  Unions are good and necessary but they aren't the end-all, be-all answer to everything in the employee-employer relationship.  

      "When people show you who they really are, believe them." - Maya Angelou

      by Pennsylvanian on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 10:28:37 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  bs (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jabu

      not all unions are good, and not all good unions to only good things.

      there should never be blind support for something.

      •  No one (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        wsexson

        No one said that "all unions are good." What I did say was that you are NOT a liberal unless you agree with the idea of organized labor and yes that is a litmus test. It is one of the major issues that seperate The Left from The Right. If you think management can do whatever the want to do with their work force then you belong on The Right.

        We are for the workers the other side is for the oligarchs.

  •  Sounds like Mackey's a turkey in sheep's clothing (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    skywaker9

    or something like that. ;~} No, actually I like turkeys.

    Very interesting to learn about him. I've never lived near any WF store so haven't seen them but they certainly seem to have a very good image in general. Too bad.

    I really don't understand how bipartisanship is ever going to work when one of the parties is insane. - John Cole

    by Gorette on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 10:18:46 AM PDT

    •  Speaking of turkey (0+ / 0-)

      I need to buy some organic ground turkey by tomorrow.  I don't know anywhere else to get it other than Whole Foods (I don't actually know if WF has it either, but I was told they probably do), so I guess that's where I'll be headed.  My husband likes shopping at WF (he really likes their meat selection), but we get a lot of our fruit and vegetables and eggs from our CSA, and buy other stuff at Costco or Sigona's (an independent grocer), with in-between trips to Luckys (which is the only one of those stores in walking distance from our house).

  •  Unions are a threat to capitalism (0+ / 0-)

    they want to 'share the wealth' so to speak. Unions cut into profits therefor limiting the prosperity capitalism creates. We sure wouldn't want to live in Cuba, now would we?  Bla bla bla(oh, and that was sarcasm)

    F**k corporate greed (not sarcasm)

  •  Mackey (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ppluto, timewarp

    Yes, John Mackey is a jerk. But isn't that just like most of big business?  You may like Rachel Maddow, but that doesn't mean the executives at NBC are all that liberal.

    Whole Foods is a reasonable place to shop for some simple reasons: good food and great people. Prices are generally high, but then again, with the volume they do they could be expected to need (and want) better margins than your typical grocery store.

    If you are lucky enough to live in a metro area where there are more options, Whole Foods would lose its attraction.  But in many places, it is the only place where you can find good organic produce.

    And speaking of your typical grocery store... ever notice all the ads around the store? Ads on the shelves, ads on the floors, tv screens above the produce and at the check out?  That's where the money is in the grocery business.  Supplying you with nutritious food is a loss leader now-a-days and the least of their concerns. (Whole Foods and a few bigger grocery stores have what they call a "clean floor" policy -- that is generally the sign of a better store.)

    Stick to better stores, preferably locally owned and legitimate farmer's markets -- when you can.  

    Final point: if you think all produce is the same, and you don't see what the attraction is for Whole Foods (as a couple of people said), then do yourself a favor, learn to cook (and to eat). Stop stuffing yourself with garbage and start thinking about what you are eating.  Then come back a year from now and tell us if you can tell the difference between an organic Yukon Gold and a "white potato"?  If you can't, eat at McDonalds.  If you can, you're ready for your first trip to Provence -- enjoy.

    •  Addendum (0+ / 0-)

      This post above is in no way intended to defend WF's positions -- absolutely not.  My only point is that people should know more about what they put in their bodies, should enjoy the food they eat, and love to cook -- after all, you do it every day (hopefully).

      If WF is your only choice for decent food, I say that makes it a good choice -- especially because I think there are some good people who work there.

      But if you have a better choice, then avoid WF by all means.

      •  If you are very careful to avoid any kind of (0+ / 0-)

        packaged food, and buy simply, you can shop there in an economical fashion.  But it takes discipline.  I go there with cash in my pocket--which forces me to stay on budget.

  •  stop it (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ice Blue, cap76

    not everyone is a fan of current unions. you are not evil if you don't want current unions to take over your company.

    unions served a valid and amazing purpose when they started. now, they pretty much just work to make sure you only have to do your very limited job description, only your 35 hours, and that you can't be fired unless you eat a baby in front of your boss.

    Whole Foods pays higher than the union wage, provides free health care, and doesn't demand union dues. they don't want EFCA, as it was originally formulated, because a store could easily go union with a lot of the employees not wanting to be in the union. Also, Whole Foods and others offerred the alternative of needing a super majority to become unionized so that the minority don't so easily get forced into it...no one wanted to hear that because it's all about growing the unions' memberships.

    Unions hurt companies. They do. Collective bargaining is important to prevent abuse, but currently, most of the abuse comes from many of the major unions who don't allow supervisors to talk to their employees about the nature of their jobs.

    If you want to pick on non-unionized companies, pick those that treat their employees like crap.

    •  did you type that yourself? (3+ / 0-)

      Or did you just copy and paste from the wal-mart union-busting manual?

      •  yes (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cap76

        and i typed it as someone who manages people in unions, people who were just accredited into one, and I see that it's not all roses and lollipops. and from knowing people who work at whole foods and like their current situation and wouldn't want it to change and have everything dictated by the union, instead of by store team member votes.

    •  "most of the abuse comes from many of the major (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jct

      unions who don't allow supervisors to talk to their employees about the nature of their jobs."

      WTF? That qualifies as something bigger than acres of evidence of the destructive economic and social effects of the lack of collective bargaining by workers?

      Wrap your head around the facts.

      Executives and other highly compensated employees now receive more than one-third of all pay in the U.S., according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of Social Security Administration data -- without counting billions of dollars more in pay that remains off federal radar screens that measure wages and salaries.

      If you've got a better way of fixing this French Revolution-scale inequity than unions, we're all ears.

      •  i wasn't talking about pay inqeuality (0+ / 0-)

        that is an issue that needs to be addressed...primarily by boards not paying executives ridiculous salaries.

        i was saying, i am not allowed to talk about the inner-workings of how to do their jobs (like time and leave, etc) unless the union gives me permission. that's retarded.

    •  What? (0+ / 0-)

      Unions hurt companies. They do. Collective bargaining is important to prevent abuse, but currently, most of the abuse comes from many of the major unions who don't allow supervisors to talk to their employees about the nature of their jobs.

      I was a supervisor for 50-100 teamsters and the union never prevented me from speaking with my employees, of course I knew what was contained within the collective bargaining agreement and acted accordingly.

      •  yes (0+ / 0-)

        i can talk to them. but i can't talk about certain things, even if they have questions. they have to wait for their union rep, who is often un-responsive and doesn't actually know who they are. it's insulting.

        •  Then they need a new damn union rep (0+ / 0-)

          In the ATU (Amalgamated Transitworkers Union), union reps (or shop stewards as they're called) are elected by the union membership at each bus yard. Those shop stewards are intimately known by the folks at the yard, and are usually seen every day, either on union business or doing their regular job.

          Where most companies hate unions is when they try to play fast and loose with the rules set down in the contract...and that's where the grievance process kicks in.

          Civility is the way of telling someone to go fuck themselves in such a way that the someone agrees it probably is a good idea.

          by Cali Scribe on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 10:49:17 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Unions are the worst thing in the world (0+ / 0-)

          except for not having a union. Without them, workers can be fired without cause, forced to work unpaid overtime, and can be generally abused with no recourse. Labor laws regularly go unenforced, penalties are laughable to large corporations. Some employers are better than others, but when push come to shove, employers act in their own interests and workers get the shaft, unless a union is there to protect them. Unions are not perfect. Sometimes they do introduce practices that slow down productivity. But on balance, they give workers collective representation against corporations that have way more money, lawyers, etc. than any individual worker. They provide some balance to the employer employee relationship.

          •  Firing an employee at will can also mean (0+ / 0-)

            the employer can get rid of some dumb fuck-up who's dragging the whole company down.  That means everyone's quarterly bonus suffers.

            If an employer treats his employees well enough, he or she can be choosy about who he or she keeps on the payroll.  If one causes trouble, there will always be a line waiting to get in.

            I'm not dissing unions in all instances but in some, the employees have nothing to gain by unionizing.    

            A jackass can kick down a barn but it takes a carpenter to build one.--Sam Rayburn (D-TX)

            by Ice Blue on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 12:04:52 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  Unions still have a major role (0+ / 0-)

      and more than just in the wages and benefits area -- in this era where OSHA has been neutered thanks to BushCo. policies, unions are often needed to make sure that safety regulations are followed and that workers are not operating in dangerous conditions. My own union spouse would likely have had to take early medical retirement if the union's Safety Committee hadn't worked with the transit district to get driver's seats installed in the buses that don't cause back damage (try sitting in a shitty seat for 8-9 hours with at most a 10-15 minute break at the end of the line).

      And yes, there are some employees that try to game the system, but that's no different than in non-union workplaces where people get away with shit by brown-nosing the boss. Don't blame the union for that.

      Civility is the way of telling someone to go fuck themselves in such a way that the someone agrees it probably is a good idea.

      by Cali Scribe on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 10:45:38 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Anyone know of co op in Dallas area? (0+ / 0-)
  •  Whole Paycheck (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    drofx

    or at least that's what we called it 10 years ago.

    Seriously, the only reason this place is so successful is because they prey on hippy idealism and charge a lot for it.  It's a sort of anti-elitist elitism favored by people who wear Che Guevara t-shirts and think they're stickin' it to the man by shopping there.

    Their produce is more expensive than any other grocery and not any better.  Their pre-made food is ridiculously bland.  I can't really think of any positives unless you're particularly fond of huffing patchouli.

    There are so many other, better, cheaper alternatives out there.  And if you live where there are farmer's markets, then you're really doing yourself a disservice by shopping at WF.  

    In fact, I'd rather shop at WalMart because at least they don't pretend to be anything other than massive amounts of stuff at the cheapest possible price.  The problems with WalMart are numerous and have been exposed in great detail.  I may feel like a zombie after spending 20 minutes within the vast expanse of a WalMart, but at least when I leave, I don't smell like an honorary member of the Grateful Dead.

    Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats. -H.L. Mencken

    by Kwaidan on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 10:25:31 AM PDT

    •  it varies from store to store (0+ / 0-)

      but generally the amount of organic produce at WF is not so great. Lots of local co-ops and independents are way better.  However, WF has helped pushed those co-ops and indy's to the brink and over because of the flashy marketing.      

  •  My position is: shop at Trader Joe's. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    timewarp

    OK, I said it. Now somebody please (don't) tell me why I shouldn't.

    War crimes will be prosecuted. War criminals will be punished. And it will be no defense to say, "I was just following orders." -- George W. Bush, May 17, 2003

    by Simian on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 10:26:27 AM PDT

    •  I love Trader Joes (0+ / 0-)

      and now that it is here in NYC, hardly ever go to WFs anymore.

    •  they're anti-union (0+ / 0-)

      and foreign-owned, if that makes a difference to you. The store which opened up here in St. Paul recently had some union controversy. Trader Joe's is owned by the same German billionaire who owns Aldi, a sort of mini-wal mart.

      I don't not shop at nonunion stores - I don't really have that choice where I live - but Trader Joes isn't doing anything to earn additional points from me to get me to shop there. They don't make much effort on locally sourced products either.

      That's how I look at it at this point - if a store wants me to go out of my way to do business with them, they need to give me a reason. Trader Joe's is fun, but other than a once-ever-two-months or so treat, I don't go out of my way to go there.

  •  Before this goes down the wrong track (5+ / 0-)

    John is a friend of mine, not close, but super close to most of my friends. He is the most generous person I've met. I don't agree with his politics but after seeing what the FTC did to him and Whole Foods, I understand what has shaped his political views.

    Whole Foods is one of the most desirable places here in Austin to work, I always kinda joke that if I lost my job I'd want to go to work at WF. WF treats their employees very well and the staff to CEO pay ratio is phenomenal. So you can see why employees demanding a WF union would leave a bitter taste in his mouth.

    I'm pretty horrified when I hear him trash Obama as a fascist, and therefore don't put myself in any situation where that would become an issue between us, but everyone has a right to their political views, and as long as he treats everyone, his employees, strangers and friends alike, with up-most generosity and respect, I don't have a problem with it.

    I don't think Mackey deserves to be dragged over the coals on DK, I think we should be focusing on genuinely deserving hypocrites and evil doers.

    Just my 2¢.

    •  I know people who work at WFs (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      nycwahoodem

      also and the rate of pay is much higher than places like Wal Mart or Target and the management practices are really interesting (for example, before a supervisor is hired permently, she must pass a probation period and be approved by those she is supervising).  

      There are so many other places that need Unions more.  Like the Green Grocers and high end resturants who don't even pay a minimun wage and pay most/all of their workers under the table to avoid withholding taxes.  

    •  bs.... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wsexson, washunate

      Working to undermine health care reform is not treating "everyone" "with up-most generosity and respect".  He has a right to his political views, and diarists at DK have the right to drag him over the coals for his public expressions of them.  

      •  bs... (0+ / 0-)

        Where does it say anywhere in this article that he's "Working to undermine health care reform?" Just because the Chamber of Commerce is trying to work against it and there's a quote about Mackey's view doesn't mean he working to undermine everything.

        There's a lot of other people out there that ARE actively working to undermine healthcare...maybe we should be focusing on them instead of leaping on everyone just because their OPINION is different than ours.

    •  so, are you defending him, or not? (0+ / 0-)

      after seeing what the FTC did to him and Whole Foods, I understand what has shaped his political views

      Please explain. I would suggest his political views came long before the proposed merger.

      And the last time I checked, the FTC should review corporate mergers. We want more of that, not less.

      Whole Foods is one of the most desirable places here in Austin to work, I always kinda joke that if I lost my job I'd want to go to work at WF.

      That is a fantastically delicious statement. Thank you. I don't know whether to root for you to be fired so you can go to Whole Foods or to keep the job you like better.

      I'm pretty horrified when I hear him trash Obama as a fascist

      snip

      I don't think Mackey deserves to be dragged over the coals on DK

      Huh?

  •  There is No Such Thing... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    timewarp

    ...as a "good" Corporation.

    It doesn't matter if they sell vegan-macrobiotic-freerange tofu beans.

    It doesn't matter if they sponsor NPR or your local Little League.

    It doesn't matter if they have racially diverse models in their advertising or if they ask you to bring your own bag or have "suggestion boxes" for your comments.

    Corporations exist to make profit. Not Justice, not Love, not Peace.  Profit.  When dealing with a Corporation, remember The Exorcist:

    Father Karras: I think it would be helpful if I gave you some background on the different personalities [the demon] has manifested...
    Father Merrin: There's only one.

    That sums up your typical Corporation right there.  So watch out!

    •  Sociopathic: They're Only Rewarded for Acting, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ManhattanMan

      never for restraint. Half of healthy culture consists of rewarding restraint. DON'T eat too fast, DON'T squander your money, DON'T gossip on your friends.

      There is no way for a business to make money by restraint. That trait alone makes them all sociopathic.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 10:34:37 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Chicago loves WholeFoods but hates WalMarts (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    terrypinder

    Go figure.  It is ok to have a chic store with gourmet food full of tattooed and pierced employees that make you feel hip in parts of town with lots of Dominick's, Jewels and Treasure Islands - all union shops.  But woe unto WalMart when they try to build stores in "food deserts" in African American areas where the Dominicks and Jewels, if they were ever there, pulled up stakes decades ago.  Yuppy feel good morality is so much bullshit.  Kind of like my "socially responsible" neighbor who got a prius when it was a hot a couple of years ago and then got a Range Rover as his second car.   Oh yea... and tell me what SuperValu (Jewels' owner) and Safeway (Dominick's parent) and the retail unions are paying off Chicago alderman to keep WalMart out and huge swathes of the city with nothing more than a gas station with candy bars and milk and liquor as sources of food.

    •  Wages. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      astronautagogo

      Whole Foods actually pays a living wage.  I know people who work there and they generally really like it as management practices are rather humane and not overly heirarchical.

      Big cities don't need employers who pay slave-wages.  Puts more of a burden of the social services.  

  •  What about Nob Hill? (0+ / 0-)

    Is it legit?

  •  EFCA is DOA Anyway... (0+ / 0-)

    with the card check provision now thrown out the window, the EFCA has no teeth.  Don't blame this on Whole Foods...

    "Don't confuse activity with accomplishment."

    by DickCheneysClone on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 10:30:24 AM PDT

  •  My Position? 95% Top Marginal Tax Rates (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Diamond Fox

    Single payer health.
    Restoration of mid 20th century usury laws.
    Managed trade with tariffs.
    Restoration of pre-80's media ownership limits.
    Restoration of strict pre 80's licensing regulations on broadcast.
    Nationalization of of mainstream cable and satellite infrastructure.
    Extension of broadcast license regulation to media carried on cable and satellite.
    Repeal of Taft Hartley act.
    Pretty much, if we were doing it before the 80's, I'd restore it first and ask questions later.
    Severe profit penalty for short term stock trading.

    I'm so far off the table, I couldn't get on the table on the tablingest day of my life, even if I had an electrified tabling machine.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 10:32:59 AM PDT

  •  Why don't union issues catch fire (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    washunate

    with the left the way they should?

    I'm used to seeing labor rights issues go unnoticed by many progressives

    Yes, yes, yes. Even here in San Francisco, a pro-EFCA rally attracted maybe 200 at its peak. In this "union" town!

    I've banged the EFCA drum on my show again and again. It doesn't catch on with the listeners, no matter what the approach or guests.

    The Republic window company story out of Chicago was water in the desert, seeing people suddenly pay attention to matters of solidarity and employee strength. Now we're back to business as usual.

    If EFCA - or any union issue! - ginned up half the enthusiast interest of the latest Palin faux pas or birther outburst, I'd be relieved. But it's a non-starter. Why? WHY?

  •  Whole Foods is also good (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Magnifico

    at running roughshod over competitors (and potential competitors); last fall as part of their ongoing dispute with the FTC regarding their merger with Wild Oats, Whole Foods subpoenaed some very sensitive financial data from Portland-area market New Seasons. An agreement was reached, but according to employees they were pretty heavy handed about it. (Disclaimer: a very good friend of mine works in one of the Beaverton New Seasons stores, and loves it there.)

    Civility is the way of telling someone to go fuck themselves in such a way that the someone agrees it probably is a good idea.

    by Cali Scribe on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 10:33:53 AM PDT

    •  Glad to hear this comment: (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Magnifico

      [WF is good] at running roughshod over competitors (and potential competitors); last fall as part of their ongoing dispute with the FTC regarding their merger with Wild Oats, Whole Foods subpoenaed some very sensitive financial data from Portland-area market New Seasons. An agreement was reached, but according to employees they were pretty heavy handed about it. (Disclaimer: a very good friend of mine works in one of the Beaverton New Seasons stores, and loves it there.)

      I'm now more encouraged to spread the word to avoid WFoods, at least here in the Portland, OR area.

      New Seasons I support; one of their executives served on the board of the non-profit I work for, and was a positive contributor to our effort (we're talking a non-profit with a seven figure budget, not small potatoes). I shop New Seasons regularly, and I have never seen a food retail store where the employees are so darn happy and helpful all the time.

      To avoid WFoods I also shop at Fred Meyer (part of Kroger now) and sometimes Safeway. Both are unionized, and their prices on organic items are at or below non-union Whole Foods almost always. I think this John Mackey is cynically playing folks looking for safer food, many of whom support the principles of unionization, and I hope that revelations like this help to undermine Mr. "Libertarian's" bottom line. Don't shop there if you have alternatives.

      I also know that in some parts of the country, folks don't have a lot of choices when it comes to what Whole Foods sells...

      Come with me and leave your yes-ter-day behind And take a giant step outside your mind

      by paz3 on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 11:21:20 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  progressives and unions (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cheyenne Mike

    I have observed for years that some progressives will boycott lettuce or grapes for Cesar Chavez, boycott South Africa for Nelson Mandela, boycott Coke for Columbian trade unionists, but drive their imported car to Walmart to save the ozone and a nickel on toilet paper.

  •  On the rare occasion that a company treats... (0+ / 0-)

    ...and pays it's employees fairly, a union is not needed, and shouldn't be forced on those companies.  But the vast majority of companies need worker protection against greedy management.

    I only go to Whole Food occasionally.  They have some great stuff.  Learning about the crazy owner probably won't change that.  I have the same struggle with Home Depot and Chick-Fil-A.

    Those crazy mormons sure know how to make a chicken sammich.

    /Oh great...now I want one.  i hope it's not Sunday.

    National Socialism is to Socialism, as counter clockwise is to clockwise

    by Carbon on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 10:37:16 AM PDT

  •  It isn't hard for me to avoid Whole Foods because (0+ / 0-)

    of their pricing.

    Their attitude toward labor and unions just made it even easier.

  •  I'll Never Shop There Again. It's Overpriced (0+ / 0-)

    yuppie crap anyway.  I can't stand the place.

  •  A union picketed a WF in Montclair, NJ in 1997... (0+ / 0-)

    They were trying to organize the store, but they were shoved far awy for the store, almost to the edge of the highway.  WF also circulated a somewhat related flyer, indicating that they didn't support the organization of organic farm workers.

    I've always known about WF's anti-union stance and, if I can serously avoid it, I never shop at any store that is blatant about being anti-union (For the record, I worked at a union grocer, Shop-Rite, and two non-union shops, Weis/Mr. Z's and Wal-Mart).  If I'm forced to shop an anti-union store, usually out of my mother-in-law's stubborness, I walk through whistilng "Look for the Union Label," the only union song I know.

    Just in case anyone in the Philly area wants to know, you can get the same type of foods they sell at WF at high-end Giant and Wegman's stores--both union shops (Wegman's BTW, also made the Best Places to Work List---eleven times).

  •  Makes perfect sense actually (0+ / 0-)

    Rich people and big business owners are usually conservatives for some very good reasons. Businesspeople also tend to be some pretty cynical bastards: I think few would balk at the idea of selling themselves and their business as a liberal favorite, while being a Randroid prick in private.

  •  i do love whole foods, sorry (0+ / 0-)

    here on the cape, i really miss having a whole foods. i love their selection, they have more organic items than any other place i can go to, the shopping experience (for me at least) has always been very pleasant. i do try to get as much of my produce/veggies on local Cape farms and we're growing as much as our back yard can handle. we have a TJ but i generally don't like their food. we have many small organic markets but they often are limited in their selection, which means I end up having to go to 3 or 4 different stores to get everything. that sucks.  

  •  DC area - (0+ / 0-)

    What do we know about unions at Wegman's and Harris-Teeter?  I hate Safeway and Giant with a passion.

    What I am trying to say is I am right and you are wrong.

    by nightsweat on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 10:44:50 AM PDT

  •  several of my friends work for WF (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cap76

    they like it their jobs, wages and free healthcare.
    The owner is a political nob of sorts but that isn't so black and white no?

    Change Monsanto can believe in? No thanks. The change is all up to us folks...

    by astronautagogo on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 10:46:54 AM PDT

  •  Fortunately (0+ / 0-)

    Whole Foods is no Wal-Mart. Much of what they sell is truly overpriced, and in this economy people will quickly turn to places like Safeway, who ARE offering better produce now -- not to mention Trader Joes.

  •  Choosing Whole Foods over Wal-Mart... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Areopagitica

    ...has more to do with Yuppie snobbery that anything else.

    But what do I know? I live in Wyoming, a Whole Foods-free zone but a Wal-Mart sanctuary.

    Iowa Bob says: "Get obsessed and stay obsessed."

    by Cheyenne Mike on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 10:52:31 AM PDT

  •  My position is (0+ / 0-)

    that I won't be shopping at Whole Foods anymore.  Not that I shop there very much to begin with, but I wasn't aware of the political stance of Mr. Mackey.  I shop for groceries mostly at Raley's and Trader Joe's and occasionally at a local market called Pacific Market.  A friend of mine refers to Whole Foods as "Whole Paycheck."

  •  I didn't know any of this about Whole Foods (0+ / 0-)

    but the moment that I first stepped into one I realized that something wasn't right. The prices were way too high, and the deliberate attempt to appeal to "bobos" (bourgeois bohemian, a phrase coined by David Brooks in one of his few moments of relevance, to mockingly denote people who like to think of and present themselves themselves as bohemian liberals, but whose professions, income, net value and lifestyles make them more right-leaning than they'd like to admit) too blatant, to ignore. Not that they don't sell high-quality food, but it's so obvious that they're knowingly ripping their customers off by exploiting their liberal guilt and vanity and gullibility, i.e. their need to feel like they're "saving the planet" despite driving to their WF in their gas-guzzling SUV, and to believe that they're eating 100% healthy foods because they must be so if they're so expensive and have such weird-sounding names. I have a friend who's like this (well, he's not rich, but he's not as liberal as he likes to believe, either), and he always seem to be sick, despite eating what he claims is extremely healthy food.

    Yet more reasons to never shop there. No, I don't shop at WalMart either. Are Costco, Safeway and local produce stands ok? I even bike to them!

    And that's the way it was...

    by kovie on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 10:56:59 AM PDT

  •  Shopping Political Correctness (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Diamond Fox, cap76

    I'd support a revolution. I'd get my second amendment gun and fight along side a real rebellion against this corporatist society. But short that it is just plain stupid to try and be a politically correct shopper. I'd like to see a list of the "CLEAN" corporations that support every progressive position. I have a feeling that one would be reduced, if one lived in an urban area to getting in a car, with ones hunting license and murdering ones own food, as well as making all ones clothes, building one dwelling, etc. From what I know of various corporations political attitudes I'd suggest that to be politically correct would require moving to say Costa Rica or where-you tell me. And shopping at mom and pops isn't the answer either unless they were to post their political positions so one would know whether they are good guys or right wingers.

  •  I don't shop there. That's my position. (0+ / 0-)

    But Mackey's arrogant stupidity is only part of the reason. I just don't like the store and I never have. This just reassures me I made a wise choice. I'd rather shop at Central Market any day.

    I was in the Austin area when he started the company and never understood the attraction of a place that only sold toilet paper rough as a piece of birch bark no matter how good the produce is. It still has a product mix that is lacking 90% of what I buy. So why shop there at all?

    "The difference between the right word and the almost-right word is like the difference between lightning and the lightning bug." -- Mark Twain

    by Brooke In Seattle on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 11:02:27 AM PDT

    •  Neither do I (0+ / 0-)

      One thing that's good about living in Seattle is that I can get the products I want at any number of places, so I don't have to go to Whole Foods.

      If people want to shop there, fine.  If the employees are happy there, fine.  But I don't like Mackey's politics and will speak out against them where I can.

      Procrastination: Hard work often pays off after time, but laziness always pays off now.

      by Linnaeus on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 11:34:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I Am Pro-Union and Shop at Whole Foods (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ice Blue

    I know that aside from a few union meatcutters, Whole Foods is staffed by mostly young folks working the first or second job. Having started out myself working at McD's, I learned about abusive management practices up close and dirty -- in fact the experience endowed me with socialist leanings.

    When I go to Whole Foods, the employees are enthusiastic, helpful, and mostly seem cheerful. Conversely, when I go to Safeway in the same affluent neighborhood, where the clerks are unionized -- they are mostly visibly unhappy and generally less, um, intelligent.

    Why is it this way? I would shop at the local Mom and Pop organic grocery, but WF already drove them out of town.

    The moral arc of the universe is long, but it bends towards justice. - Martin Luther King, Jr.

    by easong on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 11:03:59 AM PDT

    •  because most r/f union workers... (0+ / 0-)

      are not as enamored with their union as most here and on other liberal bastions think of unionization.

      "Don't confuse activity with accomplishment."

      by DickCheneysClone on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 11:16:01 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  That's too bad (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      easong

      When I go to Whole Foods, the employees are enthusiastic, helpful, and mostly seem cheerful. Conversely, when I go to Safeway in the same affluent neighborhood, where the clerks are unionized -- they are mostly visibly unhappy and generally less, um, intelligent.

      I shop at Safeway and QFC regularly (both are unionized) and I've had quite good service nearly every time.  In fact, sometimes I think they overdo it; I'm being constantly asked if I can find what I'm looking for.  But I'd rather have that than the other way around.

      Procrastination: Hard work often pays off after time, but laziness always pays off now.

      by Linnaeus on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 11:36:54 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  When I Go To Whole Foods (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Linnaeus

        I have an interesting discussion with the 24-year-old beer buyer with freaky dreadlocks regarding all the hot new microbrewers in California.

        When I go to Safeway, an automaton asks me if I need help to take my six pack to my car.

        The moral arc of the universe is long, but it bends towards justice. - Martin Luther King, Jr.

        by easong on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 03:15:55 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  In my case (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          easong

          The baggers are usually pretty busy, so I don't chat much with them.  But the cashiers and stockers are pretty friendly; the cashiers quite often strike up a conversation with me while they scan my items.

          Procrastination: Hard work often pays off after time, but laziness always pays off now.

          by Linnaeus on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 03:44:22 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I Will Say This About Safeway Checkers (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Linnaeus

            A good number of them were wearing Obama buttons along with their little union local badges during the last election season. You probably would get canned at Whole Foods for this, but I did make pro-Obama remarks quite a bit there too and always got the thumbs up from the employees.

            The moral arc of the universe is long, but it bends towards justice. - Martin Luther King, Jr.

            by easong on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 07:50:19 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  As a former WFM employee, I don't shop there. (0+ / 0-)

    The list of hidden anti-progressive activities of that company is endless.  Lots of enlightened employees complain about it amongst themselves every day.  People like working at WFM because of the other pemployees, not the company itself.

    I shop mostly at Safeway because they support their employee union, even as they struggle to compete with the non-union places like, yes, WFM.  

    Since Walmart came out in support of a public option in the health care bill, I'm shopping there now, too, and researching the company.  They've made changes in aid of a "greening up" agenda.  Their house brand cleaning products are quietly being reformulated, one by one, to leave out the nasty stuff.  More and more organic produce is showing up on their shelves.  And contrary to popular opinion, their pay scale and working conditions are almost identical to Target's.  

    Has Walmart engaged in negative business practices?  You betcha!  But they pale in comparison to the  negative business practices that Mackey used to eliminate Wild Oats.  

    "I'm going to need ordinary Americans to stand up and say, now is the time." Barack Obama, July 1, 2009

    by keeplaughing on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 11:06:54 AM PDT

    •  Sorry... (0+ / 0-)

      but the union grocers in my area are much higher than the non union ones.  I give my shopping dollars to where I can get the best deal.  Is not that my right as a consumer?

      "Don't confuse activity with accomplishment."

      by DickCheneysClone on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 11:10:36 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, it is (0+ / 0-)

        By all means, go where you want.  No one will stop you.  But it's also my right as a consumer to decide I don't want to shop somewhere because of the store's practices.

        Procrastination: Hard work often pays off after time, but laziness always pays off now.

        by Linnaeus on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 11:38:45 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  You are not a consumer (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        keeplaughing

        You are a citizen. Period. No one should see themselves as a consumer. Seeing yourself as a consumer means seeing the world through your wallet.

        In every cry of every man, In every infant's cry of fear, In every voice, in every ban, The mind-forged manacles I hear

        by Areopagitica on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 12:15:42 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Oooh, you've nudged the big ugly truth there.... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Areopagitica

          Hopefully some day we'll be able to see the foolishness of measuring our success in terms of our economic growth.  

          "I'm going to need ordinary Americans to stand up and say, now is the time." Barack Obama, July 1, 2009

          by keeplaughing on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 01:40:34 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  I fully appreciate your situation. If I was (0+ / 0-)

        short of funds, I would do the same.  

        But I am in the fortunate position of having a little bit more than most people on the planet have.  I can afford to spend a few cents more so that my fellow American workers, the people who smile at me and say something nice after serving customer after customer, can do better by their own kids. Retail workers are under-respected people in our world, and I value them.  A lot.    

        "I'm going to need ordinary Americans to stand up and say, now is the time." Barack Obama, July 1, 2009

        by keeplaughing on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 01:45:23 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Mackey is right about one thing: (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Areopagitica

    an employer mandate will undoubtedly compromise the regulation-free ride that self-insurers (employers who fund their own health coverage rather than buying insurance from another company) like Whole Foods now get.

    By law (the 1974 Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA)), employers who self-fund are not covered by those pesky state insurance laws which might mandate certain minimum coverages.

    If there's going to be an employer mandate, then employers will have to meet the minimum requirements set by the new law, and to that extent, that aspect of ERISA will have to be modified.

  •  I stopped shopping at Whole Foods (0+ / 0-)

    a few months back...they simply cost too much for me at this time.  I plan to go back once money isn't so tight because I feel strongly that their focus on selling certified organic and certified humane meat is very important to me.  

    I'm really sorry to read about the anti labor views of the head of the company, but sometimes I think it's getting harder to find the perfect way to spend my hard earned dollars...too hard even.  I guess I have to weigh all the pros and cons no matter where I choose to spend my money.

    I've looked for local shops here in LA that offer what WF does, anyone here also in LA that can give me the name of a local, green, unionized grocery store that doesn't oppose EFCA, unions, or improve health care while only selling organic and humane meat products?

    For now, I'm sticking with Vons (Safeway), and Ralph's (Krogers) to help make ends meet and I'm really not happy buying meat from either company...so I buy less of it.  Oh...and I still manage a few quick trips to Trader Joe's...I love that place a little too much!!

    "If the Republican Party was dog food, they'd be pulling it off the shelves." Tweety, Hardball, 10/29/08

    by Nobody on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 11:09:16 AM PDT

    •  certified organic (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Areopagitica

      See Michael Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma. There are better ways. Go to the farmer's market and buy local.

      •  I've been in the process of finding a local (0+ / 0-)

        farmer's market up in the north end of SF Valley.  So far I've only found one in Sherman Oaks and one near Encino.  This reminds me that I'm supposed to google search for one nearer to my neighborhood...cause not only do I want to find a vendor that sells the type of product I want to buy, but I also don't want to widen my carbon footprint by driving all over the Valley looking for one.

        Certified Humane is just as important to me as certified organic...but much harder to find.  I'll check out the Omnivore's Dilemma...thanks.

        "If the Republican Party was dog food, they'd be pulling it off the shelves." Tweety, Hardball, 10/29/08

        by Nobody on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 11:33:37 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  http://www.wholeplanetfoundation.org/ (0+ / 0-)

    it makes me sad that some of my fellow DKers are acting like villagers with torches...like I posted before-despite his political views, John's a friend, runs a great company that does a huge amount of good, - look at Whole Planet Foundation...and is not deserving of a witch hunt.

  •  All of this is very disappointing to me (0+ / 0-)

    on a personal level.

    You see, WF founder Craig Weller was a good friend of my parents waaaayy back in the early 70s when he opened his first store in the Clarksville neighborhood in Austin.  They were all Austin hippies.

    In fact, my middle name is Weller.

    I remember Craig offering me some grapes from a bunch, and I ended up eating the whole bunch.  He was amused.  I was 4 at the time.

    Very sad that Craig's vision has become just another corporate behemoth.

  •  starbucks is in a similar position (0+ / 0-)

    good place to work, heavily anti-union.  not sure what their healthcare stance is...

  •  Disgusting. (0+ / 0-)

    No more $$ to Whole Foods from me.

  •  whole foods (0+ / 0-)

    A lot of people in the sustainable agriculture movement have a libertarian streak, and given our agricultural policies over the last decades, it's understandable. Nevertheless, I won't be shopping at WF.

  •  Anti trust (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Magnifico

    Portland Oregon has a great alternative to 'Whole Mart'-- they're called  New Seasons Markets. Several outlets around the Portland metro area, locally & privately run, community-oriented and intimately involved with local & organic growers.
    BTW I'm told that Whole Foods was embroiled in an anti-trust investigation recently; The settlement with the Justice Dept was said to have included the closure some of their stores, but I haven't heard any details...

  •  These are tough choices (0+ / 0-)

    Shopping in a modern capitalist society involves a supply and labor chain so complex that it's nearly impossible to shop somewhere that doesn't have problems somewhere along the line.  For that reason and others (availability, specialized need for certain products, etc.), I don't get down on people who shop somewhere that I'd rather not go myself.

    The best one can do is advocate for reforms where possible and give people the information they need to make the decisions that are best for themselves.  And it's a long process.

    That said, I don't go to Whole Foods.

    Procrastination: Hard work often pays off after time, but laziness always pays off now.

    by Linnaeus on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 11:43:11 AM PDT

  •  I think you may fail to understand (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cdiaz71, Ice Blue

    that a lot of old hippies down here in Austin (and most of the rest of Texas) are left-libertarian.

    The fact is that most people don't know that Whole Foods is run by a libertarian extremist, John Mackey, whose politics -- when stripped of a hippie veneer calculated to attract progressives -- look far more like Ayn Rand's than Barack Obama's.

    You chalk it up to being a fake front, but that really is what we believe. There's no calculation involved. The fact that progressives are attracted to the store shows how there is a bridge between leftist libertarians and progressives that isn't always understood.

  •  Decouple health insurance from employment (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ice Blue

    and be done with it. Single payer is the ONLY option. The employer can still choose to augment coverage should they want to.

    We don't inherit the world from the past. We borrow it from the future.

    by minorityusa on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 11:49:30 AM PDT

  •  The Problem Isn't Whole Foods... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ice Blue, cap76

    ...the problem is the culture of business in the United States.  I'm from Texas and lived in Austin for the past decade.  Before that, I used to play in a band at various clubs on Sixth Street.

    I can remember when the Whole Foods "empire" was one little store run by a couple of dirty long-haired guys.  It was called Safer Way, then.  It WAS the local alternative grocery.  They did such a good job of being a local alternative grocery that they became a massive grocery empire...every tiny corner store dreams of becoming the next Whole Foods or Starbucks...or even Wal-Mart which started out as a single store in a one horse town.

    I don't like John Mackey's politics.  Period.  But as a diabetic that's also terribly allergic to most cosmetics, I like his high fructose-free 365 brand ketchup and the fact he sells a deoderant I can use without getting a rash.  So, regardless of how I feel about certain aspect of his business model, I endorse his products.  And I have many friends who have worked at the WFs and had a wonderful experience...including getting good benefits to help their families.  

    So, I believe it unfair to paint the WF with the same brush as Wal-Mart.  

    The OP lives in DC...my wife and I are moving there next month to take a job in the State Department.  In DC there are alternatives to WF - there's Harris Teeter right at the Potomac metro stop and the ancient Eastern Market is the stop just before that.  Every neighborhood, including Foggy Bottom, has a farmers market.  

    And YET, it still takes an hour to check your stuff out at the Whole Foods on P street.  Neither Harris Teeter nor the Eastern Market sell that damn deoderant...

    Every American company is in business to make a profit...some do it by giving their workers the moon and a union to boot, some make them virtual slaves.  In a capitalist economy we should remain mindful that there is a sliding scale.  

    No one can terrorize a whole nation, unless we are all his accomplices. - Edward R. Murrow

    by CrazyHorse on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 12:09:40 PM PDT

    •  Unions, too, are after the almighty dollar (0+ / 0-)

      which they get from Union members.

      Troll rate me if you want but I stand behind that.

      A jackass can kick down a barn but it takes a carpenter to build one.--Sam Rayburn (D-TX)

      by Ice Blue on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 12:21:53 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  A Whole Foods is opening up (0+ / 0-)

    in Santa Barbara very soon in the old Circuit City (R.I.P.) building.

    Funny story: the local paper here is owned by a union-busting millionaire, Wendy McCaw.

    But with all the money she has to bust unions, sue competing papers in town, and hire conservatives to write diatribes about city employees' benefits, she can't seem to find the money to pay for a decent proofreader! (Yes, that's the front page.)

    "Any dictator would admire the uniformity and obedience of the U.S. media."-- Noam Chomsky

    by just some lurker guy on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 12:22:18 PM PDT

  •  Two Minutes Hate! (0+ / 0-)

    Roboton has been powered down

    by roboton on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 12:34:17 PM PDT

  •  Giant all the way (0+ / 0-)

    They're located right around the corner.  So what if they suck since they got bought by Royal AHole?  We do go to Safeway (around the other corner) when Giant figures out we like something and stops carrying it.

    And every now and then we meander over to Trader Joes.

    Whole Foods is down in Rockville near Bethesda right on 355.  Nice location where all the affluent folks go shopping.

    -9.00, -5.85
    "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." -- Voltaire

    by Wintermute on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 12:38:54 PM PDT

  •  Two ways to hit them in their pocketbook (0+ / 0-)

    Great post. Two concrete things to do that can help. Write letters to your local papers city papers, weekly papers or neighborhood papers about this issue. Most people really don't know this, even progressives, and if enough do, it will hit Whole Foods in the pocketbook. Second, if you have any savings in Socially Responsible Investment funds, as many of us probably do, send this post to those funds. I know that the otherwise excellent green funds New Alternatives Fund and Portfolio 21 both did (though New alternatives recently sold theirs), and others probably do as well. If they could publicly sell Whole Foods it can create a further negative publicity hit for a company where again their image is everything
    Paul Loeb
    author Soul of a Citizen

  •  Shop at your local farmer's market if possible (0+ / 0-)

    Shop at your local farmer's market if possible.  Join a food cooperative.  Get a basket of fruit and vegetables delivered by a cooperative.  Grow your own greens on a window sill or in a flower pot.  Put a small garden in your yard if you have one.  Work with a locally owned grocery store to carry more locally grown produce/meat.  

    These are all constructive ways of supporting your local economy, not large corporations.  If we all made some of these changes, Whole Foods would not get as much of our business.  Take control of your food supply as much as possible.

  •  What's my position? (0+ / 0-)

    Boycott Whole Foods.  And do it loudly.  They have a branch in liberal Berkeley, 10 mins from my home.  I'll be up there this week-end, to see if there's any shit I can stir up re: unions.

    I hate this shit.  Fuck Mackey.

    Kick apart the structures.

    by ceebee7 on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 03:15:13 PM PDT

  •  Isn't that their plan anyway? (0+ / 0-)

    "He said that would drive up the cost of employer benefits, motivating companies to end their benefits and instead let employees sign up for the public insurance option, figuring that paying a penalty would be less costly. This would result in eventual domination by the public insurance plan -- something Mackey suspects is reformers' secret hope."

    Don't they do that already? Doesn't wal mart do that?

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