As Whole Foods continues to receive criticism over its treatment of employees during the coronavirus pandemic, the workers are taking matters into their own hands. In an email sent by Whole Foods CEO John Mackey, employees were told they had the option to "donate" their paid time off to workers impacted by the COVID-19 virus. Now Whole Foods workers will call in sick on Tuesday to demand guaranteed sick leave to those who self-isolate.
There originally was a strike scheduled for May 1, but it has now been brought forward to Tuesday. In addition to sick pay, the employees are asking for double hazard pay, a more serious commitment to keeping stores clean, and the closure of any store in which a worker has tested positive. "As this situation has progressed, our fundamental needs as workers have become more urgent," wrote labor movement Whole Worker in a statement, as per The Hill.
"COVID-19 poses a very real threat to the safety of our workforce and our customers," the statement continued. "We cannot wait for politicians, institutions, or our own management to step in to protect us." So far, Whole Foods has only boosted wages for its workers in North America by $2 an hour, while those diagnosed with the coronavirus will get two weeks of paid leave.
Amazon, which owns Whole Foods, is also facing criticism for the treatment of its warehouse workers. On Monday, over 100 employees walked out of the JFK8 Amazon warehouse on Staten Island in New York. To show their solidarity, tech workers at Amazon have demanded the company provides fully paid leave to all Amazon workers and to close facilities impacted by contamination, Tech Crunch reports.