- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Employees at Whole Foods have seen their hours cut after owner Amazon raised their wages to $15 an hour, according to a new report by the Guardian.

Amazon responded to scrutiny of its treatment of its warehouse workers by raising wages to a $15 minimum across the board, including Whole Foods, a subsidiary of the Seattle tech giant.

But employees have reported that their hours have been cut since November, many times negating wage gains they were given.

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“This hours cut makes that raise pointless as people are losing more than they gained and we rely on working full shifts,” a worker from Maryland told the Guardian, which added that everyone interviewed was afraid of retaliation if they were to speak on the record.

The worker said full-time workers lost four hours, being dropped to 36 hours a week.

Another worker in Illinois said that their “hours went from 30 to 20 a week,” providing schedules from Nov. 1 showing hours decreasing but the labor budget for the store staying the same. The worker also provided an internal email saying that the cuts were “the direct result of guidance from our regional team.”

“We just have to work faster to meet the same goals in less time,” the worker said.

A California Whole Foods employee added that workers there have noticed the same understaffing trends.

“Things that have made it more noticeable are the long lines, the need to call for cashier and bagging assistance, and customers not being able to find help in certain departments because not enough are scheduled, and we are a big store,” said the worker, adding, “Just about every person on our team has complained about their hours being cut. Some have had to look for other jobs as they can’t make ends meet.”

Whole Foods gave all employees $15 an hour if they were originally being paid less than that. Anyone earning more than $15 an hour were given a $1 per hour increase while team leaders received $2 more per hour.

A Whole Foods spokeswoman told The Washington Times that, “claims that Whole Foods Market is reducing hours as a result of increased wages are false. In fact, on average, our full-time store Team Members worked the same number of hours in January and February 2019 as they did during the same period last year.”

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