Whole Foods Workers Strike To Protest Working On Thanksgiving

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht

A handful of Whole Foods employees plan to strike today in protest of having to work on Thanksgiving.

Ten workers walked out of a Whole Foods in Chicago on Wednesday, according to Salon. They plan to join an afternoon rally with Walmart workers, fast food employees and other supporters.

Whole Foods employee Matthew Camp, a member of the Workers Organizing Committee of Chicago (WOCC), told Salon that employees work hard to make the holidays special for other people and “we would like to be able to participate in the holiday ourselves.”

Camp, who is missing Thanksgiving with his family in Texas, says letting workers spend holidays with their families is “a question of respect.”

“Whole Foods Market supports fair wages and the rights of all workers, and we support groups who want to express their opinions and raise awareness for their cause, as long as they remain on public property,” the company said in a statement to Salon.

The spokeswoman said it “takes pride in helping our shoppers for this special food-focused holiday, whether it’s weeks or even minutes in advance.”

The company says it pays time and a half to workers who have Thanksgiving shifts.

Camp says time and half pay equals $15 an hour, which “is what we should get paid regularly anyway.”

The WOCC has organized strikes to demand $15 an hour for fast food, grocery store, and retail workers in the past.

“I think it will be disruptive, but that’s kind of the point: to disrupt the flow of things,” Camp said of the protest. “Causing a disruption also provides us with a platform – you know, we have to make some noise to get our point across.”

Whole Foods isn’t the only store open on Thanksgiving, ThinkProgress reported. Walmart, Target, Walgreens, Abercrombie & Fitch, Macy’s, Staples, Toys R Us and many others are open Thursday, despite the fact that there isn’t evidence that Thanksgiving hours will boost sales in post-shutdown America, according to Market Watch.

Sources: Salon, ThinkProgress