BOSTON --- The Teamsters, Jobs with
Justice and Organic Consumers Association protested Thursday against
Whole Foods Market and its leading supplier United Natural Foods, Inc.
at the Natural Products Expo East trade show at the Boston Convention
and Exhibition Center.
According to a Teamsters' press release, the groups worked to "highlight Whole Foods'
hypocrisy as a company that supports sustainability, but is publicly
opposing President Obama's health insurance reform."
at the expo, which is the largest natural, organic and health products
trade show on the East Coast, were greeted by members from the three
groups who distributed informational leaflets. An airplane flew with a
banner attached that read, "Whole Foods Don't Bash Obama." Later, the
Teamsters interrupted the expo's award ceremony to provide Whole Foods
with the "Mean-Spirited Award," a parody of the expo's annual "Spirit
of Organic Award."
are here to represent Massachusetts residents who shop at Whole Foods
and are dismayed with the company for opposing a public health care
system," said Russ Davis, Executive Director of Massachusetts Jobs with
Justice. "We stand with the Teamsters and Organic Consumers Association
to ask Whole Foods to support health care reform, increased sales of
certified organic products from small, local producers, and the
application of domestic fair trade that allows workers to form
collective bargaining unions."
a controversial Wall Street Journal op-ed, Whole Foods' chief executive
attacked President Obama's efforts to reform America's ailing health
care system. The op-ed said that Americans have no intrinsic right to
health care and should not feel entitled to equal medical attention. It
also said that health care should be an individual responsibility with
little or no help from the government.
care and negligent health care providers are a major concern for
American families," said Sean O'Brien, President of Teamsters Local 25
in Boston. "We live in a society where big business and greedy
insurance industries take advantage of American workers and consumers.
This is a national crisis that requires reform and government
organizations also criticized Austin, Texas-based Whole Foods for
selling food and products that are greenwashed and labeled "natural"
instead of being certified organic.
Foods needs to sell a lot more certified organic products rather than
conventional items greenwashed as 'natural,'" said Ronnie Cummins,
Executive Director of OCA. "The company brands itself as one that is
working towards a sustainable future, but sustainability cannot exist
without the preservation of the public's health through a reformed
health insurance initiative, the promotion of workers' rights including
their right to unionize, and the advancement of certified organic food."