Fifty People at Hadley Whole Foods Boycott Rally

The CEO of Whole Foods, John Mackey, recently wrote an article that was published in the Wall Street Journal. In the article, Mackey argued that health care is not a right, and opposed universal health care. On September 12, some 51 local activists showed up at a rally in the rain at the Whole Foods store in Hadley, near Northampton, calling for a boycott.

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photo by Nancy Foley

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They handed out fliers about the boycott, and asking people to contact Congressman Richard Neal and requesting that he support universal health care.

Neal represents Northampton and other towns and cities. A map of his district is at www.house.gov/neal/pdfs/district_map.pdf

Jon Weissman was an organizer of the rally. He was a mailman in Springfield, Mass. for 25 years before he was elected president of that city’s Letter Carriers’ union. He now runs the western Massachusetts chapter of a national group, Jobs With Justice www.jwj.org

According to Weissman:

-The health insurance plan that Whole Foods offers its workers is so bad that the workers often choose to instead enroll in subsidized public health insurance plans. In Massachusetts, that costs taxpayers about $1.7 million a year;

-Mackey has said that one of his goals for Whole Foods is to remain "100 percent union-free."

At www.MackeysGottaGo.com people can send a letter to the board of directors of Whole Foods calling on the board to fire Mackey. The site, which also has a link to Mackey’s article, is owned by the United Food and Commercial Workers union www.ufcw.org/about_ufcw.

Contact information for Congressman Neal is at www.house.gov/neal

A local alternative to Whole Foods is the River Valley Market in Northampton. The locally-owned grocery store is run by a board of directors that is elected by any of the store’s 3,000 “member-owners” who choose to vote. www.rivervalleymarket.coop

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