Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Un-Whole-ly Foods

Their food is great but still ridiculously overpriced and a perfect fit in New York City. Whole Foods has boomed in our town and in other wealthy areas across the country. Yet the chain is still cutting corners where it can and in the most devious of ways. Down at the Union Square store, ex-employee Ralph Reese found out just how heartless they can be.

From the NYT Cityroom:

Whole Foods fired Ralph Reese for taking a tuna fish sandwich. But was it misconduct? It is a question that matters. Anyone fired for misconduct is denied unemployment benefits.

Whole Foods argued that Mr. Reese, 57, of Queens, tried to steal a sandwich by taking it from the trash at the end of his shift as a deli clerk at the Union Square Whole Foods on Nov. 9. The company’s policy is that food cannot be taken without being paid for, though employees receive a 20 percent discount.
Yet it doesn't end there. Thankfully the judge listened to Mr. Reese, who did not actually eat the sandwich and called the matter a "moment of poor judgment," thereby restoring his access to unemployment benefits.

Despite the minute details that allowed him to get the benefits, the real problem lies with Whole Foods and their idiotic policy of not allowing their employees to take what's going to be thrown in the trash. If something is going to be tossed anyways, give it to the people like Reese, who was making a measly $11.50 an hour. Further, this petty way of "laying people off" and denying them benefits is simply cruel. This is where workers would benefit from the Employee Free Choice Act, so that more workers can unionize and strike companies that treat their employees so poorly.