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Whole Foods Adopts $15 Minimum Wage, Then Starts Slashing Workers' Hours 'Significantly'

 Whole Foods sign hanging on a store entrance in Yonge Street.
Roberto Machado Noa/LightRocket via Getty Images
 

The dream of the $15 minimum wage was finally realized among Amazon employees after the company caved to mounting pressure and implemented it company-wide on Nov. 1. But according to a new report, the improved wages aren't working out as many employees had hoped at Amazon's Whole Foods grocery store chain.

 

The Guardian reported Wednesday that employees at Whole Foods, which Amazon purchased back in 2017, have experienced a dramatic drop in schedule shifts since the raised wages were introduced.

Along with the new $15 minimum wage for the entry-level positions, some higher-level Whole Foods employees have also enjoyed a $1 to $2 increase in hourly wages, the outlet notes. It all sounds good — until employees' schedules are taken into account. Since the wage increase in November, Whole Foods employees say they've experienced "widespread cuts that have reduced schedule shifts across many stores, often negating wage gains for employees," The Guardian reports.

The employees, speaking on condition of anonymity "for fear of retaliation," revealed to the outlet that they've seen an average of about a 30% reduction in hours per week for part-timers and about a 10% reduction for full-timers.

An Illinois-based worker told The Guardian, "My hours went from 30 to 20 a week," after the $15 minimum wage hike.

The employee "explained that once the $15 minimum wage was enacted, part-time employee hours at their store were cut from an average of 30 to 21 hours a week, and full-time employees saw average hours reduced from 37.5 hours to 34.5 hours," The Guardian reports. "The worker provided schedules from 1 November to the end of January 2019, showing hours for workers in their department significantly decreased as the department’s percentage of the entire store labor budget stayed relatively the same."

 

The employee says the company expects workers to accomplish their goals faster so their hours can be cut to balance the cost of the wage increases. The employee provided the outlet an internal email from a department manager saying the slashed shifts were a "direct result of guidance from our regional team."

And it's not just in Illinois. A Maryland-based employee told the paper their regional manager has ordered that all full-time employees suffer a four-hour reduction per week to 36 hours, making the raise "pointless" because people are actually "losing more than they gained" as a result of fewer hours worked. An Oregon-based Whole Foods employee cited a similar policy of reducing full-timers from 40 to just 36 or 38 hours per week.

The Guardian says the hours-reductions at Whole Foods fits the larger pattern of what's happening at Amazon warehouses.

 

As The Daily Wire pointed out on Wednesday, a new Employment Policies Institute survey of 197 working economists found that 74% oppose raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour. Eighty-four percent think it would hurt youth employment, and 77% believe it would have a negative impact on the number of jobs available. Forty-three percent of the economists surveyed think the federal minimum wage should be eliminated altogether.

Related: NYC Implemented Minimum Wage Hike For Fast Food Workers. Now They're Looking For Jobs

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