John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods, may talk a big game like he’s doing good work with good people. The truth is that Mackey’s company is making billions off of the back of cheap, exploitative prison labor.
While clearing over $13 billion in growing yearly revenue, the chain pays inmates of the Colorado prison system just $1.50 per hour for their work in raising tilapia.
Even more than that, Whole Foods takes some of its fine cheeses from milk harvested and cultured by prisoners. With an ever-growing prison workforce, thanks to the American prison industry, Colorado Correctional Industries has developed what has been described as “a burgeoning $65 million business that employs 2,000 convicts at 17 facilities.”
More and more, is seems that Mackey is less of a principled market leader and more of say-anything, do-anything to make a dollar businessman. Under his watch, Whole Foods’ employees have been barred from unionizing. According to Mackey, the relationship of a union to a business is like herpes to a person. Unions don’t “kill you, but it’s unpleasant and inconvenient, and it stops a lot of people from becoming your lover,” he’s said.
So the next time you’re looking to do some grocery shopping, consider that Whole Foods and its corporate overlords may not be nearly as wholesome a choice as you once thought.
For more on this story, visit Whole Foods Exploits Prison Labor for Your Goodies, While Ripping You Off written by Ben Norton.