Whole Foods Slashes Workers' Hours After Amazon Implements a $15 Minimum Wage

Brittany M. Hughes | March 7, 2019

Whole Foods is reportedly slashing employee hours after the grocery chain’s parent company, Amazon, announced they were upping minimum wages to $15 an hour.

According to the Guardian, all Whole Foods hourly employees did in fact see their wages increase after the company made the announcement back in November, while those who were already making more than $15 an hour received a $1 to $2 an hour increase – but at a pretty big cost.

“But since the wage increase, Whole Food employees have told the Guardian that they have experienced widespread cuts that have reduced schedule shifts across many stores, often negating wage gains for employees,” the Guardian reports.

“’My hours went from 30 to 20 a week,’ said one Whole Foods employee in Illinois.”

The employee told The Guardian that once the $15-an-hour wage hike was put in place, part-time employee hours at their store were cut from an average of 30 to 21 hours a week, while full-time employees’ hours were reduced from 37.5 hours to 34.5 hours. The numbers were based on employee schedules turned over to The Guardian.

“In Maryland, another Whole Foods worker said their regional management is forcing stores to cut full-time employee schedules by four hours, to 36 hours a week,” the report added. 

“‘This hours cut makes that raise pointless as people are losing more than they gained and we rely on working full shifts,’ the worker said.”

In many cases, the trimmed hours are actually causing workers to take home less than they were before the wage hikes, even though they’re making more per hour and are still required to do the same overall amount of work. Some employees are actually using their personal vacation time to try and make up the difference between the hours they used to work and the leaner schedule they’re working now, one worker reportedly said.

While unfortunate for Whole Foods workers, the schedule cuts are anything but unprecedented. A similar citywide minimum wage hike in Seattle in 2017 saw many employers cutting back workers’ hours after being ordered to pay their employees at least $15 an hour.