Business Insider’s Hayley Peterson reported that Amazon-owned WholeFoods will cut healthcare benefits for hundreds of part-time employees. The decision seems hypocritical of Bezos after giving kind words and making a pledge to focus on the workers.
Recently Bezos joined CEOs from 180 other major companies in signing a statement that redefined the goals of their companies and promised to “deliver value to all” stakeholders. The statement reads, in part, that companies “commit” to: “Investing in our employees. This starts with compensating them fairly and providing important benefits.” Now there was no legal obligation tied to the statement, it’s just a mission statement from what is essentially a lobbying group, but the companies emphasized this as a statement of their intents.
Amazon argues that the changes will only affect 2% of the Whole Foods workforce, but the changes will still affect as many as 1,900 employees. Amazon says some of these employees will move to full-time hours and the change will “create a more equitable and efficient scheduling model.”
The Whole Foods move shows that for all the good intentions or press releases about taking care of employees, companies are ultimately worried about their bottom line.
Bezos may reverse course here or do something else to put a good public relations spin to the current uproar, but the Whole Foods healthcare decision proves that while CEOs love to make extravagant statements about taking care of their workers, there’s no guarantee that they’ll actually practice what they preach.