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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 3/17/20

Whole Foods Reverses Sick Leave Policy After Blowback

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One thing the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic is going to demonstrate is how this country will respond to economic strain.

European stock shares dropped more than 8% Monday.

Despite Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell dropping interest rates to near zero, Wall Street stocks fell six percent on Monday.

The markets were already precarious. The virus shutting down businesses, reducing daily commerce, is compounding the problem.

Society is shutting down as confirmed cases mount.

We will now witness how the almighty "free market" holds up.

With this pandemic just getting started, however, we are already witnessing the grotesque level to which capitalism inevitably lowers itself when confronted with crisis.

Examples of price gouging abound.

Amazon.com made headlines last week when it pulled more than a million products suspected of inflated pricing or being falsely advertised.

Yet while Amazon executives were granted two weeks' paid leave amid the pandemic outbreak, founder and CEO Jeff Bezos-owned Whole Foods originally asked workers to help pay for colleagues' medical leave.

After being placed into the spotlight, though, the following statement from an Amazon spokesperson recently began circulating:

"This is a longstanding Whole Foods Market program from prior to the acquisition. Amazon is matching all funds to the Whole Foods Fund since the acquisition to support the team needs during this unprecedented event, and all Whole Foods team members have access to the 2-weeks paid time off related to coronavirus that was announced for all Amazon employees."

On Friday, Vt. Senator and Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders tweeted:

"Amazon paid $0 in taxes on $11 billion in annual profits. But it asks workers to 'donate' their paid leave to others who are sick. Workers and taxpayers are expected to be generous. Corporate CEOseven during a pandemiccan be as stingy as they want."

Trish Zornio, a Democrat running for a Colorado U.S. Senate seat, said:

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Ted Millar is a writer and teacher. His work has been in featured in myriad literary journals, including Straight Forward Poetry, Better Than Starbucks, the Broke Bohemian, Caesura, Circle Show, Cactus Heart, Third Wednesday, and The Voices (more...)
 

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