Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Corporate gatekeepers and big tech monopolists are making it more difficult than ever for independent media to survive. Please chip in today.

Whole Foods Market in Union Square in New York City. Whole Foods owner Jeff Bezos slashed benefits for employees on Thursday.

Whole Foods Market in Union Square in New York City.  Whole Foods owner Jeff Bezos slashed benefits for employees on Thursday.  (Photo by Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

In 'Disgusting' Move, Jeff Bezos Abruptly Cuts Health Benefits for Nearly 2,000 Part-Time Whole Foods Workers

"I am in shock. I've worked here 15 years. This is why I keep the job—because of my benefits."

Eoin Higgins

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos on Thursday cut benefits for part-time workers at his grocery chain Whole Foods, drawing criticism from the left for a move that could leave thousands of people without health insurance.

"Jeff Bezos is the richest man in the world," Boston-based activist Jonathan Cohn said on Twitter. "This is disgusting."

"Recall that one of Bezos's first acts as publisher of the Washington Post was to cut his staff's retirement benefits."
—writer Elon Green

Business Insider reporter Hayley Peterson broke the story.  The decision will affect 1,900 of the business's 95,000 workers—the ones who work part-time, or around 20 hours a week.

"We are providing team members with resources to find alternative healthcare coverage options, or to explore full-time, healthcare-eligible positions starting at 30 hours per week," a Whole Foods spokesperson told Peterson. "All Whole Foods Market team members continue to receive employment benefits including a 20% in-store discount."

One employee, who has been working for the company for 15 years but felt anonymity was necessary to avoid retribution for speaking out, said she was devastated by the news. 

"I am in shock," said the employee. "I've worked here 15 years. This is why I keep the job—because of my benefits."

Producer Jennifer Solotaroff took to Twitter to tell her story of being a Whole Foods employee and to explain to her audience the importance of benefits for the company's part-time staff.

"I worked at Whole Foods and it was the kind of job where people were able to work and go about their life," said Solotaroff. "Employees were taken care of and you could feel it—the morale was great, it was a diverse environment, and employees felt supported. So much of that had to do with coverage."

The news of Bezos's decision didn't come as a surprise to writer Elon Green.

"Recall that one of Bezos's first acts as publisher of The Washington Post was to cut his staff's retirement benefits," Green tweeted.

The move came less than a month after Bezos signed a pledge to invest in workers, The Verge explained:

Last month, Amazon joined a number of other tech companies and Fortune 500 firms in signing a letter outlining the purpose of a corporation as something not just designed to return shareholder value, but also to serve employees and the community. "Each of our stakeholders is essential," the pledge read. "We commit to deliver value to all of them, for the future success of our companies, our communities and our country."

That disconnect between words and actions, Business Insider columnist Bob Bryan said, proves there's no substitute for solidarity. 

"The Whole Foods decision is not just hypocritical of Bezos, but also proves why workers should never put too much trust in kind words from CEOs and instead push for lasting changes to uphold their interests and those of their coworkers," Bryan wrote.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

'We Have to Flip This Seat': After Senate Primary Win, Fetterman Shifts Focus to Beating GOP

"This is the most important race in the country," said Democratic U.S. Senate nominee John Fetterman. "Control of the Senate is going to come down to Pennsylvania."

Jake Johnson ·


Kentucky Progressive Charles Booker Wins Democratic US Senate Primary

"We're going to beat Rand Paul," Booker confidently predicted, by "inspiring a vision that encourages people to believe things can be better."

Brett Wilkins ·


As Senators Try to Expand War Crimes Jurisdiction, Critics Ask if US War Criminals Count

"I've got names and addresses of American war criminals if any senators are interested," quipped veteran journalist Nick Turse.

Brett Wilkins ·


Climate Campaigners Demand Oxford, Cambridge Stop Taking Fossil Fuel Money

"This funding undermines climate justice, fueling the continued disproportionate harms of the fossil fuel industry on marginalized communities worldwide."

Julia Conley ·


Palestine Defenders Hail Rep. Tlaib's 'Historic' Nakba Resolution

"The time has come for the United States to correct an ongoing historical mistake it committed by recognizing the Palestinian Nakba, and to pressure Israel to respect American values that call for justice, equality, and freedom for all."

Brett Wilkins ·

Common Dreams Logo