(BALTIMORE)—This past weekend, protesters from the Teamsters and the Sierra Club group Sierra Rise educated attendees of the annual Natural Products Expo East convention about Whole Food’s exploitation of prison labor for profit.
The protestors distributed leaflets that read “Whole Prison Labor.” The leaflets were also sponsored by the Organic Consumers Association and the Food Chain Workers Alliance. The leaflets explained how Whole Foods [NASDAQ: WFM] purchases tilapia raised by prisoners in Colorado and Missouri, in addition to goat cheese made from goats that are raised and milked by prisoners. These prisoners earn as little as 74 cents per day, while Whole Foods sells the cheese and fish for much more to consumers— the tilapia sells for as much as $11.99 per pound.
“Although Whole Foods caters to the ‘socially conscious’ consumer, it relies on exploited prison labor to make a profit,” said Steve Vairma, Director of the Teamsters Warehouse Division.
“Unfortunately, we are not surprised at Whole Foods’ abusive behavior,” continued Vairma. “Whole Foods’ primary supplier, United Natural Foods, Inc. [NASDAQ: UNFI], fights viciously whenever its workers try to organize a union so they can have a voice on the job. UNFI even issued death threats to minority workers in Moreno Valley, California.”
Recently, the Black Liberation Project protested at Whole Foods in St. Paul, Minn. to inform customers about the company’s exploitation of prison labor. Protesters provided the names of alternative local markets and black-owned farms to customers.
“We do not believe a company can claim they are ‘socially conscious’ and build profits on the backs of incarcerated Black people,” stated the Black Liberation Project’s Facebook page.
Read more at www.WholeFoodsWTF.com and @WholeFoodsWTF.