AUSTIN, Texas (November 12, 2003) Whole Foods Market (NASDAQ: WFMI), the world's largest natural and organic foods supermarket, announced today it has withdrawn recognition of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) as the exclusive bargaining representative for its team members in Madison, Wis., the company's only store to vote for union representation in its 23-year history.
In late September, team members at the Madison store presented a petition to the company requesting that the union no longer be considered their official bargaining representative. As a result, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) scheduled a November 17 vote for the store's full team member base to decide whether the UFCW would continue to represent them.
With the vote scheduled, Madison team members then presented a second petition with sufficient signatures to allow the company to legally withdraw recognition from the union without holding the scheduled vote. Although Whole Foods Market and the UFCW had consented to an election and had entered into an election agreement with the NLRB, the UFCW filed Unfair Labor Practice charges against Whole Foods Market on November 7, effectively blocked the vote from occurring in November or in the near future. Whole Foods Market believes these charges, like the many others filed by the union, are baseless and ultimately will be dismissed.
“In light of this significant change of circumstances, we have decided the best way to respect the wishes of our Madison team members is to withdraw recognition from the union, and we have done so effective yesterday,” said John Mackey, Whole Foods Market co-founder, President, CEO, and Chairman of the Board. “It is possible for the UFCW to attempt to challenge this decision, but the company fully expects to put this brief period of unionization behind us and move on together with a renewed sense of cooperation and shared vision.”
Currently with more than 27,000 team members, Whole Foods Market was founded on the ideals of respect for the individual, shared fate, fairness in the workplace, and team member excellence and happiness. The company has been ranked as one of Fortune magazine's “100 Best Companies to Work for” in America for six consecutive years.