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US trade union wants FTC probe into Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods

RBR Staff Writer Published 18 July 2017

An American trade union, representing over a million retail workers, has raised concerns about Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods Market on grounds over the possible impact on several jobs by the $13.7bn deal.

The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) has written a letter in this regard to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) appealing for an investigation into the transaction.

According to an opinion written by UFCW international president Marc Perrone in CNN, employees at Whole Foods are staring at an uncertain future owing to Amazon’s model for grocery stores. Whole Foods Market has a workforce of around 87,000.

Perrone has written a letter addressing FTC Commissioners, a part of which reads: “Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods is not about improving customer service, products or choice. It is about destroying Whole Foods jobs through Amazon-style automation.

“We strongly urge the FTC to carefully review this merger. We believe a fair and impartial analysis will prove that Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods is a competitive threat to our economy that will hurt workers and communities.”

Earlier in the month, Consumer Watchdog had written a letter to the FTC as well, appealing to block the Amazon-Whole Foods transaction. The organization alleged that Amazon had been engaging in unfair and deceptive methods to mislead customers about the discounts they were offering.

Responding to the allegations, Amazon had in turn called the complaint by Consumer Watchdog as misleading.

The mega merger between Amazon and Whole Foods has also come under fire from US lawmaker David Cicilline who wants a hearing about the transaction to be held by the House Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee.

Amazon’s definitive agreement to acquire Whole Foods supermarket chain was made in mid June. Under the terms, Amazon offered $42 per share to buy the natural and organic foods supermarket chain which runs over 460 stores in the US, UK and Canada.

Image: Whole Foods Market in Boston. Photo: courtesy of Marco Verch/Wikipedia.org.