Grocery union claims Amazon’s $13.7B Whole Foods acquisition will hurt consumers and workers – GeekWire

The Whole Foods in Seattle South Lake Union neighborhood, just steps away from Amazon’s downtown Seattle headquarters

United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, an organization that represents more than 1 million retail workers across the U.S., has come out with criticisms of Amazon’s $13.7 billion deal to buy Whole Foods Market, saying that the deal could hurt customers and workers and lead to significant automation of jobs.

In a letter to the Federal Trade Commission, UFCW President Marc Perrone called Amazon an “online retail monopoly” and argued that “the scope and weight of Amazon’s digital reach poses a severe and constant economic threat to consumers, retailers, and especially grocers, irrespective of whether they’re located online or are traditional brick-and-mortar stores.”

Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Perrone claims that the deal will hurt consumers by reducing the number of grocery store choices and possibly impacting prices and food quality. He said he believes Amazon will automate jobs in stores by implementing something like the checkout-free technology being developed for Amazon Go stores.

Perrone in his letter does not call for the FTC to outright block the deal, but he asked the organization to “carefully review” the merger.

At the time of the announcement of the deal last month GeekWire reported that no layoffs are expected to result from the acquisition, according to a source familiar with Amazon’s plans. Additionally, Brittain Ladd, a former leader at Amazon’s grocery arm AmazonFresh, recently told GeekWire he doesn’t believe Amazon will implement the Amazon Go technology in Whole Foods Stores, at least not right away, because the stores are too large.

Perrone and UFCW aren’t the only ones who have registered concerns about the Amazon Whole Foods deal in recent weeks. Multiple Congressional representatives have spoken on the deal.

Rep. David Cicilline,…

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