‘Socialists are taking over,’ laments Whole Foods CEO John Mackey | whole foods

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“Socialists are taking over,” Whole Foods CEO and co-founder John Mackey lamented in a recent podcast interview.

“They march through institutions. They take over everything. They take over education. Looks like they took over a lot of companies. Looks like they’ve taken over the military, and it’s still going,” he told libertarian Reason magazine in a podcast published Wednesday.

“I feel like with the way free speech is today, the gun control movement, a lot of freedoms that I’ve taken for granted most of my life, I think they’re under threat,” Mackey said.

Mackey has tied the outspoken sharing of his political views to his upcoming retirement as managing director of Whole Foods in September.

“In six weeks I will be retiring from Whole Foods, and I’ve been muzzled since 2009,” Mackey said, referring to the op-ed he wrote for The Wall Street Journal that year, where he compared Obamacare to fascism.

“My board basically shut me down. It’s like a father, they started attacking the kid and I was intimidated enough to shut up,” Mackey told Reason. He compared his experience to come to Home Depot billionaire and conservative Bernie Marcus.

“People were constantly going after Home Depot to shut them up Bernie Marcus. Home Depot needs to say Bernie retired over 20 years ago, we can’t shut it up, you need to bring it to Bernie,” he said.

“I was saying to my management team pretty soon, you’re going to hear about ‘Crazy John’ being unmuzzled anymore, and you’re going to have to say, ‘We can’t stop John talking anymore. ”

Although the Whole Foods executive has long been outspoken about his libertarian beliefs – The New Yorker in 2010 called him a “right-wing hippie” – Mackey said he would be able to “talk more politics in six weeks than I can. can today”.

Mackey co-founded a health food grocery store in 1978 which eventually merged with other stores to create Whole Foods. The brand would eventually expand, buying out smaller stores and competitors, until it was bought by Amazon in 2017 for $13.7 billion. Mackey and the Whole Foods brand are credited with helping popularize organic foods in the United States. The chain has approximately 500 stores in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.

In his interview with Reason, Mackey criticized the younger generation, saying “they don’t seem to want to work”.

“Young people are not quick to work because they want meaningful work,” he said. “You can’t expect to start with meaningful work. You’re going to have to earn it over time.

Over the past few years, Amazon has steadfastly tried to resist unionization efforts — especially in its warehouses — and Whole Foods has been no exception.

In 2020, it was revealed that the company had created a heatmap to track stores that were at risk of unionizing. Even before Amazon acquired the grocery chain, the company had a history against unions, including hiring an anti-union consulting firm and changing the employee handbook to ban recording of all activities. work-related without management approval. When Amazon enacted a $15 minimum wage for workers, including Whole Foods employees, in 2019, workers at the chain said they saw their hours cut.

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