Whole Foods Workers Demand Amazon Stop Working with ICE

Photo: Pexels

Photo: Pexels

Originally Appeared in Presence Marketing News, September 2019
By Steven Hoffman

A group of current and former Whole Foods Market employees working under an anonymous group called Whole Worker published an open letter on August 12 demanding that Amazon cut ties with Palantir, a company that provides data to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE), “to show solidarity with our undocumented sisters, brothers, and siblings.” The letter takes issue specifically with Amazon providing its web services technology to Palantir, which sells data to ICE, and the sale of Amazon’s own facial-recognition software, Rekognition, to law enforcement. These services are often used to deport undocumented people and conduct raids like the one that occurred at a food processing plant in Mississippi this August, reported Eater. The letter expresses solidarity with undocumented people in America who “are fleeing from conditions created by destructive U.S. policies, making it the responsibility of the U.S. to welcome them.” The letter also points out that “Palantir, in 2011, was involved in a plan to spy on labor unions and activists.” The Whole Worker group demanded that Amazon “cease all business with Palantir and any other company involved in the continued oppression of marginalized groups.” In reference to Amazon, the letter further states, “We recognize that expecting a company built on the exploitation of marginalized people and the working class to cease its collaboration with ICE’s deportation machine by way of moral condemnations isn’t enough. Workers that control the levers inside Amazon must make this machine stop and turn in another direction.”