MIT Technology Review, August 13, 2019
The news: A group of anonymous Whole Foods employees is calling out Amazon (which bought the supermarket chain in 2017) for working with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). An open letter, posted via the group’s Twitter account, criticizes Amazon for providing cloud computing services to Palantir, a data analytics company that works for ICE, which has been cracking down on undocumented immigrants. The group, called Whole Worker, also asks Amazon to stop selling its facial-recognition technology, Rekognition, to law enforcement and demands that it stop business with “any other company involved in the continued oppression of marginalized groups.”
Elsewhere in the company, employees have been protesting Amazon’s relationship with ICE for over a year, though momentum has grown recently because of anti-ICE protests. Last month, employees of Amazon Web Services circulated a letter that also demanded the company stop working with ICE.
However, it’s hard to say how widespread the disquiet at Whole Foods is or whether it is growing. A member of Whole Worker reportedly told Business Insider that the group has “several dozen” committee members and 280 people “involved in internal communications.” Whole Foods employed 91,000 people as of two years ago.