Employees at Whole Foods are reportedly demanding that the grocery store’s parent company, Amazon, cut ties with U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Peter Thiel’s Palantir.
The Verge reports that employees at Amazon-owned grocery chain Whole Foods are demanding that the company cut ties with ICE and billionaire Peter Thiel’s firm Palantir. The employees announced their demands via a public letter this week from the unionization group Whole Worker.
The letter calls Amazon’s rule “dystopian” and stated that Whole Foods employees will continue to fight against the firm by leaking internal information and undermining policies and business deals that lead to the deportation of illegal immigrants. The Whole Worker organization is comprised of current and former Whole Foods employees and has claimed responsibility for leaking a 45-minute union-busting video that Amazon distributes internally to employees.
— Brendan O’Connor (@_grendan) August 12, 2019
Amazon does not work directly with ICE but does have business dealings with Palantir, a company that provides ICE with software and technical support. Amazon has also previously attempted to sell its facial recognition software, Rekognition, to ICE. It appears that the Whole Workers letter is being published now in response to a series of anti-ICE protest in New York City last weekend.
The protests resulted in dozens of arrests and the shutdown of areas in the West Side Highway in Manhattan. There was reportedly an occupation of Amazon’s New York City bookstore and demonstrations outside Whole Foods locations in Brooklyn at the time. The letter published by Whole Workers states:
We as Whole Worker stand with our co-workers inside Amazon AWS demanding Jeff Bezos cease all business with Palantir and any other company involved in the continued oppression of marginalized groups. We also stand firmly with our co-workers in calling for Amazon to end the sale of its facial recognition software, Rekognition, to law enforcement. The software has already been proven to be racially biased, and the last thing an increasingly fascistic law enforcement culture needs are further tools for mass surveillance.
The Verge reached out to Amazon for comment but has yet to receive a reply.