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Whole Foods in Cambridge sends workers home for wearing Black Lives Matter face masks

NBC Boston reports on the River Street Whole Foods.



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But for consistency, they'll need to address why rainbow pinnis allowed.

. In order to operate in a customer-focused environment, all Team Members must comply with our longstanding company dress code, which prohibits clothing with visible slogans, messages, logos or advertising that are not company-related," the store said in a statement.


What's a pinnis?


Do you really want that answered

There doesn't seem to be a single checkout person at the Whole Foods I go to that isn't festooned with every single rainbow button and symbol known to humanity. It's quite a glittering and ostentatious array. I say this as a gay male, by the way.

Whole Foods is a company that doesn’t want anything to do with black people. There isn’t a Whole Foods in Dorchester, Roxbury, Or Mattapan. I’m not going to call them racist but it’s facts that they want to stay far away from blacks as possible. For the record, Dorchester is the biggest neighborhood in Boston and the most diverse. But they decided to put a store in Cambridge and one in Charlestown.


Before they decide where to place stores. Starbucks too. You don't think Jeff Bezos and his people can capably identify where to put a higher-end grocery store?

That Dot, Roxbury, and Mattapan are absent Whole Foods is the symptom, not the disease.


I'm sure the "research" Amazon did on "those" neighborhoods determined that it would not be profitable to try and sell a loaf of Iggy's white bread to people whose net worth could barely cover the cost, amirite?

Screw Whole Foods! We want a Market Basket!

Cantabrigians LOVE their Black Lives Matter lawn signs!

They just don't want it in their faces when they're shopping for overpriced brie and Iggy's white bread !


for a loaf of that bread.


from "Whole Paycheck" to "Whole Mortgage"?

Apparently no customer even got to see the masks. They were told to remove them at the start of their shift and sent home when they refused.

Whole Foods was always my supermarket of last resort but they've gotten even worse since the Pandemic. The stores are now just warehouses for the delivery shoppers in which they grudgingly allow the general public to browse the nearly empty shelves and pay even higher than pre-pandemic prices.


not for supporting BLM. There is a difference.


Color me skeptical. I wonder how much of this is selective enforcement? Who else violates dress code but did not get sent home?


ever had a retail job with a dress code? I have. It's pretty common for employees to get sent home for violating dress code/uniform requirements or asked to do something like turn a shirt inside out so a logo/words on a shirt aren't visible.

What do you think happens? Are you suggesting that Whole Foods allows employees to wear masks that say "Trump 2020" or "Cure Liberalism" or "I Global Warming"?

I had to deal with that this week at my company. Solution is to shut everyone down. How else could you do it?


How else could you do it?

well for starters, you could stop pretending that “black lives matter” and “cure liberalism” are the same.


Trump 2020 is political. So not the same. Whole Foods has signs as you walk in the door saying they stand against racism. These masks simply say the same.

And since we're not all complete morons living under rocks, we can stop pretending to be unaware of the BLM movement going on all over the country. That's what matters right now. Not whether or not someone wears something about climate change. I do not care whether they can or can't. Irrelevant. I care about putting my dollars only behind businesses that support BLM 100% and stand tall behind it.

...they are completely free to decide which "political messages" they allow their employees to display, right? Allowing masks like this seems like a marketing no-brainer to me, especially in Cambridge.

The dress code states that masks can not have any logo or message etc, but I doubt WF was sending home people with masks featuring images like the Celtics logo, Marvel superheroes, or Game of Thrones slogans.

Selective enforcement doesn’t have to be BLM vs MAGA White power slogans. It’s usually more subtle and pernicious.

You're kidding, right? At some WF stores they have kids who work there that look like they just fell out of bed and the place is their second job. Their first being a worker at a tattoo place.

Dress code?


What is wrong with working at a tattoo place? What are you insinuating? I sincerely don't understand what you're looking down upon.

ban all clothes with written words then,,,,

you’re attempting to make a distinction where there is none.

Loud Noises!

Yes the frustration can be real when you can not express yourself but this is a job. A job with rules. Rules against slogans that are not Whole Foods slogans. Why is this a problem?

This is the same problem they had at Starbucks initially. Starbucks had the misfortune of having allowed other similar speech previous with Pride stuff. That makes it different but not totally so. The Pride stuff came down from Corporate. BLM has been around but is only recently something many people would so loudly shout and say. The corporation has not had time to make their own stuff yet so I can understand what happened.

I would say having worked in retail. If you are looking for your job to create a stricter dress code then keep this up. I can already see major retailers prepping their guidebooks and creating new guidelines. Oh you got to wear your own cloths to work? Well now you have to wear these store issues polyester pants! Uniforms will be seen as the safest way to not get dragged into the culture wars.

I have a friend who went through a lot of trouble to get a dozen colorful and fun masks for work only to be told two weeks into the pandemic that everyone would be issued disposable masks moving forward. Turns out there was some sort of disagreement over the offensiveness of a mask that someone wore and management just wanted nothing to do with it. So poof, all gone.

But I bet if the mask said Save The Whales it would be fine but a black person can’t say their life matters. Wow

Now we're supposed to be outraged and scandalized by what you "bet" would be the case.

If it's enforced consistently, the Whole Foods policy is fair and sensible. If it's not, THEN you have a gripe.


It’s not enforced consistently.

Evidence? I've never seen an employee at Whole Foods working while wearing clothing with large writing on it that didn't say "Whole Foods".

In the Boston globe article they say employees had previously worn masks with sports team logos and slogans. So why is a Red Sox mask OK but not a BLM mask?


Next time you see a WF grocery store
worker that's wearing a Red Sox or Celtics face mask make sure you complain to their manager so that said employee will be duly reprimanded and sent home losing the rest of their day's
pay, Karen.

Karen doesn’t apply to the point of the post.

Evidence? I've never seen an employee at Whole Foods working while wearing clothing with large writing on it that didn't say "Whole Foods".

then you've never been to a whole foods.

of course, the beauty of this argument is that nothing short of photographic evidence will satisfy you.

the point the workers in question raise is that black lives matter is not any more exclusive or incendiary than wearing a rainbow pin.

You and I may be on the side of the angels but this argument is absurd.

the need to project the appearance of objectivity at all costs is what’s absurd to me.

that Black Lives Matter and Make America Great Again exist as polar opposites is a pretty good representation of where we are.


Sorry I don’t have pics and dates but I’ve seen logos and pins on WF workers in the past.

Untrue. Whole Foods needs to stand with the Black Lives Matter movement. If that means letting people wear BLM masks, then so be it. Who cares about dress code.

But you know what, I'm not black. So I hardly have the final say on the matter.

They would never allow Save The Whales masks at the Fresh Pond WF! They will allow masks that advertise Jim and Margery daily at 12 on WGBH radio!

I wonder if the employee pointed out that Amazon (the owner of Whole Foods) has had a very prominent “Black Lives Matter” banner on their home page. If anything, a Black Lives Matter face ask is keeping in line with the parent company’s messaging.