Whole Foods Under Fire After Firing Mom for Caring for Her Child with Special Needs During a Weather Emergency

Today in Chicago and Austin, groups of workers, moms, concerned women, Whole Foods customers, and more delivered more than 65,000 signatures to Whole Foods HQs demanding the reinstatement of Rhiannon Broschat and that Whole Foods honor their existing leave policy. Rhiannon was fired for caring for her child with special needs when the Polar Vortex closed Chicago Public Schools on January 28. National women’s group UltraViolet,
members of the Workers Organizing Committee of Chicago, and Women Employed in Chicago all helped to organize the events and petition.

See photos of the event here:

“We demand Whole Foods reinstate Rhiannon and honor their leave policy” said Nita Chaudhary, co-founder of UltraViolet. “As women, and as customers of Whole Foods, we are outraged that Whole Foods would force moms to choose between caring for their children and keeping their job during an emergency.”

See the petition here:

The groups delivered boxes of petition signatures to Whole Foods headquarters in Austin and Chicago. They held signs reading “Kids Come First” and chanted “When Whole Foods workers are under attack, what do we do? Stand up fight back!”

“I am so honored that so many people from across the nation are standing behind me in my effort to get my job back,” said Rhiannon Broschat. “This is not just about me, but also about all the working mothers across the nation that have to make tough choices between taking care of their kids and paying the bills. I am going to continue fighting
until I find justice.”

“Whole Foods says it fights poverty worldwide by offering higher wages and fair business practices. They say they stand by women as primary caregivers. How can a business fight poverty by not paying us enough money to get out of poverty?” said Matthew Camp, a Whole Foods worker and Fight for 15 member. “How can they stand by women and at the same time glibly and heartlessly fire a woman for prioritizing her son over her job? I’m standing with Rhiannon because I don’t want to see another single mother lose her job, or another child have to wonder where their next meal will come from. I want to see Rhiannon reinstated and Whole Foods apologize for this gross violation of the very principles they claim to espouse.”

Rhiannon, a Whole Foods employee of almost two years, was terminated after she was forced to stay home to take care of her special needs son during the polar vortex that prompted Chicago Public Schools to close on January 28. On February 5th, following the news of her termination, Rhiannon’s Whole Foods co-workers decided to stand in solidarity by going on strike in an effort to obtain justice for her and to assure fair treatment for others in the future. A national petition followed, and more than 65,000 workers, Whole Foods customers, moms, and concerned Americans have piled on to demand justice.

For more information:

For interviews with Nita Chaudhary, members of UltraViolet, or Rhiannon Broschat: please contact Molly Haigh at 907-750-1999 or molly@fitzgibbonmedia.com.

# # #