Operation Hey Mackey! Whole Foods, Oakland (2009)

Operation Hey Mackey! Whole Foods, Oakland (2009)
Jamie LeJeune, Cassidy Friedman

From In These Times, by Russell Mokhiber:

It was a beautiful Friday night in Oakland.

California that is.

Things were going swimmingly at the Oakland Whole Foods.

And then...

And then at 6 p.m., musicians started arriving.

More than 40 of them.





And they gathered in the back of the store.

And began singing a song.

It was a take off of Toni Basil's 1982 pop hit "Hey Mickey."

(Hey Mickey You're So Fine
You're So Fine You Blow my Mind
Hey Mickey
Hey Mickey.)

But these were former Whole Foods shoppers.

Boycotters now.

Who were turned off by the CEO, John Mackey, when he pronounced in August in the pages of the Wall Street Journal that health care was not a human right.

So, they adapted the song - just for him.

"Hey Mackey, you're a swine, you're a swine, you blow my mind, Hey Mackey."
"Oh Mackey what a pity, you don't seem to care."
"We're not as rich as you, but we still need healthcare."
"Oh Mackey you're so greedy can't you understand."
"It's guys like you Mackey"
"What you do, what you do Mackey"
"Don't break my heart Mackey."

Max Bell Alper, a union organizer for AFSCME, was one of the organizers of the Whole Foods musical protest in Oakland.

"We were all disappointed in Mackey's Wall Street Journal op-ed," Alper said. "We came up with this song, got some musicians together, choreographed a dance number, and we went to Whole Foods in Oakland and did it."

The group handed out flyers that read in part: "Whole Foods is sickening . . . Sustainability cannot endure without preserving the dignity and health of not only the planet but our fellow people."

Alper said that customers reacted positively to the musical protest.

"There were people who came up to us afterward and told us - you are right, I'm going to boycott Whole Foods also," Alper said. "Or they would say - I was boycotting Whole Foods after Mackey made his statement, then I started slacking, now you have shaken me up, and I'm going to start boycotting again."

Alper said that the employees were most excited - "they came from behind their counters and started clapping along with us."

Alper said that Whole Foods managers are regularly given training on union avoidance.

"That's code for union busting," Alper said.

Oakland police and homeland security police were called - but there were no arrests.

For more information on the boycott, please visit http://wholeboycott.com/