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I have consistently been critical of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) persecution/prosecution of Whole Foods, trying to unravel the retailer’s acquisition of Wild Oats that closed more than a year ago.

MNB user Bill Warren takes issue with my approach:

Fortunately in the January 30th "KC's View" regarding the Whole Foods offer for a settlement to FTC in their litigation you had the qualifier about being a pundit and not a judge in your comment. I can reaffirm that narrow-minded, retailer management bias being evident in your pundit observation.

Your comment about public humiliation in the matter of the FTC is so misplaced, I wonder if you wear "W" underwear at night in honor of his personal role in destruction to the federal regulator role and review process in our country during his entire failed two-term presidency, which contained the Bush 11th commandment of "To Protect and Defend Corporate America".

That said, it must have been divine intervention above the level of Bush to cause the FTC to mount the challenge to the Whole Foods deal during the waning period of his term, or we had a rogue at FTC ignoring the department's marching orders and with an intent to do the agency's job properly.

Mr. Coupe, the FTC has moved to invalidate this transaction to protect consumers from the expected harm of the result of higher prices in the absence of bona –fide organic-dedicated retailers, as the FTC has determined a relevant market for bona-fide organic retailers. If any party should experience humiliation it is the management of both companies, Whole Foods and Wild Oats, and primarily Whole Foods, to progress with the deal without prudence when the uncertainty existed that the lower court decision could be overturned on appeal. Perhaps you have chosen to ignore the damaging e-mail memorandum and internal documents that motivated the whack job that runs Whole Foods to undertake this merger. With respect to space constraints in this e-mail rebuke of your comments, you and your readers can easily find the documentation in this regard on an Internet search.

Your comments, however, do succeed to appeal to your base readership of management executives in retailers across the U.S., much as Sean Hannity does the same self-serving rhetoric to his right-wing and evangelical base that comprise his radio listener ship. But your comments fail in responsible journalistic analysis, based upon the facts.

I certainly appreciate your right to disagree with me. For the record, I think I reported both sides of the issue when the acquisition was pending, and was fairly critical of Whole Foods management in those days. However – and I concede that reasonable people can disagree on this without being disagreeable – I think the FTC’s assessment of the marketplace was incorrect, and I stand by that judgment.

I am confused by one point you make. I think you are suggesting that when the judge ruled that Whole Foods could acquire Wild Oats, and that the FTC’s objections were insufficient to block the merger, Whole Foods should have simply waited a few months to close the deal just in case the FTC wanted to object some more.

What you are suggesting is tantamount to the Steelers deciding to allow the Cardinals an extra minute or two – after the clock ran out – just in case they were able to score another touchdown. I’m pretty sure that’s not how the game is played. Especially since the FTC is wrong. (Sorry. Couldn’t resist.)

And finally, this may be the first time that I’ve been accused to wearing “W” jammies and parroting Sean Hannity. In some circles, you just helped my image immensely.

Referring to the Employee Free Choice Act last week, I said that the so-called “card check” legislation was essentially un-American because it removes the requirement for a secret ballot during union certification.

Several people objected to that characterization.

One MNB user wrote:

Why do you tell untruths in your post? The Employee Free Choice Act does NOT do away with the secret ballot. The people who are deciding to join or not to join a union would decide if they want the secret ballot or the card check. Right now the employer makes that decision for the people who want to join a union. Let the people decide, not the employer. The employer wants the upper hand to keep the union out. Now that's Un American. Get your facts right.

Another MNB user wrote:

Just a quick note on your comments about this story. The Employee Free Choice Act does NOT remove the option of secret ballots, it adds a second option which is the card check system. Not sure why this would be considered "un-American."

My feeling remains that a secret ballot ought to be required – not just an option - before a union is certified. Every effort has to be made to assure that employers do not apply undue pressure to employees considering unionization, but the same ought to go for the people in charge of organized labor.

My larger point was this. The numbers show that union membership went up last year, and is on the rise for the first time in decades. Card check legislation isn’t needed. Unions can stand or fall on their own merits…and a secret ballot, during which employees can make their own decision without pressure, ought to be a fundamental right and requirement.

KC's View: