The merger that shook food and retail stocks on Friday – Amazon.com Inc’s proposed deal to buy Whole Foods Market Inc – rattled some employees of the upscale grocery chain who expressed fears ranging from layoffs to the loss of their laid-back corporate culture.The online retailer hopes the $13.7 billion acquisition helps it disrupt the grocery business and expand its real-world store footprint.Carmen Clark, 37, a six-year employee at a store in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, said some workers worry that Amazon-led automation could lead to job cuts. “Everybody’s been kind of joking that it’s going to be robots and drones,” Clark said of potential changes from Amazon, which uses robots in its warehouses and is testing drones for delivery.But she is giving Amazon the benefit of the doubt. “I have purchased from Amazon for five years. It’s a good company,” she said.Reuters approached a dozen employees in California, New York, Illinois, South Carolina and Rhode Island. Many said they had been told by managers not to speak to reporters.
For Whole Foods workers, fears of robots, drones and culture clash