Costco Releases Surprising Statement in the Wake of Unionization
Costco’s CEO has issued an apology to their workers following the recent unionization of a warehouse in the city of Norfolk, Virginia.
Following the workers’ vote to unionize, Costco’s CEO put the blame on the company themselves after realizing the retail giant failed to meet the needs of the workers.
CEO Shocks Workers by Accepting Blame
Costco’s former CEO, Craig Jelinek, shocked the internet by admitting the company was disappointed in itself and didn’t blame the employees who decided to unionize.
“We’re not disappointed in our employees; we’re disappointed in ourselves as managers and leaders,” wrote Jelinek in a letter to employees.
Memo Published to Reddit
Former president and current CEO Ron Vachris also contributed to the letter that an employee later shared on Reddit.
“The fact that a majority of Norfolk employees felt that they wanted or needed a union constitutes a failure on our part,” they said.
Costco Claims They Aren’t Anti-Union
Towards the end of the letter, the CEO, speaking on behalf of the company, claimed they aren’t anti-union and value the needs of their employees.
“At Costco, we take great pride in our relationships with each other,” the letter continued. “We’re not anti-union, but our core value of “taking care of our employees” has never been the result of any union,” they wrote.
Employees Join Teamsters
Last week, Teamsters announced over 238 of the warehouse workers at the Norfolk location had joined the labor union.
According to Fast Company, the workers will hopefully receive an hourly pay increase. Costco will also be asked to contribute more to their pensions and raise semiannual bonuses.
Costco Employees at Norfolk Set for Payrise
The unionization at Norfolk came just a year after Teamsters secured an agreement with Costco to increase employee pay and benefits.
According to a Teamsters representative, Costco workers will begin seeing “significant wage improvements.”
Union Ensures Costco Lives up to its Image
Teamsters are happy with the progress they’ve made with Costco. After the workers at Norfolk successfully unionized, the Labor Union released a statement.
“Together, as Teamsters, we’ll make sure Costco lives up to the worker-friendly image it likes to project to the public,” said a representative from Teamsters.
Costco Manager Agrees With the Letter
A Costco manager from a store in California recently shared his opinion about the letter with Business Insider.
He said, “I agreed with that letter wholeheartedly because that means over 50% of those employees felt like they couldn’t go to management with issues, or they went to management and couldn’t get their issues resolved in a way they deemed fit.”
Manager Scared to Speak Out
Under fear of being persecuted for his comments, the manager requested to remain anonymous to the media. However, he did mention he prefers working in locations that have not yet unionized.
“It was disheartening for that location to vote to be in a union, but at the same time, it’s a good time for us to reflect and be like, ‘Maybe we need to retrain management’,” he added.
Teamsters Continue Building Up Costco Members
With the recent addition of 238 more union members from the Norfolk warehouse, Teamsters represent approximately 18,000 Costco employees.
This amounts to around 5% of Costco’s total workforce at over a fifth of the company’s 600 locations in the United States.
Manager in Texas Share Opinion on Pay
Another manager from a warehouse in Texas believes the company would prosper and even see less unionization if they increased the annual pay increase from 50 cents.
While Costco still pays some of the highest wages in the nation when compared to Target or Walmart, the manager claims the competitors are still gaining ground.
Amazon Not so Happy About Unionization
The response from Costco is considered lighthearted when compared to the response from Amazon following unionization efforts at a Staten Island Warehouse in 2022.
“We believe having a direct relationship with the company is best for our employees,” said a representative from Amazon. They went on to accuse the National Labor Relations Board of “undue influence.”