Recent stories about Costco have led some people, good and smart folks who care about creating a world that works for everyone to believe that Costco is an example of a large company that takes care of it’s employees. And while, yes Costco pays much better wages and benefits than Wal-Mart (for those increasing shrinking number of Wal-Mart employees that actually receive benefits) let’s set the record straight.
Yes Costco’s number one guy gives to the Democrats and supports some progressive causes. Yes Costco doesn’t take advantage of workers like Wal-Mart. But the fact is that here in San Francisco Costco was the first non-union grocery in the city. Shortly after the store opened, employees at a nearby union store, Foods Co, another ‘box store’ suffered such a steep decline in sales due to Costco’s opening that the union renegotiated a labor contract with less generous benefits and pay.
While we’re not about to begin a treatise on labor theory, it isn’t complicated to understand. Non-union stores aren’t a friend of anyone who cares about creating equity, sustainability and a world that works for everyone not just those who sit on top of the pile.
While we’re at it send me your thoughts. We’d especially love to here from workers at Whole Foods, what we at NBN call American’s glitziest non-union grocer. From what I understand some folks love it, others feel, well, lets just say less than pleased. Furthermore some folks claim that the profit sharing works for those on profitable teams such as personal care where supplements, lotions and potions rake in big dollars but leave those on teams with less high priced items take home a lot less.