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Costco May Have a Huge Workers Problem

TheStreet logo TheStreet 8/6/2022 Alexa Back

Workers demand for their needs to be met.

Costco  (COST) - Get Costco Wholesale Corporation Report has famously been a good place to work. It even paid its employees $15 an hour way before most places. 

Glassdoor is a website where employees can rate their jobs by salaries, interviews, and benefits by providing photos and reviews. Costco has more than 13,000 ratings on the website, with 80% of employees recommending working at Costco. Over 2254 reviews even stated that they "love Costco because they provide you with a living wage and great benefits even working part time."

With this being said, there are still some cons with the employee experience ratings for the large-scale grocery store. In 792 of the reviews, employees mentioned issues with management: "Poor management by not listening and hearing employees' issues and situations."

In 451 reviews, employees noted that Costco was "very effective at keeping selective employees in check if the managers don't like that specific person."

With this in mind, employees have expressed their needs and wants to Costco, and if they aren't met soon, Costco will take a big hit.

How Costco Has Handled Inflation

Costco Wholesale Store Ting Shen/Xinhua via Getty) (Xinhua/ via Getty Images © Provided by TheStreet Costco Wholesale Store Ting Shen/Xinhua via Getty) (Xinhua/ via Getty Images

In a recent article, TheStreet reported how grocery inflation would affect Costco positively: "As prices continue to rise for beverages, companies with initiatives to sell cheaper items ooze optimism as consumers flock over."

TheStreet's Daniel Kline also mentioned how Costco intended to increase membership prices because of high inflation, which it usually does every five years. But this year Costco decided not to because of the economic environment, with Cosrtco CEO Craig Jelinek saying, "right now, it's not on the table and I don't think it's the right time."

Instead, Costco increased the price of its chicken bake by 33% (from $2.99 to $3.99) and its refillable 20-ounce cup of soda ($.59 to $.69), reported Daniel Kline for TheStreet.

These are just a few of the ways Costco implemented changes in face of the inflation: with price alterations and financial projections. In the background, employees have been involved in a bigger fight.

Costco Employees Demand Change

As of August 4, 2022, employees continue to bargain with Costco over a desire for a new national contract.  

Costco Employees Negotiate With Management Tim Boyle/Getty Images © Provided by TheStreet Costco Employees Negotiate With Management Tim Boyle/Getty Images

This fight has been continuous. Workers were offered a contract in June, which was referred to as "last, best and final" by the big corporation. But the offer was quickly rejected by over 93% of the employees. This week, negotiations continue, but so far are looking stark. 

Even so, the Teamsters, the largest labor union in the U.S., will make stronger efforts, according to the Teamsters General President Sean M. O'Brien: "Our members at Costco will stand up for their rights and withhold their labor if necessary."

O'Brien also noted that the 1.2 million member team will act together if said needs aren't met. 

Mike Bergen, Local 166 Secretary-Treasurer and Chair of the Teamsters Costco National Negotiating Committee, discussed some of the main issues with Costco: "Costco made record profits during the pandemic—more than $70 billion in 2021 alone—yet they are refusing to share their success with the employees who make them profitable. They don't seem to care about their workers anymore."

Tom Erickson, International VP and Director of the Teamsters Warehouse Division, notes that Costco "can afford to pay [its] members their fair share of those profits," especially after it "made a killing off [its] members' backs during the pandemic."

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