New Master Agreement Protects 18,000 Costco Workers Coast-to-Coast
The Teamsters made history today, securing a new master agreement protecting more than 18,000 workers at Costco nationwide. Ballots were counted at 5 p.m. ET before an independent observer in Portland, Ore., and the agreement was overwhelmingly ratified by a vote of 72 percent with record-high voter turnout from the membership.
“Don’t let anyone tell you the days of achieving national master agreements are over. Unions can protect American workers on a national scale – the Teamsters just proved it at Costco,” said Teamsters General President Sean M. O’Brien. “The Teamsters Union pulled off something that anti-labor activists would have you believe is impossible. Our massive network of local unions and army of organizers makes us the most powerful union in the world and the most equipped to protect as many workers as possible.
“This is an earth-shaking win for Costco workers and the American labor movement. Corporations like Sysco, UPS, and Amazon remain on notice.”
The national agreement provides members with significant wage improvements over the next three years and a substantial increase in pension contributions by the employer. The contract will also provide members with higher semi-annual bonuses and a more flexible attendance policy, among other workplace improvements.
In May, the Teamsters Costco National Negotiating Committee unanimously recommended a “no” vote against the company’s initial contract offer. On June 21, Costco Teamsters rejected the offer by an overwhelming vote of 93 percent, paving the way for today’s national contract victory.
“This deal wouldn’t have been possible without the participation of members across the country. Workers were united from the start, letting the company know we deserved more and that we weren’t afraid to fight to get it,” said Henry Chavez, a shop steward at Local 986 in Los Angeles, who participated in negotiations. “This is truly a historic day for Costco Teamsters. We are now part of a national master agreement that will protect workers for years to come.”
Throughout negotiations, rank-and-file members like Chavez played an instrumental role in the bargaining process, attending talks and providing feedback for the national negotiating committee.
“This national agreement wouldn’t have been possible without the engagement and activism of our members. Their refusal to accept anything less than what they deserved was the key to our success,” said Tom Erickson, Director of the Teamsters Warehouse Division. “When workers pushed back on Costco’s first offer, it gave the bargaining committee the power and leverage necessary to make enormous gains at the table while simultaneously solidifying the national agreement.”
“Our members at Costco stood up for their rights and won big,” said Mike Bergen, Local 166 Secretary-Treasurer and Chair of the Teamsters Costco National Negotiating Committee. “They weren’t afraid to strike if necessary, and the company knew they weren’t bluffing. Today’s victory was for the workers, by the workers.”