Target: Costco CEO Craig Jelinek
Goal: Congratulate Costco for beating out low-wage competitors
Since its formation in 1983, Costco has served as an excellent counterpart to the greed and miserliness of chains like Walmart and Sam’s Club; while the latter minimize wages, dehumanize their employees, and exploit their consumers, Costco has always been built upon a foundation of respectfully treating its consumers and employees as well as its shareholders. Costco’s policy of offering workers healthcare, a living wage, and the ability to unionize has increased profits by minimizing employee turnover and theft while maximizing employee loyalty and motivation. Recently the company has posted soaring profits of nearly $500 million while Target, Walmart, and Sam’s Club have slumped.
Industrial legend Henry Ford’s revolutionary concept of “welfare capitalism”—that a better-paid workforce would engender lower employee turnover and greater efficiency—seems to have been largely forgotten in the past few decades by corporate behemoths that downsized worker pay, benefits, and job security to maximize profit. But in recent years worker- and consumer-friendly businesses like Costco have given the lie to the idea that profits can only be maintained by squeezing as much as possible out of workers and treating them like serfs.
Costco employees earn an average of more than $45,000 per year, compared to $22,000 at Walmart and less than $18,000 at Target and Sam’s Club. Moreover, even the majority of Costco employees who are nonunion have healthcare and other benefits far outreaching that of their Walmart and Sam’s Club counterparts. While Coscto is not quite a worker’s utopia, its friendly relations with its own workforce serves as a powerful refutation of the “race to the bottom” model that Walmart epitomizes. Craig Jelinek’s company has done the retail industry a service by proving that high company profits are far from incompatible with a well-compensated workforce and a satisfied community of consumers. Please sign the petition below to congratule Jelinek and applaud his worker-friendly business practices.
Dear Craig Jelinek,
Since the foundation of your company three decades ago, Costco has served as an excellent counterpoint to low-wage competition like Target and Walmart. Your employees enjoy much higher wages, more benefits, and better job protection (and are thus better employees). This is important not only for Costco’s workers, but for the larger economy, as your company’s success demonstrates the validity of “welfare capitalism,” or a capitalism based upon treating workers like human beings and consumers like valued patrons.
I applaud your worker-friendly business practices and I congratulate you on your success at the expense of your less savory competitors. Thank you for setting an example for the rest of the market.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Stephen Downes via Flickr