The report details multiple instances of employees being selectively targeted or sent home for “otherwise-ignored dress code” and “anti-harassment policies” if they show support for BLM.
These incidents include six Louisville, Kentucky employees and five employees at Costco warehouses in Delaware, Chicago, and New Jersey. In some cases workers were threatened with suspensions, while their coworkers were “allowed to wear masks with pro-police messages.” When some employees asked to be presented with the dress code policies for clarity, they were denied.
In response to backlash from employees who spoke out about the treatment, CEO Craig Jelinek went to Louisville on Thursday to discuss the issue with workers. Per BuzzFeed, Jelinek denied workers the ability to wear Black Lives Matter attire in the workplace because “he would also have to allow other slogans such as ‘All Lives Matter.’”
“As a citizen of the United States of America, I have a right to refuse to dedicate my time, my labor, and my talents to a company that believes I am essential enough to risk my life, but not essential enough to stand against my death,” Louisville Costco cashier Niko Bracy wrote in a resignation letter to Jelinek.
A petition started by one New Jersey employee, Andy Wagnac, is demanding that Costco stop silencing its workers and support the BLM message.
“Corporations such as Amazon, Ben & Jerry’s, Netflix, just to name a few have publicly shown their support by donating to the cause or at the very least stating that ‘Black Lives Matter’. Unfortunately, Costco Wholesale has not been one of them,” the petition reads. “Costco, who proudly states the importance of treating their members with respect and their employees like family, has made no mention of their support for their Black ‘family members’ who are all suffering and grieving during these times.”
Costco began requiring its workers to wear masks in April in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.