Costco: Employees Key To Success

When grocery store workers picketed in California earlier this year, Costco Wholesale Corp. avoided the fray, quietly renegotiating a separate contract with its union employees there.

The three-year deal, which was ratified by more than 90 percent of the workers, included higher wages for employees and increased the company’s contribution to their pension plans.

Only about 13 percent of Costco’s 103,000 workers are unionized, but the relative labor peace is symbolic of the company’s relations with employees.

The Issaquah-based company pays among the highest salaries in the retail industry. A new employee working at one of Costco’s warehouses starts with an hourly wage of at least $10. After four years with the company, a cashier can earn around $44,000, including bonuses.

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