I-1183 Passes in Washington & Costco Offers Job Interviews to Workers

November 15th, 2011 · 5 Comments

Thanks in part to Costco’s $22 million campaign donation, Initiative 1183 passed in the recent Washington state vote.  If you’re not familiar with 1183, this is the initiative that will privatise Washington’s state run liquor business.  Of course, there are some measures in place to keep just any little store from selling liquor; places like mini-marts will not start carrying whisky and Jack Daniels. When the changes take affect liquor sales will be limited to stores with at least 10,000 square feet in order to prevent gas stations and convenience stores from selling hard liquor.  However, in locations without large stores, the state Liquor Control Board can waive the 10,000-foot requirement.  What I can’t figue out though is how big an area between large stores is acceptable before the requirement will be waived.  The good thing about Initiative 1183 is that it will allow for far tougher penalties for selling alcohol to minors.  The new measures will begin June 1, 2012.

As a result of the change from state-run to private liquor stores, several state employees will lose their jobs.  By June 1, around 900 state employees that currently work at state-run liquor stores and the state liquor distribution warehouse will be laid off.  Since Costco clearly feels that they obviously had a hand in the upcoming lay-offs, they have extended an interview opportunity to all state liquor employees.  They are not guaranteeing anyone a job, or anything like that, but instead of just putting in an application that may or may not lead to an interview, these laid off workers are being offered interviews if they would like to work for Costco.

I think that is great of Costco to offer these workers the advantage of getting an interview, putting them that much further in the job application process.  It’s not a great time to be looking for a job, so any help in the process of finding one is a huge advantage.  Of course, the union that represents the majority of these workers, thinks it’s ‘insensitive’ of Costco.  Here’s the quote from the union guy:

“It seems a little insensitive to spend $22 million to kick someone out of their job and then offer them an interview,” said Tom Geiger, communication director for United Food and Commercial Workers Local 21.

Of course, maybe he’s forgetting that even though Costco threw a lot of money at this initiative, the voters in the state of Washington are the ones that made the call that state-run liquor stores needed to become a part of history.  I think more likely he doesn’t like the fact that Costco doesn’t have unions, for the most part (though there are some).  And really, Costco didn’t need to offer the displaced workers anything, so the offer of an interview goes above and beyond, in my opinion.  Not to mention, just because you take the interview, and even if you get a job offer, it doesn’t mean you have to take the job.  I do think that the soon-to-be laid off workers are lucky to have like six months to find replacement jobs; most people don’t get that.

Starting June 1, Costco’s 27 stores across Washington will begin selling liquor.  The new stock will included several Kirkland Signature offerings: vodka, ready-to-drink margarita mix, bourbon, tequila and scotch co-branded with Macallan.

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5 Responses so far ↓

  1. 1 James // 2012.04.21 at 9:59 am

    It is difficult to see employees lose their jobs. But they will make it. I would not want to keep state liquor stores open because employees will lose their jobs. It is good to see that private industry can participate in the business too. I don’t even shop at Costco, nor do I drink, but I still supported this initiative.

  2. 2 ArcticFireGuy // 2011.12.02 at 12:41 pm

    Corporate Greed ??? LOL… that’s funny stuff! What about the states greed trying to prevent a private industry from selling legal products? What if the state decided that they are the only ones who can sell beef, milk, toilet paper, shaving razors, coffee, aspirin…whatever? Why in the world is it ok for the state to monopolize any industry? For some reason unions think the are the only ones with “rights” to jobs….ridiculous. BTW here are some more interesting info on our State Government:
    Tax on sale of “Spirits”: 20.5%
    Tax on Gasoline & Diesel: 37.5%
    Tax on a carton of cigarettes: $30.25 Per Carton!!
    Perhaps we should have a state store selling all of these state taxed high markup items? .. `pfft!

  3. 3 wildwest_cowgirl // 2011.11.21 at 2:35 pm

    Costco’s attempt to polish their tarnished image is not working. I happen to know a soon to be unemployed state liquor store employee who interviewd recently with Costco. All they could offer him was a part-time seasonal job which would end after the holidays. I also happen to know people who will be cancelling their Costco membership because of Costco’s apparent display of corporate greed.

  4. 4 Joe // 2011.11.17 at 11:36 am

    Here is a link to Jim Sinegal’s interview.

    http://www.king5.com/news/up-front/Interview-with-Costco-133776143.html

  5. 5 Janice // 2011.11.15 at 11:04 pm

    Since this iniative passed in Washington state there has been a lot of speculation that a similar iniative will eventually be passed in Oregon as well as we also currently have state run liquor stores. It is very likely that many displaced workers in either state may be transferred to other agencies/departments within the state government. I have several state employees in my immediate family, and they feel it would be unusual for a displaced employee in this situation to actually be terminated due to their union and the states policies.

    Its my understanding that Costco has had a hiring freeze for a while since the economy has been bad, so I would be surprised if if there were many job offers despite Costco’s good intentions.

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