Costco CEO: ‘Racism and Injustice’ Caused ‘Violence,’ ‘Demonstrations,’ ‘Unrest’

A Costco Wholesale warehouse location in Woodbridge, Virginia, January 5, 2016. AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB SAUL LOEB / AFP
SAUL LOEB / AFP

Costco CEO Craig Jelinek claimed that the “violence,” “demonstrations,” and “unrest” following the death of George Floyd are due to “racism and injustice,” joining other multinational corporations in releasing public relations messages about the ongoing left-wing protests and riots.

Costco published Jelinek’s comments in two separate statements, the first to Costco’s members and the second to the company’s employees. Jelinek specifically mentioned Floyd’s death in the first statement.

Dear Costco members,

Along with the rest of the country, we were shocked by the tragic and senseless death of George Floyd. While Costco cannot alter this terrible event, or others like it, we believe all individuals and organizations can use this moment as a catalyst for change. We must re-examine how we deal with issues of racism and injustice everywhere in our society.

Please find below a letter I shared with Costco employees earlier this week. I’m sharing this message with you to let you know that racism, discrimination and harassment are not tolerated at Costco. We remain steadfast in our commitment to fairness and equity for our employees, members and communities.

Thank you,

Craig Jelinek
President and CEO
Costco Wholesale

In his statement to employees, Jelinek advised employees not to lose focus on “racism and injustice”:

To: All employees

From: Craig Jelinek

I’m writing, as others have, to acknowledge the terrible events that are occurring in a great many of our communities. Violence and demonstrations, and graphic images of a senseless killing, have combined with the effects of the pandemic to further threaten our collective sense of well-being. Although there are many voices competing to be heard, they shouldn’t distract us from a long-standing issue at the core of the unrest: racism and injustice.

I wish I had inspirational words or a grand proposal that could restore peace or make things better for our country and our world. For now, I can only do my part by focusing attention on Costco and our employees. Please know this: There can be no tolerance of racism, discrimination or harassment at Costco.

Especially under the current circumstances, I want to remind Costco employees of our ongoing commitment to the values that are vital to our culture. We remain committed to taking care of our employees, building a diverse workforce, maintaining work environments that are free from discrimination and harassment, and treating each other in a fair, honest, respectful and inclusive way.

As I’ve said before in many contexts, we’re not perfect. We’re proud of our efforts and our progress, but we can always do better. One of the key ways we can continue to improve as a company and as individuals is to listen to each other’s perspectives with respect, patience and humility. Now as much as ever, we all have an important role in taking care of each other and preserving our culture and our values.

I am grateful for all of you.

As of this article publication, Costco is valued at $300 billion.

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