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Is Costco Unionized?

is costco unionized

Are you thinking about applying for a job at Costco

This major retailer has a reputation for offering excellent pay that exceeds industry standards. When working for a new company, you need to be sure that you will be treated fairly and with respect. Being unionized gives employees more bargaining power within a company. As a result, many employees opt for membership in the unions within their industry. 

So, let’s find out, ‘is Costco unionized?’

Unionization At Costco

In the United States, full legal recognition of labor unions was granted in 1935 with the National Labor Relations Act. This Act was signed by Franklin D. Roosevelt to grant employees more bargaining power. Unions are basically organizations of employees that help to improve working conditions and benefits

Costco is a union-friendly company that works with and supports the rights of unionized employees living in several states. All of these unionized employees are represented by the Teamsters organization. Costco became union-friendly in the 1990s when the original Costco company merged with the union-staffed Price Club. 

Access to unions

Whether or not you have access to a union depends on the division of the company you work for. The company started as Price Club, which was founded by Sol and Robert Price in 1976. This father-and-son team were responsible for introducing the retail warehouse club concept in the United States.

The Costco brand name was established by Jim Sinegal and Jeffrey Brotman. In 1993, Brotman and Sinegal agreed to a merger with Price Club. Price Club employees were already unionized, and the original stores retained their unionized workforce. 

The Benefits for Unionized Employees 

The Teamster organization ensures fair treatment of unionized employees through negotiated labor contracts. The organization has worked hard to make sure that its members receive higher-than-average wages. Members also enjoy job security and first-rate benefits.

The Benefits for Unionized Employees 

Job security

Job security means that employees can’t be fired without good reason. This gives employees an extra feeling of security and the ability to plan for the future. Without this, employers can fire employees without giving any notice at all. If an employee is part of a union, employers have to go through an established process. 

Enforced breaks

Many employees who work in retail find it difficult to take their established breaks. Managers may be reluctant to let employees take breaks during busy periods. However, breaks are part of the union contract, and employees can report missing them to receive reparations. 

Pension plans

Another major benefit of joining a union is access to pension plans. Costco pays more than $1 into the pension plans of employees for every hour they work. These pension plans are legally guaranteed and have to be paid at the specified time. 

Union representation

Employees who join the Teamsters have access to union representatives who look out for their best interests. These representatives are available to negotiate contracts for new employees and explain their benefits. They also help to add new benefits to contracts when members vote on the desired terms. 

The hourly rate

The Teamsters have negotiated on behalf of all employees to raise the hourly rate. While the federal minimum wage is $7.25, it is $16 at Costco. The average hourly wage at the company is $24, and even non-unionized employees benefit from this. 

Different Areas

Whether or not you will be able to join a union depends on the part of the United States you live in. The situation can vary widely in different parts of North America. It ultimately depends on whether the current Costco locations were formerly operated by Price Club.

Different Areas


This is one of the main states where employees are part of a union. However, not all warehouses throughout the state are unionized. Of the 133 Costco warehouses in California, only 27 are unionized. Therefore, if you live in the state of California, it is a good idea to check which warehouses are unionized.

Other unionized states

There are only 16 other unionized warehouses in the United States. These can be found in the states of New York, New Jersey, Virginia, and Maryland. This means that the vast majority of employees in the United States are not part of a union. 


Although Costco warehouses can be found throughout Canada, there are no original Price Club Stores. This means that none of the Canadian employees who work in warehouses are part of a union. However, Canadian employees typically have access to enhanced benefits. 

About The Teamsters 

The Teamsters organization was founded in 1903 and is mainly known for representing truck drivers and warehouse employees. However, the union’s members come from a wide range of different industries and backgrounds. There are currently 1.4 million members throughout the United States. This includes members of 358 affiliate chapters.

The name of the organization comes from the original conveyors of merchandise in the United States. These were men who drove horse-drawn wagons, commonly known as teamsters.

About The Teamsters


Although there are lots of membership benefits, it should be noted that it comes at a price. You will be charged a flat rate of $200 when you join the union. In addition, you will be charged two-and-a-half times your hourly salary each month, i.e., Costco employees who make $16 an hour are charged $4o a month to maintain their membership.

More Working Info For Costco

Before you apply, you might want to find out more about the Costco Employee Discount, as well as How Old Do You Have To Be To Work At Costco, depending on your age.

Next, take a look at our comprehensive guide to the Costco Application and the most commonly asked Costco Interview Questions. But, if you have a criminal record, then check out Does Costco Hire Felons before moving forward.

Alternatively, why not check out our guides to the Ikea Application and most common Ikea Interview Questions, along with the Walmart Application and common Walmart Interview Questions, or the Walgreens Application and Walgreens Interview Questions in 2023?

Final Thoughts

Around 17,000 Costco employees are unionized in the United States. The employees who are part of a union are represented by the Teamsters organization. This gives those employees access to a range of additional benefits and more power within their roles.

While not all employees have access to a union, they still receive an excellent range of benefits. The conditions at Costco stores and warehouses are known for being better than average. This is largely due to the efforts made by the Teamsters on behalf of unionized employees.

All the best working at Costco!

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