Costco employees are outing their employer for speaking out against them wearing masks that say “Black Lives Matter” while working. According to Buzzfeed News, managers told employees that they couldn’t wear masks with the statement because it represents a “political ideology” and doesn’t allow them to remain “neutral while on the clock.” Employees are claiming that the company dress code policy was ignored and not really enforced until they began wearing those masks.
Louisville, Kentucky employee Nikolas Bracy was outraged by the policy being enforced and was very displeased when they found out six of their coworkers were sent home for wearing “Black Lives Matter” masks. He decided to leave his job and posted his resignation letter on social media calling out the Costco CEO Craig Jelinek.
My support for the rights of my fellow employees does not stem from a desire to promote any “political agenda”. As I do not believe that the phrase “Black Lives Matter” is an inherently political phrase. To me, it is simply a statement of equality, and a rallying cry for not only the African American community, but any community that is willing to recognize the sheer destruction that systemically racist institutions have wrought upon myself and my community for generations.
Employees in Delaware, New Jersey and Chicago were also sent home, threatened with suspension and other consequences, Buzzfeed reported.
Bracy’s letter led to Jelinek flying to the Louisville story and meeting with employees. During their three-hour meeting, he said if he allowed employees to wear garbs that say “Black Lives Matter” he would have to allow those to wear “All Lives Matter” apparel as well.
“He just sincerely doesn’t get it,” an anonymous employee told Buzzfeed . “We sat down with the face of the company today, and left defeated.”
Another employee, Andy Wagnac, also posted a petition on Change.org titled “Stop Costco From Silencing Black Lives Matter!”
“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,” they wrote. “Unfortunately, Costco Wholesale has not been one of them. 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 Black Lives Matter.”
The petition has over 1,500 signatures.