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Teamsters who work at Costco in New York, New Jersey and Maryland have overwhelmingly ratified an agreement under which, for the first time, they will be covered by the Western Conference of Teamsters’ pension plan. The 4,000 Teamsters join the 12,000 Costco Teamsters in California as members of the plan, which is said to be the largest Taft-Hartley defined-benefit pension plan in the nation.
After the members rejected a previous company offer in March, Issaquah, Wash.-based Costco and the Teamsters met to correct the areas that caused the rejection — the attainment of the pension plan in the East being the major area of concern. Costco agreed to allow the members in the East to decide by a separate vote as to whether they wanted to enter the pension plan. Based largely on this change, Teamsters overwhelmingly ratified the California agreement in May.
The Costco Teamsters in the East and West will continue to participate in the company 401(k) plan, in addition to the Western Conference defined-benefit plan.
"This is a significant benefit to be gained by our Costco members in the East, who can now join their fellow Costco members in California under the protection of a financially solid defined-benefit plan," said Rome Aloise, international VP and Costco negotiations chairman. "This has been a subject of bargaining for at least three contracts, and to Costco's credit, they heard their employees loud and clear and decided to allow them the choice between their current plan and the pension plan. Now the East Coast members will have the best of both worlds."
The parties will meet soon to work out the logistics of putting the pension plan into effect and working out any remaining issues for the new three-year agreement.