International Brotherhood of Teamsters local unions on the East Coast that represent 4,000 employees of Costco Wholesale Corp., Issaquah, Wash., have voted to join 12,000 West Coast employees in the $36 billion Western Conference of Teamsters Pension Trust, Seattle, said Rome Aloise, Teamsters international vice president and negotiations chairman.
The East Coast employees will be covered in the pension fund for the first time, and will retain their existing 401(k) plans with some changes in those provisions now that they're covered by a DB plan, Mr. Aloise said. He did not elaborate on the changes. The vote to join the pension fund was in tandem with another vote approving an overall tentative contract agreement with Costco. The 12,000 western employees had voted on an agreement in May.
“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 Mr. Aloise in a Teamsters news release. “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.”