31 May 2013 (14:51 UTC-07 Tango)/21 Rajab 1434/10 Khordad 1391/22 Ding-Si (4th month) 4711
“Bellingham will not win with the opening WinCo…..It is an unfortunate ‘race to the bottom’ for jobs, wages and benefits in Bellingham.”-Jack Weiss, an obviously ignorant Bellingham city council member
I’ve been shocked to learn of a growing anti-WinCo movement in Bellingham, Washington. It involves unions and some city council members.
They claim WinCo will crash local wages, and hurt other businesses. On the first count, WinCo actually pays well, damn good in fact. And the benefits are considered some of the best in the whole U.S. of A.
My ex-wife worked for WinCo for at least a decade, she admitted to me many times that it was the best damn job she ever had (considering she never finished high school, at one point she was making more money than me). She loved the medical benefits! She also loved the employee ownership of WinCo stocks.
My eldest daughter is working for WinCo, nine years now, and she’s extremely happy with her income and benefits, especially since she sees what’s going on with the rest of the grocery industry. She was started several dollars an hour above minimum wage (a WinCo policy. WinCo’s pay policy is also adjusted according to region) and gets periodic raises. She’s now making more money than her mother did while she was working for WinCo. She also loves the medical/retirement benefits and the employee ownership of the company through stocks. That’s the real threat to unions, they don’t own the company.
As far as hurting other businesses, I know another Idaho based grocery store, Albertsons, went down, but not because of WinCo, but partly because of their unions! The unions forced Albertsons to charge outrageous prices for food. (There are cases of mom and pop stores going under because of competition from bigger stores, but not any case that could be specifically pinned on WinCo.)
Employee owned businesses threaten both the traditional ‘publicly’ held evil elitist corporations and unions (I think some unions have become a type of evil elitist club).
Employee owned businesses usually have tougher employee work policies, which are voted on by your fellow co-workers so it’s hard to challenge (WinCo employees don’t dare be late to work, and if you’re sick for more than one day better get a doctors note). Isn’t that similar to a union, except, once again, the union doesn’t own the company. Also, no outrageous union dues, in fact WinCo employees get back more in their medical/retirement/stock benefits than what the average union member gets from their union!
A weakness is that it is possible for the employee owned business to be tricked into becoming a publicly held company, which would open the door to Romney style vulture capitalists.
In Pocatello, the new WinCo 117 recently opened up across the street from the ‘new’ Fred Meyer, yet I don’t see any sign that Fred Meyer is being adversely affected by the new expanded WinCo. Fred Meyer is still just as busy (my other daughter works for Fred Meyer and loves it, employee pay/benefits similar to WinCo but it’s not employee owned), as is the evil Chubbuck Walmart. I have noticed a lot of out of county and out of state license plates on the vehicles parked in the WinCo 117 parking lot, so it seems the WinCo is actually bringing new customers into the area.
The manager of the Bellingham, Washington, Fred Meyer was asked about any concerns over the idea of a WinCo being built. His response: “It’s just an additional competitor in town. I’m sure there will be some customers who are price sensitive and will go to WinCo for certain items. But we have the one-stop shopping concept, where WinCo is just the basic food store.”-Bill Pelan, Lakeway Fred Meyer store director
(if Bellingham has a publicly held Fred Meyer, then there’s no excuse for Bellingham not to have an employee owned WinCo!)
Construction/remodeling started on the new Bellingham WinCo on 09 May 2013. It should be ready to go before the end of the year.
WinCo is proof that employee owners know how to run a company better than unions or corporate elites!