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Costco penalizes workers for wearing Black Lives Matter masks

In some cases, workers were threatened with suspensions.

Black Lives Matter Getty Images

In April, retail corporation Costco enforced that their employees wear masks while working amid Coronavirus. In a new report, management has been said to penalize workers that wore apparel with pro-Black messages.

According to BuzzFeed News, there were instances of employees being “selectively targeted” or sent home for “ignoring dress code” and not abiding by “anti-harassment policies.” The cases included workers at locations in Delaware, Chicago and New Jersey.

In other cases, workers were threatened with suspensions while other employees were “allowed to wear masks with pro-police messages.” After catching wind of the backlash, Costco CEO Craig Jelinek discussed the issue, explaining that Black Lives Matter messages in the workplace would result in other slogans such as “All Lives Matter.”

“As a citizen of the United States of America, I have a right to refuse to dedicate my time, my labor, and my talents to a company that believes I am essential enough to risk my life, but not essential enough to stand against my death,” Niko Bracy, who previously worked at the Louisville Costco location, wrote in a resignation letter to Jelinek.

As a result, a petition started by New Jersey employee Andy Wagnac is calling for an end to the selective dress code. “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.’ Unfortunately, Costco Wholesale has not been one of them,” the petition reads. “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.”

Last month, Taco Bell revealed that they are in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, explaining that they allow their employees to wear masks of their choosing. “We believe the Black Lives Matter movement is a human rights issue and not a political one,” the company said in a statement.

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