For Release: February 27. 2015
Contact: Judy Kent at (703) 759-7476 or [email protected]
Free Market Group Working to Protect Employment Freedoms to Respond to Costco Chairman's Allegations at CPAC 2015
National Center for Public Policy Research's Employee Conscience Protection Project Highlights Costco as an Outlier in Failing to Protect Workers from Potential Political Discrimination
Costco Chairman's Email to Us is Wrong: There's No Evidence Costco Protects Its Workers from Retribution if Workers Hold Personal Views Their Supervisors Don't Like
National Center Effort to Ask Corporate America to Enact Voluntary "Conscience Protection Policies" to Protect Workers Comes as a Result of Mozilla CEO Losing His Job Over His Personal Views Over the Definition of Marriage
Multiple Major U.S. Corporations Have Said "Yes" to National Center Request and Have Adopted Conscience Protections, But Not Costco
Free Enterprise Project Director to Attend CPAC and Discuss Issue with Top Conservative Voices and Politicos
Washington, D.C. - Having ruffled the feathers of the leadership of America's second largest retailer, Justin Danhof, Esq., director of the National Center for Public Policy Research's Free Enterprise Project, will attend the 2015 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) Friday to respond publicly to false claims made by Costco Chairman Jeffrey Brotman to the National Center and the One American News Network regarding the National Center's Employee Conscience Protection Project.
Brotman's claims came in an email response after repeated pressure from the National Center asking Costco to implement policies to protect its 100,000 employees from potential discipline for their private political and civic actions and personal beliefs.
The National Center's request came following breaking news in April, when the CEO of Mozilla was forced from his job because he contributed $1,000 to a 2008 referendum defining marriage under California law. Colleagues at Mozilla held a different view and he lost his job.
Upon investigation, the National Center discovered that some corporations, such as Coca-Cola, had pledged to employees that they would not be fired or be treated adversely at work because of personal, off-the-job legal political or civic activities, but most corporations had no such protections. Employees could be fired, demoted, or denied promotions or raises because their supervisor disagreed with their politics or their views on policy issues, even if the issues in question had nothing to do with work.
The National Center began approaching CEOs of the latter companies to suggest they give their employees this protection and submitted shareholder proposals on the subject to nearly two dozen corporations.
Most of the corporations the National Center approached were very willing to give their employees this protection, and made formal changes to give their workforce freedom of conscience protections. These firms included, but are not limited to, General Electric, PepsiCo and Visa. But Costco not only refused to protect its workforce, but also fought back before the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), winning the support of that Obama Administration agency and blocking the shareholder proposal, which sought only a non-binding recommendation from shareholders to management, from even being placed before Costco shareholders.
"Costco is an outlier from our experience," said Danhof. "Most corporations we approached understood the inherent value in a workforce that is free to engage the political arena as the workers see fit without the fear of on-the-job reprisal and many have amended their policies to reflect this belief. Costco has claimed that top management will protect its entire workforce from such potential discrimination, but its policies do not bear this out, and, so far, the company's management has spent considerable time and resources fighting any such policy change."
After Danhof appeared on One America News Network's Rick Amato Show February 17 to highlight Costco's unwillingness to amend its corporate policies and Amato called on viewers to let Costco know their views, Costco Chairman Jeffrey Brotman emailed Danhof and Amato in an effort to refute the story.
In his email to the National Center and One America News, Brotman claimed Costco already protects its workers from retaliation if they hold private political or civic views differing from those of their supervisors, and does so in the manner the National Center seeks. This is incorrect, Danhof says, or at the very least, Costco has repeatedly failed to provide evidence that it is correct, and that Costco has satisfied the National Center's reasonable request.
Danhof explained the particulars in the National Center's blog in a post, "Why We Don't Believe Costco Chairman Jeffrey Brotman," published to coincide with CPAC and available at http://www.conservativeblog.org/amyridenour/2015/2/26/why-we-dont-believe-costco-chairman-jeffrey-brotman.html.
The National Center's Free Enterprise Project is the nation's preeminent free-market corporate activist group. In 2014, Free Enterprise Project representatives participated in 52 shareholder meetings advancing free-market ideals. National Center representatives have attended three shareholder meetings so far this year.
The National Center for Public Policy Research, founded in 1982, is a non-partisan, free-market, independent conservative think-tank. Contributions are tax-deductible and greatly appreciated. Individuals can sign up to receive free issue updates from the National Center at http://www.nationalcenter.org/action/subscribe.html.