Costco CEO to state liquor employees: Apply with us

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by ROBERT MAK / KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on November 10, 2011 at 5:51 PM

Updated Thursday, Nov 10 at 7:01 PM

Costco CEO Jim Sinegal tells KING 5 News, any state liquor employees who want to apply at Costco will get an interview.

“We’re going to go to the state, and we’re going to make a special process available to all of those employees, so they are given an opportunity and an avenue for applying for jobs, and given an opportunity for an interview for a job,” Sinegal said.

Costco spent roughly $20 million to promote Initiative 1183, which state voters approved this week by a 20-point margin. The initiative will get the state out of the liquor business and will close state liquor stores by June 2012.

In his first interview since the vote, Sinegal says he wants to to do something “meaningful” to help some of the 800 employees who may be out of a job.

“Whether or not they’re hired, is depending upon whether they meet the standards and qualifications that we think are necessary for our business, but we’re going to try and ease that path for all of those employees,” Sinegal told us.

Sinegal did not have a specific number of jobs he thought could be absorbed by Costco. “There are jobs in our distribution centers, there are jobs in our Costco warehouses, there are jobs in our home office that are available, so depending on their qualifications they could apply for any of those jobs,” he said.

In a wide-ranging interview on this weekend’s KING 5 News Up Front, Sinegal says he was gratified by the wide margin of Tuesday’s vote. He says Costco has no intentions of pushing the issue in other states.

He expects liquor sales will account for about 2% of revenue in Washington State stores. Sinegal says it will take more than 10 years to make back how much Costco spent on the initiative, but he felt strongly against what he viewed as artificial price-setting by the government. “We’re advocates for the consumer, we think consumers expect that Costco is going to stand up for them. Now I know a lot of people are going to view that with a heavy dose of skepticism, but that really was our motivating factor in the beginning,” Sinegal said.

As for his offer to interview state employees for Costco jobs, “I think that’s pretty much the Costco way,” Sinegal told us. “I think people would expect us to do something like that, that’s the right thing to do, it’s pretty easy and we’re going to try and make it meaningful.”

See the interview this weekend on KING 5 News Up Front with Robert Mak, Sunday morning at 9:30.

This post originally appeared on Robert Mak's Tumblr blog. To read more of his blog posts, click here.

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