It might be news to some that one of our country’s favorite wholesale retailers is also an employee favorite, but it should not surprise anyone. For years, Costco has succeeded with a model that recognizes that employees are a valuable asset to their business. Whether it is paying workers a competitive wage, providing health benefits, or recognizing that employees have constructive insight into the frontline management of the company, Costco has been a true private sector leader in showing that there are many ways to empower workers.
Part of my job is to partner with the business community and tell stories like Costco’s – stories of companies that are helping solve some of our nation’s biggest challenges. And we have worked hard to bring innovative companies to the White House to share their experiences with us. For instance, in the past few months, corporate leaders have showcased how they are tackling climate change by lowering their emissions and investing in sustainable business practices, expanding opportunities for women and people of color in Silicon Valley, and strengthening our nation’s commercial and cultural ties to the continent of Africa. At each of these convenings, business leaders stepped up to serve as role models and showed the immense value to our nation of private sector leadership. I could not be more proud to share their stories with the American people.
Growing middle class wages and continuing our economic recovery are two intertwined challenges that also require an all-hands-on-deck approach and a willingness to try new solutions. I highlighted Costco because they have worked successfully to tackle these challenges. They are a great example of how in an economy as diverse and dynamic as ours, there are many ways to empower workers and value their contributions. But, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. That’s why President Obama announced that he will host a White House Summit on Worker Voice on October 7th to bring together workers, employers, and organizers from across the country to join the conversation about how we can ensure a strong and vibrant middle class. Critically, need forward-thinking employers at the table. We want to lift up the examples of the best practices of businesses that have been demonstrated to be good for workers, companies, and shareholders.
We want you to share your stories of innovative approaches here at the White House on October 7th. We know that American business leaders – from Fortune 500 companies to the small businesses that drive our economic engine and sustain the American dream – can teach all of us about creative and effective ways to engage workers to make your companies – and our economy – stronger. That’s why we are accepting nominations for people across the country to attend the Summit in Washington, D.C. on October 7th.
Nominate business leaders who engage their employees in how to make the business run better and then followed that advice. Nominate leaders who sought feedback from their workers on which benefits matter the most to them and then found a way to meet those needs. Nominate someone who has rejected the old “us v. them” approach to labor-management relations and instead took the high road in letting workers choose for themselves whether to be represented by a union. Or nominate a leader who has demonstrated they understand that our economy will thrive when we all succeed – employers and employees alike. If you like telling stories of great American businesses, this is your chance to tell a good story and join this important conversation. Submit your nomination HERE.
There are limited spaces for attending the Summit at the White House, but there will be many other opportunities for joining the conversation. We’ll continue to provide updates on the blog about how you can join in.