Why are former Toys R Us workers planning to protest CalSTRS’ investments of private equity?

Originally published by SacBee.com on July 18, 2018

Toys R Us may no longer be the place where kids refuse to grow up, but its former California employees are refusing to walk away without compensation.

On Thursday, former employees of the defunct toy retailer plan to speak at a CalSTRS board meeting in West Sacramento to present their case and “call on the pension fund to halt new investments in KKR and Bain Capital until there has been a thorough review of their investment in Toys R Us,” according to a news release.

Supporting the workers are Rise Up Retail, the Center for Popular Democracy and the Organization United for Respect.

“Three Wall Street giants – Bain, KKR, and Vornado – took ownership of the retailer in 2005 and saddled it with debt, accelerating its spiral into bankruptcy,” the press release said. “Laid-off workers have been calling on pension boards across the country to stop new investments in the private equity firms.”

The group says that shortly after a pension board in Minnesota responded to an investment freeze request from the state’s governor, KKR, which is described as an investment firm based in New York, announced it was willing to speak with the group.

Following the board meeting, the groups plan to protest at noon Friday at a building located at 555 California St. in San Francisco that is co-owned by Vornado, which the group says is one of the investment firms behind the demise of Toys R Us.

At the rally, “the Toys R Us workers, who were laid off without severance pay, will demand that Vornado pay its share of the compensation they are owed,” the release said. “Vornado has stayed silent amid mounting pressure on the company to contribute funds to Toys R Us families, many of whom are facing hardship.”

Toys R Us closed its last stores at the end of June, leaving many former shoppers upset over the loss of the retailer. After filing for bankruptcy last year, the company shuttered more than 700 stores in the U.S. and more than 30,000 employees lost their jobs.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect that Rise Up Retail, the Center for Popular Democracy and the Organization United for Respect do not represent former Toys R Us employees.

An updated version of this story can be read here.

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About Daniel Wilson

I am a student at California State University Sacramento (Sac State) majoring in journalism, pursuing a Bachelor's degree with a minor in communications. Please visit both www.saccitygamer.com and www.dwilsononline.com for more information.
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One Response to Why are former Toys R Us workers planning to protest CalSTRS’ investments of private equity?

  1. Pingback: Former Toys R Us workers seeking hardship fund from the company’s owners | Daniel Wilson

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