By The Financial District
Activists Demand Private Equity Firms Treat Workers Decently
On May Day, labor advocates and workers wove through midtown Manhattan, stopping at the corporate headquarters of firms with names like KKR, Sycamore Partners, Apollo Global Management, BC Partners, and Roark Capital Group, the wealthiest firms on Wall Street belonging to the opaque financial sector known as private equity, Derek Seidman reported for Truthout.
Photo Insert: The platform was produced by two groups, the Private Equity Stakeholder Project, which does research and progressive advocacy work around the private equity industry, and United for Respect.
Private equity firms are the arm of Wall Street that oversees trillions in assets and specializes in buying out, restructuring and selling off privately owned businesses to turn a big profit.
They earn 2% from every transaction and 20% of the profits from the sale of assets through leveraged buyouts. The labor advocates demanded that these firms respect workers’ rights by honoring a new initiative called the Private Equity Labor Rights Platform (PELRP).
The platform lays out “a set of standards to improve working conditions” at private equity-owned companies that will ensure workers’ rights around everything from wages and scheduling to a greater voice on the job.
The platform was produced by two groups, the Private Equity Stakeholder Project, which does research and progressive advocacy work around the private equity industry, and United for Respect, a national nonprofit group focused on raising working standards in the retail industry.
Both groups have long-standing partnerships with a range of labor unions and worker organizations.
Among their demands: The scrapping of 12-hour shifts in such firms as Refresco, the world’s largest independent bottler, job security; increases in minimum pay, and; the provision of health care for workers.
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