Former Toys ‘R’ Us Workers Will Receive $20 Million via a Hardship Fund
The private equity firms Bain Capital and KKR announced on Tuesday morning that they are putting together a $20 million fund for Toys ‘R’ Us workers who lost their jobs without severance after the company disbanded in June, the Associated Press reported.
The two firms, which committed $10 million each to the fund last month, along with Vornado Realty Trust, helped push Toys ‘R’ Us into debt.
Some of the 30,000 Toys ‘R’ Us workers who lost their jobs after the chain liquidated over the summer organized earlier this year to demand fair compensation and changes to hedge fund laws. Workers also protested outside the New York City offices of KKR, Bain and Vornado Realty Trust, and were backed by Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren.
In a letter to companies who helped push Toys R Us toward bankruptcy, Warren asked investors Solus Alternative Asset Management, Angelo Gordon & Co., Franklin Mutual Advisors, Highland Capital, and Oaktree Capital why they chose to ignore a buyout for workers.
When the store announced plans to relaunch its brand last month, people who lost their jobs fired back at the company.
“We’re not forgetting that it was vulture funds like Solus and Angelo Gordon that decided to rob 33,000 people of our jobs and liquidate our beloved stores,” Michelle Perez, a former Toys ‘R’ Us employee and organizer in Rise Up Retail said in a statement obtained by Fortune at the time. “This is just another attempt to make a quick profit off the backs of hardworking people who made the company what it was. They should be ashamed of themselves.”
The TRU Financial Assistance Fund will aim to help the more than 30,000 workers who lost their jobs. Both Bain Capital and KKR are seeking additional contributions from Vornado Realty Trust, with workers demanding an additional $55 million.
“This is an amazing first step, but the goal is to keep the pressure on,” Ann Marie Reinhart, who worked at Toys ‘R’ Us for 29 years, told the Associated Press.