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Worker Institute Blog

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The Worker Institute brings together researchers, educators and students with practitioners in labor, business and policymaking to address issues related to confronting systemic inequality and building a fair economy, robust democracy and just society. We will share opinion, analysis, research, data, insights and training from our faculty and staff.

Recordings: Workers Challenging Private Equity to Create Good Jobs

Speaker from the Private Equity Stakeholder Project

Private equity-owned companies employ millions of workers in the U.S, and the number continues to grow as private equity firms are acquiring additional companies at a record level. The largest number of workers employed by private equity-owned companies are in low-wage industries: food service, retail, healthcare, security, and call centers.

The Private Equity Stakeholder Project and the Cornell ILR Worker Institute held an online forum on Thursday, October 21 from 1-2:30 p.m. ET. 

The largest number of workers employed by private equity-owned companies are in industries where employers often pay low wages: at least 1.5 million workers in food service, 1.1 million workers in retail, and almost 1 million in security and healthcare.

Focused on growing cash flows at the companies they buy, takeovers by private equity ownership of companies can lead to devastating consequences for workers, their families, and entire communities. Private equity takeovers often result in significant job losses and decreases in average worker wages at the companies they buy. For example, private equity-owned retail companies have laid off hundreds of thousands of workers due to store closures and bankruptcies.

The panel:

  • Anthony Sanchez, UE member, worker at a Refresco plant in New Jersey (PAI Partners) 
  • Phil Contee, UFCW member, worker at a Safeway store in Maryland (Cerberus Capital) 
  • Lindsay Ruck, Cheesecake Factory worker in Arizona (Roark Capital)
  • Zella Roberts, former worker at Sonic Drive-In in North Carolina (Roark Capital) 
  • Ed Gadomsky, 1199 NUHHCE, former worker at Waterbury Hospital in Connecticut (Leonard Green and Partners) 
  • Michelle Hilt, IUE-CWA member, former worker at Hufcor plant in Wisconsin (OpenGate Capital)
  • Isabella Burrows, PetSmart worker in Michigan and United for Respect member (BC Partners)
  • Moderator: Rosemary Batt, Alice Hanson Cook Professor of Women and Work at the ILR School, Cornell University.

Watch clips and the full recording of the forum below.

Welcome and Introduction by Alisha V., Campaign/Research Coordinator at Private Equity Stakeholder Project and Rosemary Batt is the Alice Hanson Cook Professor of Women and Work at the ILR School, Cornell University

Statement by Phil Contee, UFCW member, worker at a Safeway store in Maryland (Cerberus Capital)

Statement by Anthony Sanchez, UE member, worker at a Refresco plant in New Jersey (PAI Partners)

Statement by Michelle Hilt, IUE-CWA member, former worker at Hufcor plant in Wisconsin (OpenGate Capital)

Statement by Ed Gadomsky, 1199 NUHHCE, former worker at Waterbury Hospital in Connecticut (Leonard Green and Partners)

Statement by Lindsay Ruck, Cheesecake Factory worker in Arizona (Roark Capital)

Statement by Isabella Burrows, PetSmart worker in Michigan and United for Respect member (BC Partners)

Statement by Zella Roberts, former worker at Sonic Drive-In in North Carolina (Roark Capital)

Presentation by Jordan Ash, Campaign/Research Director at Private Equity Stakeholder Project and Chris Noble, Esq., Research/Campaign Coordinator, Private Equity Stakeholder Project

Q & A: Workers Challenging Private Equity to Create Good Jobs

Watch the full forum: 

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