North Jersey Toys R Us workers ‘takeover’ store for severance pay
UNION TOWNSHIP (Union) — Toys R Us workers about to lose their jobs as the iconic chain shuts down plan to "takeover" a North Jersey store to protest the company's lack of a severance package.
The event, set for the Toys R Us on Morris Avenue in Union Township to protest the lack of a severance package for employees, was planned by the Center for Popular Democracy as part of its Rise Up Retail campaign.
"We are calling for severance pay and accountability for the Wall Street owners who destroyed the company. We are taking a stand against Wall Street greed and calling out KKR and Bain Capital for destroying jobs and generations of family memories," the group wrote on its Facebook page.
A representative for Rise Up Retail has not yet returned a message from New Jersey 101.5 about the event. In a response to a question via Facebook about what would be happening at the event the group wrote, "sit in."
Toys R Us declared backruptcy in March, and said all 800 stores in the United States including 40 Toys R Us and Babies R Us locations in New Jersey will close.
The company told its employees in a letter they are not offering severance packages to any of its 30,000 employees because of its "financial condition," according to Sen. Robert Menendez in a statement
Menendez, Sen. Cory Booker and Bill Pascrell spoke at a rally on Friday at the Totowa store, and lay blame for the situation at the feet of the private equity companies Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Bain Capital, and the real estate firm Vornado Realty Trust.
“When more than 30,000 workers lose their jobs while those at the top walk away with millions, something is seriously wrong." Menendez said. "But these firms still have time to right these wrongs, to do the decent thing, and give these hardworking people and their families a fighting chance at landing on their feet."
The Washington Post reported that Toys R Us executives paid themselves millions in bonuses before the chain declared bankruptcy in March and announced the closure of all its stores.
"These private equity companies’ dismissal of the Toys ‘R’ Us workers is a sin. They need to take the nearly half a billion dollars they sucked from the company and pay each of their 33,000 workers — including 1,500 in New Jersey — a severance for their loyal service, today,” said Rep. Pascrell.
The three representatives wrote a letter to Bain, KKR and Vornado pointing out that many employees who worked for the company for years are losing their jobs with nothing to show for it.
"There is a chance to do right by the company’s workers. We urge you to fully examine and adopt any and all measures to support the more than 30,000 Toys ‘R’ Us employees who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own and now have to navigate the hard transition. We can all agree that they deserve nothing less than the fullest support possible," their letter read.