Dear BC partners,
We are current and recently laid off workers of PetSmart and are writing to you as the principal owner/investor in our company.
Working for Petsmart is more than just a job for us. We deeply care about our customers and their needs but first and foremost, we care about the safety and well being of the animals in our stores and the pets that bring our customers joy and companionship during this crisis. Our communities are facing unprecedented challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic and as employees of Petsmart, we are no exception. The vast majority of us are working in stores that lack basic safety precautions, like adequate masks and gloves, and have drastically cut hours, while the rest of us are navigating the unemployment process due to the mass furloughs and layoffs in the midst of a global health crisis and recession.
We are calling on BC Partners to prioritize our health and safety and minimize the economic hardship on employees and our families.
We are very concerned about the conditions and the lack of worker safety in our stores. Many of us face a range of health issues, from living with pre-existing conditions like diabetes, asthma, and cancer, to those who are pregnant and new mothers and are at-risk categories for experiencing severe complications from, COVID-19.
Additionally, navigating layoffs and unemployment is difficult under any circumstances. But losing income, your job and health insurance while a highly contagious respiratory illness spreads across the country, and has claimed over 100,000 lives is an unimaginable burden that we should not bear alone.
Furthermore, at this moment, private equity firms and trade groups, including the American Investment Council, are lobbying Congress to allow billion-dollar private equity firms to acquire stimulus bailout money reserved for small businesses. While private equity companies argue that they deserve taxpayer-funded bailouts to tide them over during a pandemic, many employees of private equity-owned retail companies such Petsmart/Petco have lost almost everything and are being denied severance.
As essential employees of PetSmart, we are calling on BC Partners to show leadership and care during this crisis for those who make you profitable. Many say of the COVID-19 crisis, that “we’re all in this together,” but that’s only true if our health and safety and financial well-being is part of your plans. We’re calling on BC Partners to publicly commit to:
1. Provide hazard pay to all frontline employees with back pay to March 1, 2020.
2. Provide healthcare to all employees, including part timers, and cover premiums to all employees including furloughed until the end of the pandemic and those who are laid off for at least 90 days.
3. Establish a severance policy for all employees, including those recently laid off during the pandemic of at least one week of pay, per year of employment, two weeks minimum. Any layoffs should be done in order of reverse seniority and where possible, employees should get at least 60 days notice.
4. Prioritize our health and safety by providing sufficient PPE to all frontline employees; limiting the number of customers at the same time in the stores and restrict or limit the shipment and sale of live animals during the pandemic.
5. Frontline employees should have a seat at the board of directors to bring our perspective and experience into the board room and ensure our employees and company succeeds for the long-run.
We hope that BC Partners will show the same dedication and concern and for PetSmart employees, just like we show everyday for our customers and their pets. We are essential and are simply calling for basic fairness.