SHOPKO EMPLOYEES TO PROTEST IN STORES ACROSS MIDWEST
AHEAD OF CLOSURE OF REMAINING STORES
DEMANDS IT PAY SEVERANCE & TAXES OWED TO WISCONSIN
NATIONWIDE — Today, as Shopko prepares to shutter all remaining stores on June 23, Senator Tammy Baldwin sent a letter to Sun Capital Partners on behalf of nearly 3,000 Wisconsin Shopko employees, calling on the Shopko owners to pay severance for all of the employees who will or have already lost their jobs because of the company’s liquidation. Shopko employees taking action with United for Respect will hold protests on Sunday in store locations across Illinois, Nebraska, Utah and Wisconsin, demanding that private equity firm Sun Capital Partners take responsibility for destroying the 58-year Midwestern retailer.
“Sun Capital took our jobs and our health care and plundered our company. They need to take responsibility for their greedy actions,” said Kristi Van Beckum, a Shopko employee of 14 years from Wisconsin. “After more than a dozen years of service to Shopko, I have nothing to show for it. Every single Shopko employee deserves severance.”
“Wisconsin businesses are being shut down and nearly 3,000 Shopko workers are losing their jobs because of Sun Capital’s mismanagement and predatory playbook,” said U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI). “This out-of-state, predatory private equity firm has no respect for the dignity of hard work and I won’t stand by while promises are broken to these workers. I am calling for Sun Capital to establish a fund to pay severance for all ShopKo workers affected by this liquidation. We need to do right by them and reward their hard work.”
WHO: Shopko employees taking action with United for Respect
WHAT: Store action
WHEN: Sunday, June 23
WHERE: Shopko store locations across Wisconsin, Utah, Nebraska, Missouri and Illinois
In 2005, Sun Capital bought Shopko in a $1.1B leveraged buyout. Sun Capital then loaded the retailer with debt, sold its real estate holdings out from under it and made its own stores rent it back, extracting hundreds of millions of dollars instead of re-investing it in its workforce or modernizing the company. Shopko collapsed under the pressure, stranding its thousands of employees. Shopko employees’ drive for severance pay builds on the efforts of the movement of Toys ‘R’ Us workers who fought for and won a historic $20 million hardship fund from KKR and Bain Capital The last few years have seen a wave of private equity-driven retail bankruptcies in addition, including Payless ShoeSource, Gymboree and Charlotte Russe. Tens of thousands of jobs have been lost, and working families across the country have lost their livelihoods, healthcare, and, in many cases, due severance.