Monday, July 13, 2009

Stella D'Oro Workers Win Battle Against Private Equity Pirates

Employees at Stella D'Oro biscuit company returned to work after striking for 11 months. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) determined that the private equity firm that owned the factory, Brenwood Partners, refused to bargain in good faith. The workers, members of Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers Union, were forced on strike after Brenwood Partners tried to force them to take "a 20% pay cut, elimination of sick days and overtime, reductions in vacations and holidays and an increase in employee health care contributions." The firm stated that wages and benefits made the company unprofitable, yet failed to provide evidence of their claim. They are now threatening to close the factory. Private equity firms like Brenwood are known for making 30% returns on investment, in large part by reducing workers' wages and benefits. Employees had labored at Stella D'Oro for 10-15 years or more for the formerly family-owned operation.

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