Bill would prioritize workers amid bankruptcy

Top Stories

WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — Democrats and former workers from bankrupt retail giants like Toys R Us and Sears Us are calling out Wall Street.

At a press conference on Capitol Hill Thursday, laid off workers shared stories of unkept promises, saying that instead of helping, private equity firms drained the companies financially to make a quick buck and left them without jobs and benefits.

Among those workers was Jake Soha of Wisconsin, who said his company Shopko is Wall Street’s latest victim. He and thousands of others were laid off in March when a private equity firm took over.

“This is not the future I had imagined and worked so hard to build,” Soha said. “We were a family. We stayed loyal to the company but unfortunately didn’t receive the same loyalty back.”

“These workers deserve better,” Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wisc., said.

After watching what happened at Shopko, she’s pushing a plan to hold firms accountable. It would prioritize workers’ pay and pensions when a business goes under. She hopes it will prevent private equity firms from profiting from a company’s failure.

“This bold reform will help rewrite the rules of our economy and protect workers from predatory practices,” she said.

Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Sherrod Brown of Ohio are among the slate of Democrats who are rallying behind the bill.

“They don’t honor work, they don’t respect work, they don’t respect workers,” Brown said of the private equity firms.

But Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson, a Republican, said Democrats should let the free market do its job.

“If Shopko was financially successful, it would still be in business,” he said. “I don’t have a great deal of faith of the federal government being able to intervene in the marketplace without screwing things up, so my guess is I wouldn’t be supportive (of the bill).”

Even with widespread Democratic support, Johnson said the bill doesn’t stand a chance in the Republican-controlled Senate.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Don't Miss

More Don't Miss

Coronavirus News

More Coronavirus

Trending Stories

Your Local Election HQ

More Election

Local Sports

Gamblers head coach Pat Mikesch on Sports Xtra

High School Sports Xtra: Boys basketball primer

High School Sports Xtra: Valley stars reach 1,000 career points, Bay Area teams start strong

Green Bay women open with 69-61 win over Drake

Hallum's hat trick leads Gamblers past Chicago

Conference contenders dominate in girls basketball openers