A strike that began late last month at a US Foods plant in Streator, Ill., has spread to other cities, causing disruptions and a headache for its private equity owners,
Two Teamsters-represented sanitation workers started the strike, complaining that the company was not bargaining in good faith. Drivers and warehouse employees at the plant soon joined them a day later, though they went back to work later that day, according to the Times. Since then, workers have begun picketing at US Foods in Buffalo and Indianapolis, the Times said.
In a statement, the Teamsters said that since KKR and Clayton Dubilier bought the company, it began “a systematic campaign of harassment and intimidation against both its union and nonunion workers,” according to the Times. The teamsters have created a Web site, www.usfoodsworkers.org, and a twitter handle, @usfoodsworkers, to promote the campaign.
“We believe the illegal conduct of US Foods in Streator is part of a broader war the company is waging against its workers,” the Teamsters said in the statement provided to the Times.
A spokesperson for US Foods told the Times that the company, like many others, has been struggling to perform in a tough economy and that it had “an obligation to make smart business decisions for our employees, customers and community.”
The firms bought the company in 2007 for $7 billion and have since greatly expanded it with several add-on acquisitions. The company, formerly known as US Foodservice, employs about 25,000.
Citi Invests In PE
Citigroup Inc. invested around $800 million of shareholders’ money in its private equity and hedge funds in the third quarter, despite pending regulations that will severely curb it and other banks ability to do so, according to a Nov. 7 Bloomberg report. At the same time, the bank unloaded $1.1 billion of separate private equity and hedge fund assets, the report said, citing a Nov. 4 filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
A Citigroup spokesperson said that the $800 million of purchases relates “to funding of previously committed investments in Citi’s private equity and hedge funds, which are more than offset by divestitures and liquidations.” The spokesperson added that Citi continues to make progress toward meeting the requirements of the Volcker rule aspect of the Dodd-Frank financial reform law.
Regulators Still Way Behind On Dodd-Frank
Speaking of the Volcker Rule, there were 37 rule-making deadlines in October under the Dodd-Frank financial reform law, bringing the total number to date up to 200, only about half of the 400 total required by the law, according to a Dodd-Frank progress report by the law firm Davis Polk.
By Nov. 1, only 23 percent of the sweeping law’s rules have been finalized, according to the report. Of the 400 total rules that are required, 145 have not been proposed and have future deadlines; 126 have been proposed but are behind deadline; 74 are finalized; 28 have missed a deadline and not yet been proposed; and 27 have been proposed and have a future deadline. Rules that have been proposed include the Volcker Rule, which largely forbids banks from investing with third-party private equity funds.