Union Criticizes Private Equity

The Service Employees International Union, the nation’s largest labor group, has offered up a critique of the buyout business that suggests that firms should share profits made by portfolio companies with rank-and-file workers.

The SEIU, whose 1.8 million members work primarily in the health-care and building maintenance sectors, also calls on buyout firms to provide greater transparency for their intentions for portfolio companies, including what they plan to do with the workforce and how much debt they expect to take on. The SEIU issued the report, called “Behind the Buyouts: Inside the World of Private Equity,” on April 24.

The union criticizes the wealth disparity between the private equity professionals who profit from deals and the workers who carry out operational changes at portfolio companies. “There is more than enough wealth in the private equity industry for the buyout firms to continue to prosper while also adapting their business model to expand opportunities to benefit workers, communities and the nation,” the report states.

In follow-up interviews, the union has acknowledged that public pension funds are among the largest beneficiaries of buyout fund profits. Get a copy at seiu.org.—J.H.