Private equity-owned companies directly employ more than 11.7 million of workers in the United States, plus millions more around the world, and the number continues to grow as private equity firms are acquiring additional companies at a record pace. Focused on growing cash flows at the companies they buy, private equity firms have often taken a low road approach and sought to reduce wages, benefits, and staffing at firms they acquire – with devastating consequences to workers, their families and entire communities.
The largest number of workers employed by private equity-owned companies are in low-wage industries – food service, retail, security, and health care – with large concentrations of workers of color.
The private equity industry should correct its course on how it treats American workers by instituting a set of standards to improve working conditions as the portfolio companies that they own, including:
- Paying a sustainable wage of at least $15 an hour
- Providing paid sick leave and affordable healthcare
- Providing safe working conditions
- Paying severance during layoffs
- Protecting workers’ rights to organize