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Organizing against private equity: PESP’s panel at LaborNotes 2024

May 23, 2024

Last month, PESP’s labor team traveled to Chicago to present to a packed room at the 2024 LaborNotes conference. Led by Senior Research Coordinator Azani Creeks and Campaign Coordinator Valentina Dabos, PESP’s panel centered on tactics for labor advocacy at private equity-owned companies. Panelists from WGA-East, OPEIU, and UE joined the presentation to share their experiences as organizers at private-equity owned companies. 

During the panel, the organizers shared how the private equity owners of their companies took great pains to resist workers’ efforts to unionize, how the relentless drive for profits resulted in worsened working conditions, and the tactics that worked best as their unions fought for a fair contract. For Leah Derr of OPEIU Local 40, mobilizing community support was key to ensuring workers in her service unit were given adequate PPE during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Caitlin Cruz of WGA-East noted that when she and fellow journalists were fighting for a third contract, public campaigns were particularly useful. Taking their story to business media outlets and directly calling out the private equity executives involved in negotiations helped WGA-East win their fight.

After the initial presentation, panelists answered questions from the audience, covering topics from the policy solutions to take on private equity, to methods for researching private equity targets. 

For more resources to help organizers in their campaigns against private equity, check out the resources below. 

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