Why did Toys R Us shut down?
Competition from Amazon and corporate mismanagement were only two of the factors leading to Toys R Us’ decline. Toys R Us was and continues to be a Wall Street-made disaster. Toys R Us filed for bankruptcy in September 2017 because of the unsustainable $5-billion debt that Wall Street private equity companies loaded on Toys R Us when they bought it in 2005. And what pushed Toys R Us over the edge was a small group of five Wall Street hedge funds (Solus Alternative Asset Management, Angelo Gordon & Co., Franklin Templeton, Highland Capital and Oaktree Capital) that bought up Toys R Us debt while the company was struggling and effectively became the “owners” of Toys R Us during bankruptcy. These hedge funds, led by Solus, forced Toys R Us into liquidation, closing 800 stores and laying off 33,000 working people, all in the name of turning a profit on their “investments”.
What is the Toys R Us Financial Assistance Fund?
After months of organizing by Toys R Us employees across the country, KKR and Bain Capital, two former owners of Toys R Us, contributed $20 million and established a new fund to make sure Toys R Us employees who lost their livelihood receive the support they were promised and deserve. A third owner, a NYC-based real estate developer Vornado Realty Trust, as well as Solus, Angelo Gordon, and other hedge funds that drove Toys R Us into the ground, have refused to take responsibility and contribute to the fund. This fund is the first time private equity companies have paid out compensation to laid off employees in companies they owned. We made history.
How did the Toys R Us Financial Assistance Fund come about?
The fund is the result of months of hard work and organizing by former Toys R Us employees across the country who have come together to speak out and share our stories and changed the public’s understanding of how Wall Street greed destroyed Toys R Us. We spoke to dozens of pension funds across the country that invest money in KKR, Bain, Solus and others about these companies’ role in Toys R Us’ demise. We protested in our stores and on Wall Street to make our voices heard, and met with and gotten the support of elected leaders, including Senator Bernie Sanders, Senator Cory Booker, Senator Elizabeth Warren, and 19 members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, who publicly called on Toys R Us’ Wall Street owners and lenders to take their responsibility for the financial ruins of tens of thousands of families.
Who is in charge of the fund?
The Fund is administered by independent third party Administrators, Kenneth Feinberg and Camille Biros, the nation’s leading experts in designing and administering unique compensation programs such as the 9/11 Fund, BP Oil Spill Fund, GM Ignition Switch Compensation Fund, OneFund Boston, and the OneOrlando Fund. They serve as Independent Administrators of the Fund, responsible for the independent management and distribution of all proceeds. Rise Up Retail does not administer the fund.
I worked at Toys R Us during the bankruptcy/liquidation. How do I find out if I’m eligible?
To be eligible for the Fund, you must a) have been employed for a minimum of one year on or after September 18, 2017, b) have been terminated after September 18 because of corporate shutdown/downsizing, and c) have earned no more than $110,000 or no less than $5,000 in annual income. If you received severance or termination pay, you are ineligible for the fund; seasonal employees are also ineligible. All eligible employees should have received a Fund Packet from the Administrators, and must return an Allocation Form with supporting documents. For more information on eligibility and payment, including Fund Administrators’ contact info, please go to the Fund’s website at www.TRUFinancialAssistanceFund.com.
I believe I am eligible to participate in the Fund but I never received my packet. What should I do?
All questions about eligibility and payment should be directed to the Fund Administrators. Please email the Fund Administrators or call 855-220-3366 and provide the following information:
Name and Address
Your TRU Employee Identification Number
The last 4 digits of your Social Security Number
Any proof of employment after September 18, 2017 such as pay stubs or similar document
If you already contacted the Fund and were denied without a reason, please email the Fund again immediately with the above information. The Fund has now committed to offer more support to help resolve individual issues for those eligible within the Fund guidelines.
What can I do to help?
Join us! Hundreds of thousands of people work in retailers controlled by Wall Street. Sears and Kmart employees’ livelihood is on the line while its Wall Street owners that drove the company into bankruptcy fatten their own pockets. We are continuing our fight to make sure Solus, Angelo Gordon, Vornado and others pay into the Toys R Us Financial Assistance Fund, and we will continue to share our stories in the media, meet with elected officials, and advocate for policy change so that Wall Street stop profiting from bankrupting retailers and destroying our jobs. Join us today and be a part of this movement.