Toys R Us Employees Protest For Severance Pay

Jun 1, 2018

In Totowa, NJ, US Senator Cory Booker says the finance firms that owned Toys R Us are putting profits over people.
Credit Ang Santos / WBGO

Toys R Us employees are getting ready to move on from their jobs, all stores are expected to close by June 30th. 33-year employee Cheryl Claude of South River, New Jersey has never worked anywhere else.

“I spent every holiday, leaving my kids home for the holidays, Thanksgiving, Christmas, birthdays, everything to be at work and give my one-hundred percent to get nothing is incredible.”

Other Toys R Us workers like Shkeanah Best are left with concerns.

“We’re not receiving anything. Just unemployment and I don’t want to go that route.  You don’t know how long it’s going to last.  Unemployment doesn’t pay anything.  It’s crazy how a big franchise is closing its doors and not offering us anything.”

Many have pointed to the success of online retailers like Amazon for failing brick and mortar stores.   New Jersey Congressman Bill Pascrell says that’s only part of the story for Toys R Us.

“Toys R Us was a proud New Jersey company.  Charles Lazarus built up from scratch into a worldwide brand.  In just a few years, three vulture companies swooped in and turned the company to dust,” Pascrell said.  “Three private equity executives, and their companies, and their consultants walked away with $500 million.  Half a billion dollars right into their pockets as a reward for destroying a great American company.”

Pascrell and New Jersey’s two US Senators are calling on the firms that own Toys R Us to offer severance pay to the companies 30,000 plus workers across the country.  US Senator Cory Booker says they’re putting profits over people.

“The system is rigged when it puts short sighted corporate interest over long term community interest. The system is rigged when good honest work sees only punishment and cynical financial gamesmanship sees all of the reward.”