Teamsters, China Labor Watch Protest KKR at Dow Jones Private Equity Conference

Jan 26, 2010, 09:00 ET from International Brotherhood of Teamsters from ,China Labor Watch

Call for KKR to Cease Workers' Rights Violations in China and U.S.

NEW YORK, Jan. 26 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Representatives from China Labor Watch and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters held a joint protest outside of the Dow Jones Private Equity Conference in New York to raise awareness of KKR's disregard for workers and communities in their portfolio companies.

Participants from China Labor Watch and the Teamsters Union distributed information to attendees of the conference detailing the squalid conditions of Chinese workers at KKR's Dollar General sourcing factories in China, along with serious labor law violations at KKR's U.S. Foodservice in Arizona.

A new China Labor Watch report exposes how workers at Dollar General sourcing factories in China suffer from excessive working hours, wretched smells, discriminatory hiring, and squalid company housing where up to 12 workers sleep in each room.

"KKR's Dollar General has the worst labor performance in China of all major U.S. retailers," said China Labor Watch Executive Director Li Qiang. "KKR's lack of action on these horrendous violations in China and in the United States is unacceptable. We are excited to be here with our friends at the Teamsters Union to demand that KKR take responsibility."

KKR's companies have also violated U.S. labor law. The National Labor Relations Board in Phoenix, Arizona, charged KKR and CD&R's U.S. Foodservice with nearly 200 federal labor law violations. In May 2009, U.S. Foodservice agreed to a settlement that reinstated 14 workers who were illegally fired and paid more than $163,000 to 22 workers who were discriminated against and denied work. Despite this settlement, the company has continued its unlawful behavior and faces charges by the Teamsters Union for continued threats from management, disparate treatment and termination of worker activists.

"KKR's disregard for human rights has led to deplorable conditions for workers abroad, and serious violations of labor law here in the United States." said John Williams, Teamsters Warehouse Division    Director. "This kind of negligence is not the way to rebuild a healthy global economy.  KKR must take responsibility for its actions."

The International Brotherhood of Teamsters was founded in 1903 and represents 1.4 million hardworking men and women in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. New York based China Labor Watch was founded in 2000 and is an independent not-for-profit whose mission is the defense of workers' rights in China.

SOURCE International Brotherhood of Teamsters; China Labor Watch