Sealy Factory Workers Urge KKR to Save Oregon Plant

The employees of North Portland mattress factory Sealy (in which KKR is the largest shareholder) are working with The Oregon Working Family Party in an attempt to save their jobs.

As part of an effort to encourage KKR to save the plant, The Oregon Working Family Party is urging the Oregon Investment Council (which oversees Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund pension investments) to divest from KKR if it won’t save the plant.

Oregon has committed over $7 billion to 18 KKR vehicles since it started investing in private equity in 1981.

Sealy, which was started by cotton gin builder Daniel Haynes in the late 19th century, was taken public by KKR two years after its acquisition from Bain Capital for $1.5 billion in 2004.

The Oregon Working Family Party brought together a working group to present testimony to the Oregon Investment Council (OIC) committee meeting at the end of January. The OIC has not yet made a decision on their next steps. Although, according to an article in The Oregonian, the council has stated it will take the matter into consideration but it is unlikely to take any additional action.

Oregon treasurer Ted Wheeler, who is a voting member of the Oregon Investment Council, on December 31 wrote to KKR to push for Sealy executives to meet with state economic officials to keep the plant open.

The Oregon Working Family Party has stated it is now working with the national staff of some of its partner unions to broaden this effort to other states where KKR is involved in managing state investment funds.

Image of Oregon coast courtesy of Shutterstock