Current and former PetSmart employees are demanding accountability from private equity firm BC Partners, which is the principal owner/investor of the company.
Today, PetSmart employees sent a petition signed by over 500 workers demanding BC Partners provide adequate PPE and hazard pay to those required to work, and severance pay to those laid off. In the petition, first reported in The Wall Street Journal, employees are also demanding healthcare benefits extend to those the private equity firm has laid off or furloughed so that they stay protected during the coronavirus pandemic.
BC Partners has kept PetSmart stores across the country open amid the global pandemic. Employees say the stores lack basic safety precautions, like adequate masks and gloves, they are being overworked and stores are understaffed as hours are being drastically reduced, and thousands are navigating the unemployment process due to the mass furloughs and layoffs spearheaded by BC Partners.
"After 3 dedicated years at the company, I was laid off in the middle of this global pandemic," said Natalie S., a former PetSmart employee. "I was left without a paycheck, without health insurance, and then without severance pay. BC Partners made their cuts and left employees like me with zero while their billion-dollar pocketbooks are thriving. BC Partners needs to give all laid-off employees severance pay! It’s the least they can do after all the years we helped the company profit and it would help us get by in these trying times."
In the petition sent to BC Partners, PetSmart employees are calling on the private equity firm to publicly commit to:
Hazard pay, PPE, and healthcare to all employees;
Healthcare and severance policy to all laid-off employees and at least 60-day notice ahead of future layoffs;
A seat at the board of directors to ensure workers’ perspectives are taken into consideration to ensure our employees and company succeed in the long run.
"I want to go to work and know BC Partners is doing everything to keep me, my family, and our customers safe," said Alex Ludwig, PetSmart employee of 3 years. "Since we are risking our lives to keep our stores open, we need PPE, hazard pay, and quality healthcare so that we can keep ourselves and our families as safe and healthy as possible during this pandemic. With coronavirus cases on the rise again, we don’t need lip service, we need action."