Toys R Us workers in NJ still fighting for severance pay
WOODBRIDGE — Toys R Us employees will go down with a silent fight as the chain closes its doors forever.
The 30,000 full-and-part time employees who will be out of a job on Friday were not offered a severance package by KKR, Bain Capital and Vornado Realty Trust, the companies that took over the chain and filed for bankruptcy.
The store on Route 1 in Woodbridge closed for good on Thursday after a liquidator bought all the remaining inventory right after the store opened, according to Cathy Koperwhatz, an employee for 34 years.
"Literally by 10:05 a.m. we were closed," she said. "I never thought this day would actually come. It's a very sad day. We had such such dedicated people that have actually stayed there for a very long time, a handful of us for over 30 years."
She and her fellow workers, whom she compared to family that worked together on holidays and weekends, were told at the beginning of the bankruptcy process they were going to get a severance package.
"No severance, nothing for being there for a certain amount of time," Koperwhatz said, adding that they're "fighting for it" and legal action is being contemplated with help from the group Rise Up Retail.
During the chain's final days, workers across the country posted signs inside stores as part of a "silent protesters for severance," including the location in Woodbridge. Workers also sent video and photos asking for severance.
Toys R Us had 40 Toys R Us and Babies R Us locations in New Jersey when it declared bankruptcy.
A rally by employees at the beginning of June organized by the group Rise Up Retail that brought out both of New Jersey's U.S. senators did not succeed in getting a package.
"Our CEOs walked away with millions with their salaries and we got nothing. As far as we're concerned, we ran the business for them. There's managers and assistant managers and then you have little ones in between but the people on the floor kept the business going and helped the guests."