Working with Unions

Maintaining Positive Relationships with Unions

KPS is proud to maintain constructive working relationships with the major manufacturing, industrial and service unions in North America and Europe.  KPS seeks to be a constructive investor and believes that the Firm’s experience in structuring transactions that align the interests of all key stakeholders is a competitive advantage. 

KPS’ investment strategy demonstrates the power that results from labor and capital working together constructively.

We believe unions work with KPS because KPS recognizes their standing as an important stakeholder and respects the collective bargaining process.

Central to KPS’ approach is the creation of participatory, communicative and empowered corporate cultures that encourage direct employee engagement in making businesses better, safer and more rewarding.

KPS believes that its approach stands in sharp contrast to what it views as the confrontational approach often relied upon by other competing investors.  KPS seeks to hold itself, and its portfolio companies, to the highest standards of ethical and principled conduct.

“KPS, a private equity firm, has a proven track record of investing in manufacturing facilities and operating them profitably and sustainably…Steelworkers, our families and communities cannot afford to allow these good, union jobs to continue to disappear.  KPS brings experience and a long-term business plan geared toward keeping our plant viable and employment secure.”

- Tom Conway, International President Unitedsteel Workers

“Our union is committed to working with KPS to ensure that the proud tradition of engine-making is preserved for future generations of USW members here in Milwaukee. As long as workers remain united in solidarity, there are no limits to what we can accomplish.”

- Michael Bolton, Director Unitedsteel Workers District 12

“KPS has taken a positive and professional approach to the contract negotiations that were required to complete this change of ownership. They have shown a great deal of respect for the role that UAW members play in creating a quality product, and that’s a very good sign for the future of the business.”

- George Andros, Director of United Auto Workers Region 1D

“It’s been a productive relationship. It was quite a successful deal in this one case, where many people had written it off as hopeless.”

- Frank Larkin, Spokesman for the International Association of Machinists

“They believe in building up companies instead of ripping them apart. That said, they are not a nonprofit. … But if they look for concessions they try to give equity in exchange for them. They try to do things in collaboration with their work force.”

- Damon Silvers, Associate General Counsel for the AFL-CIO

“As a trade union we have a natural antipathy towards private equity, which usually has totally divergent interests to those of workers. But KPS has produced a deal that does save jobs and gives some comfort to those who have been forced to take redundancy. It could have been a lot worse.”

- Unite Union (UK) Press Release Regarding WWRD Transaction

“As a result of the acquisition of Blue Ridge Paper by Packaging Holdings Incorporated the USW employee-owners, our Union and KPS Capital was a driving force in creating a new and successful company out of assets many industry experts said should close. I congratulate all of those involved on their accomplishment. Through our members’ sacrifices, investment in their futures, hard work, dedication and focus, we have again proven the experts were wrong. The Company’s employee-owners and our USW members are receiving nearly $30 million of cash in their Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) accounts, a new and improved collective bargaining agreement, and a bright future with Packaging Holdings Incorporated. This is another example of the successful collaboration between Steelworkers and KPS over the past two decades.”

- Leo Gerard, International President of the United Steelworkers

“We have had a long term relationship with KPS, and have successfully worked with the company on numerous acquisitions that have resulted in the creation of thriving businesses. We appreciate KPS’s constructive approach to doing business.”

- Jon Geenen, Vice President of United Steelworkers

“Our work with KPS over the last several months speaks volumes about the many benefits of using an approach where labor and management work together to create high value deals where workers win, enterprise wins, and the community wins. This is the model to restore economic vibrancy to our economy.”

- Michael Bolton, Director of United Steelworkers District 2

“They are willing to share information with unions, so they are seen as a partner we can work with. Just about every other hedge fund or private equity fund doesn’t even want to have a union agreement.“

- Thomas Buffenbarger, President of the International Association of Machinists

“[KPS is] unique among private equity funds. KPS worked with us, and bent over backwards to help us create a structure that will truly benefit the worker.”

- Robert E. Smith, PACE Region Four Vice President
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  • KPS was prominently referenced in “The Responsible Investor Handbook: Mobilizing Workers’ Capital for a Sustainable World”, which addresses the importance of responsible investment and its impact on capital markets and the real economy.  Authored by Tom Croft and Annie Malhotra.
  • KPS was prominently referenced in “The Soul of Capitalism. Opening Paths to a Moral Economy”, which deals with ideas for making American capitalism more responsible and responsive to the public, and industry participants in the solution.  Authored by William Greider.

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The information set forth in the materials on this site is as of March 31, 2024 and does not purport to be a complete summary of KPS or its investments. No representation, warranty or undertaking, express or implied, is given as to the accuracy or completeness of the information or opinions contained in such materials. No reliance may be placed for any purpose on the information and opinions contained in such materials or their accuracy or completeness and nothing in such materials may be relied upon in making any investment decision. Certain information on or linked to from this site is furnished by or is derived from materials furnished by outside sources. KPS does not assume responsibility for independent verification of such information and has relied on such information being complete and accurate in all material respects. Any information presented by outside sources represents the understandings and opinions of such outside sources, which may differ from those of KPS. Any statements and quotes from third-parties are not selected on the basis of any performance-based data. Any performance information included in any document on or linked to from this site is presented for illustrative purposes only and is not indicative of the future returns of any of the funds managed by KPS and there can be no assurance that such funds will achieve comparable results, be able to avoid losses or be able to implement their investment strategies.

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