Gambling with Workers’ Rights
Endeavour invested in the Port Logistics Group in 2014. Port Logistics Group is the largest logistics group in the United States, distributing containers to warehouses throughout the U.S.
In 2017, Port Logistics Group reaches a settlement in a class action case involving multiple alleged violations of California wage and hour law, including late or unrecorded meal periods, rest break violations and unpaid overtime.
Port Logistics Group has been involved in the Retail Industry Leaders Association which has lobbied against local laws to increase the minimum wage.
Questionable Labor Relations Practices
Endeavour Capital invested in New Seasons in 2009. In 2017, the Oregonian reported Endeavour owned a roughly 60% stake in the company.
In 2017, when workers at New Seasons formed New Seasons Workers United to advocate for improved working conditions, the company hired Cruz & Associates, a consulting firm well-known for its work on behalf of the Trump Las Vegas hotel and other employers charged with illegally retaliating against workers.
The National Labor Relations Board issued three separate unfair labor practice complaints against the Trump Las Vegas, a Cruz & Associates client, for allegedly firing and threatening to fire union supporters, suspending employees, interrogating and intimidating employees.
Conway Freight also hired Cruz & Associates to block unionization of their employees. In that case, a judge with the NLRB found that a Cruz & Associates representative’s “actions indicated a willingness to resort to physical violence to protect his interests” and that given the context of the unionization campaign, “this conduct was reasonably construed as a threat.” The judge also found that the Cruz & Associates representative filed false criminal charges against a pro-union employee at the company.
In December 2017, New Seasons Workers United filed a complaint with B Lab, the organization that New Seasons often touts as having “certified” it as a B-Corporation. In the complaint, the workers argued that “New Seasons Market worked to undermine our fundamental rights, as employees, to come together and to engage in productive, solution-oriented dialogue with the company.” The complaint cited multiple examples of when leaders in the New Seasons Workers United campaign were later fired by the company.
At the time the complaint was filed, one New Seasons employee spoke out:
Leadership Buckles Under Pressure
On February 6, 2018, Endeavour Capital’s failure of leadership and poor execution of its’ New Seasons Market business strategy came into full display. Not only did it effectively halt expansion into Northern California, but it also ousted CEO, Wendy Collie.
New Seasons drastically cut back on growth plans in California to “redirect resources to support our core business,” and “fund improvements for existing stores.” In doing so, New Seasons will shutter the Sunnyvale store only six months after it opened. It abandoned its commitment to open a store in Carmel because “this location simply doesn’t fit our future strategic goals.” New Seasons deemed the Hayes Valley store in San Francisco “unfeasable [sic]” due to “construction delays and significant cost increases, as well as the operational complexity of this project.” The company rejected plans to open the Emeryville store on account of, “increased construction and operating costs in addition to lower and slower sales than expected in our NSM NorCal stores.”
After serving as New Seasons CEO for five years, Wendy Collie abruptly resigned in a so-called “flattening of the leadership structure.” Her co-president successors will be New Seasons Chief People Officer, Kristi McFarland, and CFO Forrest Hoffmaster.
Retail commentators did not praise this shakeup as an indicator of New Seasons’ strong leadership. Respected retail analyst Kevin Coupe deemed the new management structure a temporary and unsustainable form of management hierarchy, “as Endeavour seeks an exit ramp.” Further, Coupe argues that Endeavour must now increase “the value of the company” without a boost from aggressive store expansion, while “investing in digital initiatives, which only… hurts profitability.”