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Photo by Matthew Horwood/Getty Images

The fight to get severance for thousands of fired Toys "R" Us workers has moved on to a new phase: Attacking the creditors.

Talks continue with buyout firms Bain Capital and KKR, which owned Toys "R" Us prior to its bankruptcy. Expectations remain that they'll contribute substantially to what could ultimately be a $75 million pot, although what I had been told would be an August announcement is now being referred to as a September announcement.

  • The workers group also contacted the creditors who chose liquidation over keeping Toys open with a smaller footprint. So far it has spoken with B-4 lenders like Solus, Angelo Gordon and Oaktree, but hasn't gotten any commitments.
  • To further pressure the creditors, the workers group is lobbying its public pension limited partners. For example, Toys workers either testified or made their presence known at recent meetings of Texas Teachers, Oregon Investment Council and Ohio Teachers. There also has been communication with officials in New Jersey, the former home of Toys' headquarters and a state that invests in at least on of the B-4 lenders.

The bottom line: When a general partner basically ignores you, going to its limited partners is usually an effective method for getting their attention.

Go deeper

Movie theaters go out of style

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Vaccination rates are going up, people are going out to restaurants again — although the new COVID variant may get in the way — but they still aren't rushing back to the movies.

By the numbers: Some 49% of pre-pandemic moviegoers are no longer hitting theaters, according to a study from the film research company The Quorum, as reported by the New York Times.

3 hours ago - Health

Vaccine mandates lose steam in the U.S. while Europe doubles down

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

European countries are doubling down on pressure campaigns to get people vaccinated just as Republicans continue to wage war — often successfully — against vaccine mandates in the U.S.

Why it matters: The starkly different approaches create a sharp contrast between the regions' approaches to vaccination, even as the Omicron variant rapidly spreads around the world.

4 hours ago - World

Two years of COVID-19

Expand chart
Data: Our World in Data; Chart: Axios Visuals

Two years ago Wednesday, the first case of a mysterious new respiratory disease was discovered in Wuhan, China. Now, the Omicron variant has deepened concerns about just how much longer the coronavirus pandemic will last.

The big picture: More than 5 million people have died since that first case. Most people on earth have lived through some form of lockdown. 54% of the global population has had at least one vaccination, though the shots have been distributed unevenly.