Protesters Greet Carlyle Founder at Conference

Members of the SEIU want the co-founder of the private-equity firm to put pressure on executives at Manor Care.
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BALTIMORE -- David Rubenstein, co-founder of the private-equity firm Carlyle Group, was met by a band of protesters as he prepared to speak at a conference in Baltimore Monday.

The protesters were angry about Rubenstein's pay and voiced complaints about the quality of the nursing homes that Washington, D.C.-based Carlyle owns.

Eyewitnesses said Rubenstein was arriving at the Sheraton Inner Harbor Hotel, where he was scheduled to address a meeting of the Society of American Business Editors and Writers, when the protesters entered the building. The protesters were removed without incident.

The group appeared to be members of the Service Employees International Union or their allies. The union has been trying for some time to organize 60,000 workers at Manor Care, an Ohio-based operator of nursing homes, rehabilitation centers and assisted-living facilities, that Carlyle bought in 2007.

As Carlyle was trying to close the deal, the SEIU complained about the takeover in 30 states, Rubenstein said. His firm ultimately purchased Manor Care for more than $6 billion.

Rubenstein remarked that the union showed up at SABEW to embarrass him, and that members often protest at locations where Carlyle executives are speaking. Indeed, in recent months, they've been at a speech Rubenstein gave at the University of Pennsylvania and at another of his appearances in midtown Manhattan.

Rubenstein said SEIU members want him to contact the leadership of Manor Care and tell executives to meet the union's demands. Carlyle, he said, decided to continue to let Manor Care's management deal with the situation, even after the acquisition had closed.

This article was written by a staff member of TheStreet.com.