New York, NY – Today, an international coalition of major institutional investors, managing $372 billion across the global economy, sent a letter to Senate and House leaders endorsing the Employee Free Choice Act (S. 560 and H.R. 1409).
The investor endorsement brings a new business voice to the debate over U.S. labor law reform, breaking sharply with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers and other corporate trade associations lobbying against the bill.
"As investors, we believe constructive labor relations are essential for improving productivity, efficiency and workplace safety," said Steven Heim, Senior Vice President and Director of Social Research and Advocacy for Boston Common Asset Management, LLC. "We believe the proposed legislation would help appropriately rebalance labor-management relations and better protect workers if they face unlawful conduct by employers when exercising their workplace rights."
In their letter, the investors underscored the economic considerations in their endorsement of the legislation, noting that "the decline in unionization in the United States, exacerbated by a variety of anti-union responses from companies and weaker U.S. labor law, has damaged the fragile relationship between management and employees and depressed the prospects for sustained economic recovery."
"The Employee Free Choice Act is an investment in our shared economic future," said Adam Kanzer, Managing Director and General Counsel at Domini Social Investments LLC. "The Act will help to stabilize our economy, both in the United States and abroad, by establishing a more balanced relationship between labor and management. Today, American workers are producing more and receiving less. This is an unsustainable trend that creates material risks for employees, investors and the global economy. By more effectively protecting workers' fundamental human rights, the Act would help to reverse these damaging trends."
Says Michael O'Sullivan, President of the Australian Council of Superannuation Investors in Melbourne,"The freedom to form a union is enshrined in the U.N. Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We want to be sure that the companies we invest in respect that right and look forward to the passage of theEmployee Free Choice Act to align U.S. law more closely with international norms."
The endorsers, from the U.S., Canada, Australia, and several countries across Europe, are signatories to the UN-backed Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) and believe that environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues have a significant impact on long-term financial returns.
– xxx –
List of Signatories
AFL-CIO Employees Staff Retirement Fund, Daniel F. Pedrotty, Director, AFL-CIO Office of Investment
As You Sow Foundation, Conrad MacKerron, Director, Corporate Social Responsibility Program
Australian Council of Superannuation Investors, Michael O'Sullivan, President
Boston Common Asset Management, LLC, Steven Heim, Senior Vice President, Director of Social Research and Advocacy
Calvert Asset Management Company, Inc., Bennett Freeman, Senior Vice President, Sustainability Research and Policy
Capital Innovations, LLC, Michael D. Underhill, Chief Investment Officer
CCLA Investment Management Ltd., Michael Quicke, Chief Executive
Domini Social Investments LLC, Adam Kanzer, Managing Director & General Counsel
Hamilton Lane, Stephen R. Brennan, Principal
JMR Financial, John Richardson, President
Kommunal Landspensjonskasse (KLP) A/S, Jeanett Bergan, Head of Responsible Investments
LUCRF Super, Greg Sword, CEO
Meritas Mutual Funds, Gary A. Hawton, Chief Executive Officer
Merseyside Pension Fund, Peter Wallach, Head of Merseyside Pension Fund
Middletown Works VEBA, Jay Youngdahl, Co-Chair, Board of Trustees
Miller/Howard Investments, Luan Steinhilber, Director of Social Research
Natural Investments, LLC, Michael Kramer, Managing Partner and Director of Social Research
Pensions Investment Research Consultants Ltd., Alan MacDougall, Managing Director
Pensionskassernes Administration (PKA) A/S, Peter Damgaard Jensen, CEO
Progressive Asset Management, Richard W. Torgerson, President and Director of Research
SEIU Employees and Affiliates Pension Plans, Stephen Abrecht, Executive Director
Shareholder Association for Research and Education, Peter Chapman, Executive Director
Storebrand Investments, Hans Aasnæs, CEO
The Co-operative Asset Management, Ian Jones, Head of Responsible Investment
The Sustainability Group at Loring, Wolcott, & Coolidge, Amy Domini, Private Trustee
Trillium Asset Management Corporation, Shelley Alpern, Vice President