Investors in the U.S. and Abroad Consider Passage of the Act an “Economic Imperative”

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 the Employee 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.

For more information, contact:          

Steven Heim Boston Common Asset Management, LLC, Office: 617-720-5557, Mobile: 617-785-9527

Geoff Wisner  Domini Social Investments LLC, Direct: 212-217-1063, Main: 212-217-1100

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 and 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, Chief Executive Officer
  • Meritas Mutual Funds, Gary A. Hawton, Chief Executive Officer
  • Merseyside Pension Fund, Peter Wallach, Head of 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 & Director of Social Research
  • Pensions Investment Research Consultants Ltd., Alan MacDougall, Managing Director
  • Pensionskassernes Administration (PKA) A/S, Peter Damgaard Jensen, Chief Executive Officer
  • Progressive Asset Management, Richard W. Torgerson, President & 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, Chief Executive Officer
  • 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
Published On: May 11, 2009Categories: From the Commons