AFT - American Federation of Teachers

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AFT Resolutions


WHEREAS, the AFT has been historically committed to the defense of human, civil and labor rights as well as the promotion of social justice both at home and abroad; and

WHEREAS, AFT members in higher education generally have the option of selecting TIAA-CREF as their retirement plan, and the decision, made within the first month of full-time employment, is irrevocable; and

WHEREAS, the AFT has continuously demonstrated its opposition to low-wage, non-unionized labor; and

WHEREAS, the AFT has consistently informed its members and the public at-large regarding the unfair labor practices of many corporations currently included in TIAA-CREF’s stock portfolio (e.g., Wal-Mart, Coca-Cola, Nike and others) and whose Third World suppliers routinely ignore workers’ rights to organize and collectively bargain; and

WHEREAS, a significant number of AFT’s members in higher education have their pensions invested in TIAA-CREF; and

WHEREAS, AFT members are also investors and pensioners with social commitments that come with financial involvements; and

WHEREAS, TIAA-CREF prides itself on being sensitive to the concerns that investors express about socially responsible investment policies and claims to endorse and engage in corporate accountability; and

WHEREAS, TIAA-CREF’s Social Choice Account, though a more responsible investment alternative because it excludes companies that derive their revenue from alcohol, tobacco, firearms, gambling, military weaponry and electric utilities that own interests in nuclear power plants, does not exclude corporations that insufficiently promote labor rights both at home and abroad; and

WHEREAS, these socially responsible retirement investment options include many financially successful funds:

RESOLVED, that the American Federation of Teachers recognize that its members who participate in TIAA-CREF should be offered the option of socially conscious investments that include options that screen for companies’ labor policies as well as other social criteria; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT, on behalf of its membership, encourage TIAA-CREF’s directors and trustees to substantially strengthen their corporate oversight of companies in which it invests; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT encourage TIAA-CREF’s new office of Social and Community investing to refine its Social Choice Account so that it contains an explicit, clearly monitored and widely publicized labor rights screen that rules out the inclusion of companies, both in the United States and abroad, that conduct anti-union intimidation campaigns, refuse to bargain collectively, do not pay a living wage and don’t offer minimal health and retirement benefits; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT encourage TIAA-CREF’s office of social and community investing to offer new options that include companies with strong records in workers’ rights, community development and environmental issues; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT communicate its interest in a socially conscious investment policy that includes labor screening to the TIAA-CREF president and chief executive officer, the vice-president and chief investment officer, the head of corporate governance, the director and managing director of social and community investing and the board of trustees and ask for a response within three months of this AFT executive council meeting; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT publicize this resolution to its members, particularly members of higher education, and that the AFT inform members of TIAA-CREF’s response to the resolution.

(Adopted by AFT Executive Council, May 2007)