Maximizing Opportunities

January 2015

Mike StotzAs the AFL-CIO Equity Index Fund continues to experience record growth with more than $6 billion in committed assets—we are working to maximize the opportunities to create change through shareholder activism.

The labor movement can be very proud of this program. Low fees, historic performance, and proxy voting for long-term shareholders all make the AFL-CIO Equity Index Fund unique. The Fund is another way the labor movement can ensure that our pension dollars are working for us, not against us.

If you haven’t already, please urge your pension plan consultants to give the AFL-CIO Equity Index Fund a hard look today. And please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions you might have about the Fund.

Together, let’s build a union economy!

In solidarity,

mike sig

 

 

Mike Stotz
President
AFL-CIO Investment Trust Corporation (ITC)

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Heather’s Corner

Heather Slavkin Corzo is Director of the AFL-CIO Office of Investment. 

heather slavin resizedCongressional Attacks on Wall Street Regulation Threaten Retirement Security

Wall Street’s friends in Congress wasted little time unveiling their plans for the 114th Congress—rolling back the rules and regulations put into place by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act to protect investors from another financial crisis.

In the first weeks of the new Congress, the House Republicans led efforts to pass a bill dedicated to tearing down rules designed to limit risky behavior by too-big-to-fail banks and derivatives traders.

This is just the beginning. Wall Street’s friends in Congress have made their strategy clear. They plan to chip away at financial regulation by hitching their bills to broader legislation that the President may find difficult to reject.

The strategy has already had some success. For example, in order to prevent a government shut-down at the end of 2014, Congress passed a spending bill that included a provision written by Citigroup’s lobbyists. The provision repealed a rule in Dodd-Frank aimed at preventing government bailouts of bank subsidiaries that engage in complex and highly-risky trading.

If this strategy continues, Wall Street’s friends in Congress will undo the common-sense rules of the road put in place after the recent financial crisis that sent the S&P 500 index into freefall – losing more than 50 percent of its value in 17 months.

But, President Obama announced in his State of the Union address that enough is enough. He said that if Congress passes a bill that rolls back Wall Street regulation, “It will have earned my veto.”

This is welcome news for those of us focused on protecting working people’s retirement security.

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Shep’s Corner

Shepard Burr is President of the ASB Investment Management division of  ASB Capital Management, LLC.  ASB Capital Management, a registered investment manager, is the manager of the AFL-CIO Equity Index Fund.

Shep BurrThe Financial Times ran a full-page article this month titled “Hard landing looms for golden parachute deals.”  It states that investors are increasingly concerned that accelerated CEO vesting, in the event of corporate mergers, can result in decisions that are not in the best interests of shareholders.

The article references the AFL-CIO’s leadership in questioning accelerated vesting, which resulted in CEO paydays ranging from $28.5 million to $117.6 million when their companies were taken over in 2014.

The AFL-CIO Equity Index Fund is playing an important and effective role, through its shareholder resolutions and proxy voting, in opposing these golden parachute deals.

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Union Spotlight

Sheetmetal Workers Local 17

Sheet Metal Workers Local 17 was formed in 1896 to ensure that hard-working men and women in the sheet metal industry could bargain collectively for a good day’s pay with benefits for a good day’s work.

Through the years, SMART Local 17 has taken the lead in the industry, negotiating contracts that have made their highly trained and highly skilled members among the highest paid, and with one of the best benefit packages, of any sheet metal worker organization in all of New England.

“The AFL-CIO Equity Index Fund gives workers a real voice in corporate boardrooms and is another critical way we can force companies to be fully accountable and transparent,”* says Robert Butler, Business Manager of SMART Local 17.

“With exceptional benchmark tracking, an extremely low management fee, proxy voting, and shareholder resolutions addressing the concerns of working people, we are very proud to have chosen the AFL-CIO Equity Index Fund,”* says Joseph Nigro, General President, International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail, and Transportation Workers (SMART).

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What the Labor Movement is Saying About the AFL-CIO Equity Index Fund:

Rolando (2)“The Letter Carriers feel strongly that programs, like the AFL-CIO Equity Index Fund, are important vehicles to create meaningful change and make our pension investments go further and further.”*

— Fredric V. Rolando
National President
National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC)

 

 

lombardo“We, as union members and as investors, have a real opportunity to use the power of our pension investments to change corporate behavior. The AFL-CIO Equity Index Fund is a tool for us to make sure we are investing in our own pension plan’s best interests.”*

—Harry Lombardo
International President
Transport Workers Union of America (TWU)

 

dtaylor“We, as union members, know that when we work together we are stronger. That’s why the AFL-CIO Equity Index Fund is so important—it helps us use our pension funds collectively to influence corporations. There’s no other tool for investment that allows us to show our strength in this way.”*

—D. Taylor
President
UNITE HERE

*Testimonials may not be representative of the experience of other customers. Testimonials are no guarantee of future performance or success.