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Resolutions & Amendments

37th International Convention - Chicago, IL (2006)

Increasing Representation on Public Pension Plan Investment Boards

Resolution No. 63
37th International Convention
August 7-11, 2006
Chicago, IL

The retirement assets of AFSCME members represent their deferred wages. Yet a large number of public pension systems have either very limited or no active employee or retiree beneficiaries serving as trustees on their investment boards; and

When there is no employee representation on investment boards, financial and political interests often use the fund in ways that do economic harm to public workers and retirees.  For example, Florida Governor Jeb Bush, who controls Florida's pension system, used nearly $200 million of our members’ retirement dollars to bail out of bankruptcy the notorious privatizer Edison Schools, and other privatizers are actively looking for public pension fund investments; and

Many investment firms, such as American Express, have been strong supporters of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), which works against the interests of AFSCME members and their families. Executives of  other investment firms, such as Charles Schwab and Wachovia, have funded efforts to privatize Social Security; and

Pension systems with AFSCME member representation, including Ohio PERS, CalPERS, and NYCERS have been leading efforts to restrict the use of public pension fund investments in privatizing firms; and

Elected trustees can be leading voices in the defense of defined benefit pension plans and can help prevent their conversion to risky defined contribution plans; and

AFSCME has a comprehensive program for recruiting, training and supporting trustees to serve on public pension boards. AFSCME has successfully elected trustees in California, New Mexico, Maryland, Ohio, Illinois and other states.
That AFSCME will work to ensure that the boards of trustees of public pension systems having investment authority are structured to include majority representation of active members and retirees; and

That AFSCME affiliates will make it a priority to recruit and support the election of members and retirees to pension boards; and

That AFSCME, through member trustees, will promote policies that restrict privatizing investments, support investments that create jobs and a healthy tax base, create responsible contractor requirements, and support other pro-worker actions as a means of establishing long-term and secure retirement benefits.
SUBMITTED BY: Robert Chavez, President
Melinda Dominguez, Secretary Treasurer
AFSCME Council 18
New Mexico