Labor Pushes Wall Street on Card Check
Labor pushes Wall St. on card check
The labor movement is taking square aim at Wall Street with a new tool
in its fight to pass the Employee Free Choice Act: the hundreds of
billions of dollars in pension funds it manages for union workers and
retirees, some of it held by the same firms that are fighting the
provision known as "card check."
"Has your company made any public statements in support or opposition
to EFCA?" asks one of nine pointed questions in a polite, detailed
"If 'Yes,' please explain."
The detailed questionnaire has three parts. The first asks about fund
managers' public positions, lobbying and political contributions. The
second asks managers to "disclose any relationships during the past
five years between your company and any organization(s) opposing the
passage" of EFCA. The form lists 14 organizations, from anti-EFCA
organizations like the Workforce Fairness Institute to trade groups
that oppose it, like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Roundtable.
A third passage asked whether other any trade association to which the
fund managers belong has taken a position on the bill.
While the survey
assures managers that it doesn't intend to impose "requirements or
limitations" on their political activity, a cover letter from
Teamsters union leaders tells another story: The leaders are
concerned, according to a copy of the local's letter obtained by
POLITICO, that Wall Street is "undermining the interests" of union
The letter, from the two top officials of Teamsters Local 507 in
Cleveland, Albert Mixon and Carl Pecoraro, who are also trustees of
the union's health, welfare and pension funds, says some pension fund
managers "are undermining the interests" of the union:
"It has come to my attention that some Wall Street investment managers
are raising money, lobbying or contributing to the lobbying efforts of
other organizations against the Employee Free Choice Act," the letter
began. "In so doing, I believe these managers are undermining the
interests of the Cleveland Bakers and Teamsters Pension and Health &
"As a trustee, I have an obligation to determine whether our fund's
asset managers are engaged in partisan political activity that could
adversely affect our fund, its participants and beneficiaries," said
the letter, which also "call[s] on you to be a leader among the
financial services industry" in supporting pro-labor legislation.
"We feel that our investment managers should be taking a neutral
position on this," said Galen Munroe, a spokesman for the
International Brotherhood of Teamsters, who said fund managers with
ties to EFCA foes wouldn't necessarily be fired. "It's just one of the
facts that would go under their overall performance," he said.