There is a long and rich history of intentional responsible investments in the U.S. and globally by Organized Labor. Unions not only fought to win eight hour workdays, work-free weekends, paid vacations and retirement benefits for workers, but also pioneered many elements of the current global responsible investment movement. They are the original crowd-funders!
By advancing better worker rights and workplace conditions (including our first immigrants), building affordable housing stock, forming labor banks and insurance companies, reinvesting in neglected industrial sectors and the new clean energy economy, labor and its allies have been the most prolific and steady practitioners of responsible investment practices. (we wrote about that in this mini-book).
In particular, stewards of labor's capital have been the fiercest proponents for the "S" (social) in the ESG framework for responsible investment, fighting for union representation, worker participation, good wages, and workers' health and safety. And labor visionaries have, for decades, worked to promote strategic governance campaigns to make the "boss" accountable.
Suchat Pederson/The News Journal
However, there has been a relentless attack on labor rights on and off since the Reagan Administration. As a result, working families and the middle class have suffered falling wages and benefits, and worsening working conditions. While the Trump Administration is obsessed with building new walls to keep immigrants out, working families struggle to break down the cruel existing walls that have put the American Dream out of reach. Those include the loss of living wage jobs and good pensions, rising housing and medical costs, and growing poverty and income inequality.
We're proud to present a great article this Labor Week on new innovative paths to fight for our rights. The interview is with Steven Greenhouse, a long-time labor reporter, reprinted from The American Prospect.
Make every day Labor Day!