Unions Using Retirement Funds for Political Donations

How would you react if your company bosses used your retirement funds to advocate for their pet political issues, like reducing greenhouse gas emissions? Well, that’s exactly what some unions are doing, according to this release:

Labor unions are using the pension funds they control to advance political agendas. This may be putting millions of workers’ retirements at risk.  The AFL-CIO recommended to the Obama administration to roll back federal guidelines that require private pension plan managers to invest only for purposes of generating benefits for retirees and minimizing risk. A new CEI [Competitive Enterprise Institute] report calls on policy makers to keep union pension protections in place and to go a step further by adopting similar protections for public pensions.

At issue is the increasing problem of labor unions and others using pension funds to invest for purely political goals. For example … the Service Employees International Union has recommended that pension plan managers “consider climate risks and opportunities” and support shareholder resolutions to “encourage companies to reduce their carbon footprint, seize new market opportunities, and ask corporate supplies to disclose ad reduce greenhouse gas emissions and energy use.”

Union pension funds are already significantly depleted. In 2006, before the financial crisis hit, the average union pension fund had only 62 percent of what was owed to members, according to this report.


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