Saket Soni Executive Director New Orleans Workers’ Center for Racial Justice and National Guestworker Alliance
Opening Remarks by Elissa McBride, Director of Education and Leadership Training, AFSCME
Opening Remarks by Elissa McBride: "Born and raised in New Delhi, India, Saket Soni has been a driving force in the effort to secure justice for workers fighting for their dignity in post-Katrina New Orleans. During the reconstruction of the Gulf Coast, black workers whose families had lived in New Orleans for generations were denied jobs. At the same time, thousands of immigrant workers were given false promises of steady jobs, fair pay, great conditions and even permanent legal status...Saket Soni brought those workers together, linking their struggles across the lines of race and class and citizenship. He helped build a broad platform from which they could wage an inspiring fight for justice and dignity."
The Pension Project held its tenth annual conference, attended by pension trustees from across the United States as well as from Canada and the United Kingdom. They were joined by scholars, researchers, and practitioners from the U.S., Canada, France, and Germany. The conference explored a range of issues concerned with the relationship between pension fund investment and economic growth and job creation; assessed the merits of financial markets reform in the United States, especially as it pertains to pension funds; considered the rationales for and the import for themselves and others of pension fund investment in commodities; discussed a range of activities - from research to engagement - concerned with the bearing of S-factors, particularly workplace related considerations, on investment decisions; described new and important ways of rethinking the meaning and practice of fiduciary duty; and described initiatives in the United States by which public sector pension plans can facilitate private sector worker participation in retirement plans. [More Info]
Elissa McBride Director of Education and Leadership Training, AFSCME
Opening Remarks by Elissa McBride, Director of Education and Leadership Training, AFSCME: "Like Eleanor, [Brigid] knows that we can make real change if we link education and action. I hope you will listen, learn, and leave committed to honor the legacy of Jerry Wurf and Eleanor Roosevelt by passing on the knowledge you gain here to others, so that together, we can restore the right to organize and bargain for all workers – public and private."
This year’s annual conference featured speakers and panels on key topics, including a critical perspective on the operation of financial markets in which pension funds participate, the nature and implications for pension funds of the recently enacted financial markets reform legislation; the current and future landscape of those who provide financial services to funds, the relationship between pension fund boards and their staff, consultants, and asset managers, the progress and impact of corporate governance reforms, efforts to sustain public sector pension plans both currently and with any eye to the future, and the challenge of retirement income security for all households. [More Info]
Paul Booth Executive Assistant to the President, AFSCME
Opening Remarks by Paul Booth, Executive Assistant to the President, AFSCME:"Miles Rapoport is the president of Demos. What is Demos? There is an awful lot of Demos material out on the table there, and you really should indulge freely in it. To me, Demos is simply the leading voice in the United States for small d democracy. Its mission, as I see it, is this cause which it so ably advances.
Miles Rapoport has a career that included personal involvement in Connecticut politics, to which he brought activism, organizational skills, and a set of real deep commitments."
Among the topics on which this year’s Capital Matters conference focused were systemic risk and its pension fund and other implications, various aspects of pension fund risk management, a rethinking of fiduciary duty, an assessment of the success of capital stewardship, challenges faced by employment-based retirement plans and the broader challenge of retirement security for all households, and the new landscape of pension fund investment in infrastructur0 .[More Info]
The Project worked with the European Trade Union Institute (ETUI) and the Trade Union Advisory Committee to the OECD (TUAC) (with the Global Unions Committee on Workers Capital as a knowledge partner) to convene a meeting modeled on the Project’s annual “Capital Matters: Managing Labor’s Capital Conference.” This one-day event, “Capital Maters in Europe 2009,” took place in Brussels on December 10th. It brought together member-nominated pension fund trustees, trade union officers, pension and other experts and policy makers who offered views and shared experiences from across Europe and from a transatlantic perspective. It focused on how workers’ and their families’ retirement and other long term savings can be invested in productive assets in the real economy in a fair, sustainable and responsible way and not diverted into unproductive financial transactions and speculation. [More]