What has labour-sponsored investment to offer an equity-starved community sector? Tom Croft and Sherman Kreiner explain how their organizations, the Heartland Labor Capital Network (Duquesne, IL) and Crocus Investment Fund (Winnipeg, MB) integrate social and economic objectives in capital mobilization and investment.
"A decade of predator capitalism had ended in the Dot-com Meltdown and the Carnage of Enron. Moreover, the joblessness and sluggish economic growth of the past three years -called the 'false recovery' by Stephen Roach - shed new light on an old problem: the lack of real investment in factories and workplaces.
For years, the U.S. and Canadian labour movements have been pressing for responsible investment of the trillions of dollars in pension fund capital currently under joint worker-management and public trusteeship. Although these assets comprise workersâ€™ deferred wages, they frequently have been invested in ways that cause great harm to worker beneficiaries and their communities. Pension laws generally allow pension trustees to invest in companies that generate 'collateral benefits,' so long as the returns are equal to comparable investments.
These are the origins of a major new initiative taken in 1995 to promote jobs-oriented pension investment strategies in the U.S. and Canada. With the leadership of the Steel Valley Authority (SVA) and the United Steelworkers of America, the Heartland Network was formed to explore and promote practical, jobs-oriented investment strategies in small to mid-sized workplaces, building on 'Labourâ€™s Capital.'"