New Policy Supports Targeted Shareholder Actions at Companies
Doing Business with Rogue Countries
WASHINGTON , June 5 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As part of an effort to promote responsible corporate behavior, the Teamsters Union announced the adoption of a policy that supports targeted shareholder actions at companies whose business operations finance sanctioned nations, terrorist-sponsoring states or widespread human and labor rights violations.
The Global Corporate Accountability and Terror-Free Investing policy promotes shareholder activism to protect Teamster investments and encourage businesses to adopt practices favorable to workers.
"The Teamsters will not allow our members' retirement security and livelihoods to be threatened by companies doing business with nations that sponsor terrorists or other pariah states that have been condemned by the international community," said Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa . "Those companies are putting Teamsters' investments at risk and are undermining the mission and work of our union."
In the spirit of the policy, the Teamsters General Fund sponsored a shareholder proposal at Chevron Corporation (NYSE: CVX) calling on the company to develop guidelines for investing in or withdrawing from foreign countries.
The proposal, which garnered the support of 8 percent of the votes cast at the company's May 28 meeting, asked that the guidelines address whether a government has engaged in systematic human rights violations, whether a government is illegitimate and whether the company's presence exposes it to the risk of sanctions and consumer boycotts. The proposal focused on Chevron's investment in Burma's Yadana gas field and pipeline, reported to be the single largest source of income to the Burmese military regime.
"Chevron's risky ties to Burma are a perfect example of why the Teamsters have adopted the policy on Global Corporate Accountability and Terror-Free Investing," said Teamsters General Secretary-Treasurer C. Thomas Keegel . "Through its investment in the Yadana project, Chevron is a financial lifeline to Burma's notorious military regime and has exposed the company to staggering legal, financial and political risks that can ultimately hurt shareholders and workers."
The policy's call for targeted shareholder action allows Teamsters to engage companies directly and support coordinated engagement efforts such as the Sudan Divestment Task Force. The task force provides corporate engagement assistance to thousands of fiduciaries worldwide related to the most problematic and risk prone companies in Sudan . The policy also allows for the consideration of divestment, which Hoffa advocated in August 2007 when the Iranian government incarcerated labor leaders.
"I believe that divestiture of investments in companies that do business with Iran can help bring peaceful change to that nation. Shareholder democracy brought about change in South Africa and in Latin America , and it can work again in the Middle East," Hoffa said.
Teamster-affiliated pension and health and welfare trusts collectively hold nearly
Founded in 1903, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents more than 1.4 million hardworking men and women throughout the United States , Canada and Puerto Rico .
SOURCE International Brotherhood of Teamsters