2021 CWC Workers’ Capital Conference

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2021 CWC Workers' Capital Conference

The CWC 2021 Workers’ Capital Conference will be held virtually from October 25-29th, 2021. The annual conference provides a collaborative space for trade union representatives and labour-nominated trustees to discuss strategies and perspectives on elevating fundamental labour rights in the investment chain.

The conference will feature three formal sessions on key issues and topics related to the responsible investment of workers’ capital. Each session will be followed by campaign spotlights where global trade unions will highlight an active shareholder advocacy campaign. The final day of the conference will feature an interactive brainstorming session where participants will be able to share and discuss CWC priorities for the upcoming year.

Important: Registration is exclusively open to participants who are affiliated to a trade union. If you are not affiliated to a trade union, please contact the CWC Secretariat to indicate your interest in attending the conference. Registrations from non-trade union participants will be reviewed on a case by case basis.

Click here to register for the conference

The agenda is available here - check back regularly for updates.

The conference schedule is as follows:

Session 1: Asset manager accountability on labour rights: where is the leverage and what are the results for workers?
MONDAY October 25th, 2021
8:00–10:00 Pacific Daylight Time
11:00–13:00 Eastern Daylight Time
17:00–19:00 Central European Summer Time (anchor time)
Tuesday Oct 26 @ 2:00–4:00 Australian Eastern Daylight Time

*Simultaneous interpretation in Spanish and Japanese available*

Opening panel
90 minutes
In the wake of COVID-19, large asset managers have made a plethora of commitments to social issues, ranging from addressing systemic racism in their portfolios to prioritizing workforce issues in their stewardship. In an era where the discourse of ESG has moved into the mainstream, this session looks at how asset owners can ensure that asset managers’ commitments have real-world implications for workers. We will begin with an interview with outgoing CEO of the PRI, Fiona Reynolds, who will discuss initiatives that the PRI has taken to respond to calls to increase the accountability of its growing signatory base. A panel of asset owners and organizations pressing asset managers on social issues will then discuss strategies and priorities for elevating social issues in the investment chain


  • Fiona Reynolds, CEO of the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI)
  • Sharan Burrow, General Secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) and CWC Leadership Team


  • Shalini Ramgoolam, CWC Secretariat

Respondent panel:

  • Laura Hobbs, RI Team, Brunel Pension Partnership Ltd. (UK)
  • Eli Kasargod Staub, Co-Founder and Executive Director, Majority Action (USA)
  • Monte Tarbox, Executive Director, National Electrical Benefit Fund (USA)

Campaign spotlight series
30 mins
Participant-led content. Two organizations will be given the floor for 15 minutes each to discuss a campaign or initiative that they are spearheading.
Spotlight I: Teleperformance: What the contact centre giant shows about due diligence gaps on trade union rights and asset managers’ approaches
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the human rights issues at Teleperformance, a CAC-40 French employer of nearly 400,000 workers and a key actor in the value chain of many major firms, came to the fore – from freedom of association to health and safety. The French National Contact Point for the OECD Guidelines published their final statement on a specific instance over these concerns, calling for strengthened due diligence. Workers in Colombia are now seeking to exercise their rights but continue to face opposition from the company. Investors are increasingly reporting stewardship efforts with the company, but with varying results. This session will explore these issues and the need for further action from asset managers.


  • Benjamin Parton, Head Information, Communications, Technology and Services, UNI Global Union
  • Lisa Nathan, Investor Engagement Advisor, UNI Global Union

Spotlight II: A new supply chain industrial relations model for the textile and garment industry

In light of the recently launched International Accord for Health and Safety in the Textile and Garment Industry, IndustriALL Global Union will present its wider campaign to seed the narrative of transforming the garment industry model to one with binding rules to hold brands accountable for their impact on workers. This campaign spotlight will discuss the new supply chain industrial relations model that has been secured for health and safety in textiles and the need for North American brands to support the agreement, which builds on the Bangladesh Accord. It will also touch on a new initiative seeking universal social protection for the garment industry, for which a capital strategy will be integral.


  • Christina Hajagos-Clausen, Textile and Garment Industry Director, IndustriALL
  • Liz Umlas, Senior Advisor, IndustriALL

Session 2: Using policy tools to drive accountability around labour rights at companies and amongst investors

TUESDAY October 26th, 2021
00:00–2:00 Pacific Daylight Time
3:00–5:00 Eastern Daylight Time
9:00–11:00 Central European Summer Time
18:00–20:00 Australian Eastern Daylight Time (anchor time)

*Simultaneous interpretation in Spanish and Japanese available*

90 mins

Since the adoption of the UN Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights ten years ago, an assortment of laws, international norms and frameworks have been taken up to drive better respect for fundamental labour rights. This session will discuss the experience of UNI Global Union with international soft law mechanisms such as the OECD Guidelines for MNEs in getting remedy for workers. It will review the experience of French trade unions in using the 2017 French law on the duty of vigilance to drive better respect for workers’ rights on the part of companies. Finally, it will delve into the Dutch experience of using international norms and frameworks to develop voluntary covenants at the industry level.

Opening remarks:

  • Tuur Elzinga, President of the Federation of Dutch Trade Unions (FNV) and CWC Chair (Netherlands)


  • Jeffrey Boyd, International Union of Food Workers (Switzerland)


  • Lisa Nathan, Investor Engagement Advisor, UNI Global Union (UK)
  • Hélène Deborde, National Secretary, French Democratic Confederation of Labour (CFDT) (France)
  • Lucia van Westerlaak, Policy Advisor, FNV Union Confederation (Netherlands)
  • Blake Harwell, Senior Policy Advisor, Trade Union Advisory Committee (TUAC) to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)

Closing comments:

  • Paddy Crumlin, President of the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) and CWC Co-Chair

Campaign spotlight series
30 mins
Participant-led content. Two organizations will be given the floor for 15 minutes each to discuss a campaign or initiative that they are spearheading.
Spotlight III: Shareholder resolutions to require country-by-country reporting on tax transparency for key multinational enterprises

The Centre for International Corporate Tax Accountability and Research (CICTAR) is planning to work with global unions and investors to file shareholder resolutions that will require multinationals to report on a country-by-country basis using the GRI Tax Standard. With the ongoing discussions around global tax reform and the need for higher government revenues to fund economic recovery and public health – the timing is right. The campaign’s targets will include Uber, Amazon, and other multinationals in the labour hire, IT and health care sectors. The GRI Tax Standard, which has an active support from global investors holding over US$10 trillion in AUM, would provide public information to stakeholders on a company’s tax payments, revenues, profits, workers, payroll and other essential information.


  • Jason Ward, Principal Analyst, Centre for International Corporate Tax Accountability and Research (CICTAR)

Spotlight IV: Holcim: Mobilising a global campaign to respect workers and union rights in the cement and building materials sector

The Swiss building materials company Holcim, previously named LafargeHolcim,
is one of the five largest cement producers worldwide, employing 67,000 workers in 70 countries and contracting over 100,000 suppliers. Research by BWI shows that Holcim does not comply with the OECD Guidelines and is systematically eroding workers’ rights. Although Holcim has reported to have taken some steps to improve its H&S policy, it has refused to negotiate a revised Framework Agreement with BWI and is not adequately remediating the most salient human rights risks in its operations and supply chains. This spotlight will discuss steps that global unions are taking through the Joint LafargeHolcim Global Union Council (Network) to put pressure on the company to respect workers and union rights.


  • Jasmin Redzepovic, Building and Wood Workers’ International (BWI)

Session 3: Where do labour rights fit in as private market funds ramp up their net-zero commitments?

TUESDAY October 26th, 2021
14:00–16:00 Pacific Daylight Time
17:00–19:00 Eastern Daylight Time (anchor time)
23:00–1:00 Central European Summer Time
Wednesday Oct 27 @ 8:00–10:00 Australian Eastern Daylight Time

*Simultaneous interpretation in Japanese available*

90 mins

There is an exponential growth in the number of asset managers making net zero commitments. This includes private market asset managers whose strategies focus on private equity, real estate and infrastructure investments. This session will evaluate how private market asset managers are incorporating labour rights and the just transition in their net zero strategies.

Opening remarks:

  • Liz Shuler, President of the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) and CWC Co-Chair (USA)


  • Catherine Bolger, State Super SAS (Australia)
  • Lyon Bandivas, unionized renewable energy construction worker (USA)
  • Aubrey Newton, Renewable Energy Representative, Laborers’ International Union of North America (LiUNA) North West (USA)
  • Anne Foster, Head of ESG, Quinbrook (UK)
  • Adam Larner, Chief Operating Officer, Primergy Solar (USA)

Campaign spotlight series
30 mins

Participant-led content. Two organizations will be given the floor for 15 minutes each to discuss a campaign or initiative that they are spearheading.

Spotlight IV: EssilorLuxottica: Investor action to protect workers’ rights to form a union

Workers at a large US production and distribution facility, owned by French-based global eyewear giant EssilorLuxottica, have experienced sharp opposition from management in their efforts to form a union. The workers, who are majority Black and female, have faced intense anti-union messaging, threats, discipline and captive audience meetings when they have discussed unionization. Global unions have filed a complaint in June with three National Contact Points in Italy, France and the US regarding the company’s violations of the OECD’s Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises. Trillium Asset Management and the AFL-CIO have launched an investor sign-on letter asking the company to engage constructively in the OECD process, which can include mediation between the parties.


  • Lisa Ragsdale, production worker, EssilorLuxottica (USA)
  • Laura Hagan, Assistant to the President of the International Union of Electrical Workers - Communications Workers of America (IUE-CWA) (USA)
  • Jonas Kron, Chief Advocacy Officer, Trillium Investment Management (USA)

Spotlight IV: Unsustainable labour policies at Vodaphone in Spain
*Simultaneous interpretation in Spanish*

Vodaphone has taken advantage of labour law reforms in Spain to conduct mass lay-offs practically every two years for "organizational reasons." The Spanish government has communicated its intention with trade unions to reverse labour law reforms, which have created a framework for an unequal and unsustainable relationship between companies and workers. Meanwhile, Vodaphone, which is a signatory to the Global Compact, neglects its international commitments of respect and dialogue and takes advantage of the weak Spanish legal framework to carry out massive layoffs continually over time.


  • Beatriz Molino (CCOO-Vodafone)

SESSION 4 – Strategic Brainstorming (Choice of 2 times)

Option A: THURSDAY October 28th, 2021
8:00–9:30 Pacific Daylight Time
11:00–12:30 Eastern Daylight Time
17:00–18:30 Central European Summer Time (anchor time)
Friday Oct 29 @ 2:00–3:30 Australian Eastern Daylight Time
*Simultaneous interpretation in Spanish available*

Option B: THURSDAY October 28th, 2021
15:00–16:30 Pacific Daylight Time
18:00–19:30 Eastern Daylight Time
Friday Oct 29 @ 00:00–1:30 Central European Summer Time
Friday Oct 29 @ 9:00–10:30 Australian Eastern Daylight Time (anchor time)

10 mins
Opening remarks

  • Paddy Crumlin, President of the ITF President and CWC Co-Chair
    75 mins

Session 4*: Strategic brainstorming session on 2020-2021 CWC priorities

This interactive session will be an opportunity for participants to share their views on priorities for the 2021-2022 CWC workplan.

Open discussion with CWC-backed candidates for the PRI Board:

  • Sharon Hendricks, California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS) (USA)
  • Scott Connolly, Telstra Super (Australia)
  • Laetitia Tankwe, Ircantec (France)

Closing remarks on trustee leadership:

  • Siobhán Vipond, Executive Vice-President of the Canadian Labour Congress (Canada)

Option A is timed to facilitate participation for a European/North American audience

Option B is timed to facilitate participation from an Australian/ North American audience