Who we are

The Global Unions’ Committee on Workers’ Capital (CWC) was established in 1999 to promote information sharing and joint action. It brings together trade unions and pension fund board members from around the world to foster a community of practice aimed at upholding strong labour practices and trade union priorities in investments.

The CWC is a joint initiative of the International Trade Union Confederation, the Global Union Federations and the Trade Union Advisory Committee to the OECD.

Our work is led by a leadership team composed of a Chair and co-chairs. It is supported by our Networked Secretariat, which includes unions around the world and meets on a monthly basis.

CWC Secretariat

The Secretariat of the CWC is housed at the Shareholder Association for Research and Education (SHARE) in Canada.

Networked Secretariat

The Networked Secretariat includes representatives from unions around the world and meets on a monthly basis to support the work of the CWC.

Key partners

The CWC is supported by donations from trade unions around the world. We also partner with select foundations whose values are aligned with those of the CWC.

What we do

The CWC works with trade unions – including teachers, steelworkers, health care, and hotel worker unions – and pension fund trustees to ensure that workers’ capital does not undermine workers’ rights.

Asset Manager Accountability Initiative

We shift the balance of power in the investment chain to increase the accountability of asset managers toward asset owners in relation to fundamental labour rights in investments.

Trustee Leadership

We support pension fund trustees and strengthen collaboration among national trustee networks to develop a community of practice and to drive sustainability in investments.

Global Labour Rights Campaigns

We amplify global trade union labour rights campaigns by activating investors to mitigate adverse impacts in public and private market investments.

Policy Advocacy

We identify strategic opportunities to weigh into consultations and improve the incorporation of trade union priorities in the sustainable finance agenda.

What is workers’ capital?

Workers’ capital generally refers to the deferred retirement savings of workers. Retirement savings can be accumulated in collectively funded schemes, like pension funds, or in individual accounts. Collective workers’ savings vehicles and strike funds also constitute workers’ capital.

Workers are the indirect owners of a substantial portion of global financial assets. In 2021, global pension fund assets reached $38.5 trillion. This capital across the globe and across asset classes such as public equities, fixed income and alternative investments.

What is capital stewardship?

The investment of worker retirement savings is meant to provide long-term financial returns to pension beneficiaries. An important role for pension fund trustees is to set investment policies and monitor asset managers. There is a growing expectation that trustees should integrate ESG considerations in their decision-making, in line with their fiduciary duties.