The undersigned investors and fiduciaries representing 39 institutions and over USD 3.3 trillion in combined assets under management or advice are writing to express our expectations regarding the rights to freedom of association and collective bargaining.
Labour rights are human rights.1 The rights to freedom of association and collective bargaining are fundamental pillars of human freedom, established in the International Labour Organization (ILO) Core Conventions, the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, and the UN Sustainable Development Goals. These rights guarantee that individual workers can join together in protected concerted workplace activity to better their working lives, improve the companies they work for, and contribute to the advancement of society.
Companies that respect labour rights reap many benefits, such as greater productivity, safer workplaces, and improved employee engagement.2
Implementing labour rights requires varied approaches across different businesses, regions, and jurisdictions. The undersigned investors agree to three requests to boards and senior management at investee companies:
- Implement a strong governance framework that articulates the board’s responsibility for oversight of company policies and practices regarding labour rights based on ILO Core Conventions.
- Take action to respect workers’ exercise of their fundamental rights to freedom of association and collective bargaining by, for example, but not limited to: adopting labour rights due diligence processes, training management at all levels to meet labour rights standards, and committing to non-interference when workers seek to form or join unions.
- Provide enhanced disclosure of labour rights-related metrics that allow investors to assess company labour risk, such as percentage of workers covered by collective bargaining agreements, pending litigation and regulatory investigations regarding alleged labour rights violations, and expenditures of company resources on union avoidance activities.
Æquo Shareholder Engagement Services
Alecta Tjänstepension Ömsesidigt
CCLA Investment Management
Church of England Pensions Board
Domini Impact Investments LLC
Greater Manchester Pension Fund
Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR)
KLP Kapitalforvaltning AS
La Française Asset Management Group
Local Authority Pension Fund Forum
New York City Employees Retirement System
New York State Common Retirement Fund
Office of the Illinois State Treasurer
Pensions & Investment Research Consultants Ltd (PIRC)
Segal Marco Advisors
Shareholder Association for Research & Education (SHARE)
Sycomore Asset Management
Teachers’ Retirement System of the City of New York
UAW Retiree Medical Benefits Trust
Whistle Stop Capital
1 International Labour Organization (ILO) Core Conventions and the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work: ILO, Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organize Convention, 1948 (No. 87); ILO, Right to Organize and Collective Bargaining Convention, 1949 (No. 98); ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work and its Follow-Up (adopted 1998, amended 2022); UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs); OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises; United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights; UN Sustainable Development Goals, Goal 8.
2 See text and citations of Global Unions’ Committee on Workers’ Capital, Shared Prosperity: The Investor Case for Freedom of Association and Collective Bargaining (November 2022).