Resolution to Support Pension Funds that Invest in Union Built Affordable Housing

August 22, 2019

The following resolution was passed at the August 21 Delegates Meeting.

WHEREAS, union members and working families are at the forefront of a housing crisis. Teachers and school employees can no longer afford to live near the schools where we work. Health care workers, police and other first responders are moving out of the communities we serve. Skilled tradespeople are being pushed out of communities we built with our own hands. Public employees and childcare providers are being left behind. Increasingly, hard-working people in our region can no longer afford a home near our jobs.

WHEREAS, other cities and states, Taft Hartley and public pension plans have viewed affordable housing as an investment opportunity that helps guarantee worker pensions while simultaneously addressing the housing crisis:

  • The New York City Retirement Systems (NYCRS) has allocated 2% of pension assets toward Economically Targeted Investments (ETIs), totaling approximately $3.5 billion as of March 2017. To date, the program has created or preserved 34,589 Low- and Moderate-Income Housing Units in New York City’s five boroughs.[1]
  • Since 2007, $456.1 million in pension investments in Massachusetts have created or preserved 3,541units of Low-and Moderate-Income housing.[2]

WHEREAS, these pension investments have generally outperformed a key benchmark[3] through high credit quality fixed-income investments, particularly in multifamily mortgage-backed securities (MBS), AND were built with 100% union labor.

BE IT RESOLVED THAT, we encourage the Washington State Investment Board (WSIB), the Seattle City Employees’ Retirement System (SCERS) and other Taft Hartley and public pension plans to:

  • Pursue prudent, fixed-income investment opportunities that have the primary objective of maximizing return on pension investments, with the collateral objective of creating or preserving Low-and Moderate-Income housing in Washington State.
  • Have investment managers with experience in economically-targeted fixed income investing that generates competitive returns along with job creation and affordable and workforce housing.
  • Report regularly to pension trustees, beneficiaries and elected officials on ETI investment activities, especially as they relate to the preservation and creation of affordable housing.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT, MLK Labor and the Washington State Labor Council lead a campaign to achieve these interests.

[1] AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust Quarterly, April 2019
[2] AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust Quarterly, April 2019
[3] Bloomberg Barclays U.S. Aggregate Bond Index

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