Posts Tagged ‘Tim Brennan’

Investors Call for Comprehensive Immigration Reform

4 Comments | Share On Facebook| Investors Call for Comprehensive Immigration Reform Share/Save/Bookmark Apr 30, 2013
UUA Treasurer and CFO Tim Brennan

This post was written by UUA Treasurer and CFO Tim Brennan.

Responding to the introduction of immigration reform legislation in the U.S. Senate, a broad and diverse group of more than 70 institutional investors including the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) joined together to call on Congress to take immediate action and pass commonsense immigration reform. The coalition represents $890.5 billion in assets under management on behalf of major pension funds, nonprofit organizations, faith-based investors, and socially responsible investors.

In a public letter, the group stated, “We believe comprehensive reform must be developed and implemented consistent with the human rights of all concerned, must value the integrity of families and must prevent immigrant workers—be they temporary or permanent—from being subjected to second-class employment standards.”

Regardless of our faith, I believe we all share a moral responsibility to stop the suffering caused by the current immigration policy, especially to families. As members of the investment community, we know the path to economic prosperity lies ultimately with the humane treatment of our workers.

The letter outlines the economic rationale, citing a recent study by the Congressional Budget Office which concluded that immigration reform could add as much as 1.3 percent to GDP by 2016. The coalition also notes that reform is imperative to ensuring a competitive U.S. labor force and a more prosperous economy for all Americans.

My colleague Susan Smith Makos, vice president of social responsibility for Mercy Investment Services, says of the letter, “As investors, we have a responsibility to advocate for those without a voice. Comprehensive immigration reform is a necessary step to improve conditions for those immigrants living and working in our country. Our hope is that leaders in U.S. Congress will realize the significant, positive impact that immigration reform can have not only on businesses but also on our country.”

Organizing investors to speak out for comprehensive immigration reform is a part of the UUA’s efforts to express our values through the management of our investments. As an active shareholder, the UUA uses its ownership rights to file resolutions on a range of issues including LGBTQ nondiscrimination, political spending, human rights, and sustainability. But to be effective, we must act in concert with other investors. Therefore the UUA is an active member of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, Ceres, SIF: the Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment, and the Investor Network on Climate Risk.

Together with these investors, we recognize that consideration of justice is as important to investing as risk and return.


This post was written by Unitarian Universalist Association Treasurer and CFO Tim Brennan. Tim is an active proponent of shareholder advocacy and socially responsible investing.

Success! Amazon.com Drops ALEC

No Comments | Share On Facebook| Success! Amazon.com Drops ALEC Share/Save/Bookmark May 25, 2012

Huge news!

Amazon.com is now the 16th major corporation to cut ties to the American Legislative Exchange (ALEC).  The announcement was made during Amazon.com’s annual shareholders meeting in Seattle.  “This year, we’ve decided not to renew with ALEC, and it’s because of positions they’ve taken not related to our business,” Michelle Wilson, an Amazon attorney, told about 200 shareholders at the meeting, according to reports.

ALEC1The Unitarian Universalist Association has been proud to join with organizations like Color of Change, NAACP, and People for the American Way in asking corporations we do business with to withdraw from ALEC.

Last month, UUA Treasurer Tim Brennan issued a call to action: “I am outraged that these companies are funding ALEC, and shocked that these companies that depend on their relationships with millions of consumers would risk their hard-earned reputations by aligning themselves with ALEC and an agenda that is very often directly harmful to our communities,” he wrote.

The advocacy of people like you made this victory possible. Nearly 2500 of you sent messages to these corporations’ leaders.

Please urge others to sign our petition that puts pressure on other companies the UUA does business to withdraw their membership from ALEC: FedEx, UPS, and Visa.

Share the petition here: https://www.change.org/petitions/tell-amazon-fedex-ups-visa-stop-funding-alec

Thank you for taking action for justice!

In partnership,

Dan Furmansky
Campaign Manager
Standing on the Side of Love

UUA Joins Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility in Lauding Social Justice Work of Catholic Women Religious

3 Comments | Share On Facebook| UUA Joins Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility in Lauding Social Justice Work of Catholic Women Religious Share/Save/Bookmark May 09, 2012
timbrennan

This post was written by UUA Treasurer Tim Brennan.

In representing the UUA with the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR), I have had the privilege of working closely with members of Catholic orders of religious women on campaigns to improve corporate behavior. I have seen these nuns work tirelessly, some for decades, fighting apartheid in South Africa, child labor in corporate supply chains, human trafficking abroad, and environmental pollution here in the U.S. While the positions of the UUA don’t line up with their views on every issue, their deep commitment to social justice and to the least powerful among us is tangible in everything they do. They are an inspiration to me.

Recently, the work of these dedicated women of faith has been called into question. In response, the ICCR has issued a statement of support, which can be found here.

ICCR is a 40-year-old network of faith-based investors exercising their power as active shareowners to transform companies. Together ICCR members promote sustainable practices through engagement with company management. The UUA has been an active member of ICCR for many years and has partnered with other faith groups on numerous campaigns. Today, on behalf of the UUA, I am proud to voice our support for the ICCR and the Catholic religious women who work for justice.

Join Me in Standing for What We Believe

2 Comments | Share On Facebook| Join Me in Standing for What We Believe Share/Save/Bookmark Apr 12, 2012

The message below went out on Thursday, April 12, 2012 to Standing on the Side of Love supporters. You can sign-up for these emails here.


I buy a lot of books, some from my local bookstore and some from Amazon. Recently I purchased Van Jones’ new book, “Rebuild the Dream.” I paid for this with my Visa card and it will be shipped to me by Federal Express or UPS. Imagine my shock when I learned that each step of this transaction was providing revenue that supports the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC. ALEC is the organization that has promoted the “stand your ground” laws highlighted in the tragic shooting death of Trayvon Martin in Florida; Arizona-style, anti-immigrant legislation; laws that undercut voter registration in communities of color; and anti-environmental legislation. Yes it’s true. Amazon, Visa, Federal Express, and UPS all provide substantial support to ALEC. All I can say is: What are they thinking?

In addition to being a customer of these companies, I also have another relationship. As the Treasurer of the Unitarian Universalist Association, I am responsible for overseeing our denomination’s investments, and we hold stock in each one of these companies. I am outraged that these companies are funding ALEC, and shocked that these companies that depend on their relationships with millions of consumers would risk their hard-earned reputations by aligning themselves with ALEC and an agenda that is very often directly harmful to our communities. That’s a bad business decision that hurts us as a shareholder.

In the past days alone, McDonald’s, Pepsi, Coca-Cola, Kraft, and Wendy’s have all agreed to cut ties with ALEC due to pressure from consumers like you and me. Let’s keep up the pressure.

Please join the leadership of our denomination in asking Amazon, Visa, Federal Express, and UPS to cut their ties with ALEC.

Click here to sign our petition.

ALEC presents itself as a non-partisan organization “that supports pro-growth, pro-jobs policies and the vigorous exchange of ideas between the public and private sector to develop state based solutions.” Its approach is to bring legislators together with business leaders to work jointly on crafting “model” legislation that can then be introduced, often verbatim, on a state-by-state basis. In addition to promoting “pro-business,” low/no tax legislation, ALEC pushes an ultra-right, pro-gun, anti-immigrant, voter disenfranchisement agenda—and ALEC is enabled by their corporate supporters. The (mostly Republican) state legislators, who make up the membership of ALEC, provide about 1% of the organization’s budget, while the rest comes from companies, many of which you and I do business with every day. None of ALEC’s work would be possible without its corporate funders.

The laws ALEC promotes stand in stark contrast to several of our Unitarian Universalist principles:

SB 1070 and its anti-immigrant copycats violate the spirit of “The inherent worth and dignity of every person.”

Voter I.D. proposals that disproportionately disenfranchise minorities fly in the face of “The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large.”

Stand Your Ground legislation has shown how it gets in the way of “The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all.”

For several years now, the UUA has been working with other investors, including the American Federation of State and Municipal Employees and Walden Asset Management, to promote our values and press companies to disclose their financial relationships with lobbying groups like ALEC. Now we have the best example yet of why these alliances are bad for business and disastrous for our communities. This shareholder coalition has filed resolutions with many leading companies asking for full disclosure of their lobbying and political expenditures. The votes will take place over the coming months. We will continue to pressure them privately and to speak out at their annual shareholder meetings.

But we don’t have to wait. Right now, let’s urge Amazon, Visa, FedEx and UPS to stop funding ALEC. They deserve better company than that. You can join me in sending a message to these companies today.

Click here to urge Amazon, Visa, Federal Express, and UPS—companies the UUA holds shares in—to cut ties with ALEC.

Simply put, companies we do business with should not be aligning themselves with an organization that is doing such incredible harm to our communities.

In faith,

timbrennan

Tim Brennan
Treasurer
Unitarian Universalist Association

Walmart Confirms Expansion of Non-Discrimination Policy, UUA Pushes for Gender Identity Addition

1 Comment | Share On Facebook| Walmart Confirms Expansion of Non-Discrimination Policy, UUA Pushes for Gender Identity Addition Share/Save/Bookmark Nov 18, 2011
timbrennan

Tim Brennan

glennfarley

Glenn C. Farley

Post by Tim Brennan, treasurer of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA), and Glenn C. Farley, co-chair of the UUA Committee on Socially Responsible Investing.

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In each of the past five years, the Unitarian Universalist Association has filed a shareholder resolution asking Walmart to add Gender Identity or Expression to its non-discrimination policy.  Last week we were notified by Walmart’s Office of Diversity that they were adopting this policy and were disseminating it throughout their network of stores and distribution centers.  This is a big step towards justice for Walmart employees and perhaps even more importantly, an example to other companies. Walmart is currently the largest company in the Fortune 500 and the largest employer in the nation and, for that matter, the world.  So how Walmart operates can profoundly affect corporate policies and practices worldwide, for better or for worse.

Federal law does not prohibit discrimination based on gender identity or expression, and state laws vary widely.  Therefore, protections by employers are extremely important.  While more companies each year add gender identity or expression as a protected class, most companies are still lagging.  According to the Human Rights Campaign, in 2010 69% of the Fortune 100 and 46% of the Fortune 500 had non-discrimination policies that include gender identity or expression. This is up from 11% and 5% respectively in 2003.  Fully 39% of the Fortune 500 offer transgender-inclusive health insurance benefits, up from 1% in 2004.  We hope that the Walmart example will spur additional companies to become more inclusive.

Other companies have changed as well.  The UUA’s resolutions asking for non-discrimination polices on gender identity or expression resulted in policy change at Lowes, Home Depot, Travelers Insurance, and Dr Pepper Snapple Group.  Verizon, ExxonMobil and ConocoPhillips have so far refused, but our campaign continues.

This is one small, but significant step for Walmart.  Yet the company still has a long way to go to improve its treatment of employees.  Just recently it was announced that the company’s health plan would become more expensive and less widely available.  Advocates both within and outside of the company must continue to push for improvement.

The UUA’s shareholder advocacy program is just one expression of the Standing on the Side of Love campaign – our vision is of a world in which no one is dehumanized through acts of exclusion, oppression, or violence because of their identities.

We know that lasting change only happens in coalition and collaboration. In our broad shareholder advocacy work towards inclusion, anti-oppression and non-violence, we will continue to do our part to bend the arc of the moral universe towards justice.

On November 20, we encourage you to stand on the side of love as we observe the International Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR), honoring and remembering those murdered through hate and ignorance.