Advancing Worker Justice

Mission Statement

ICCR's Advancing Worker Justice (AWJ) program brings shareholder advocates and allied worker-led and focused organizations together to advance dignity and justice for all working people. We seek to activate our investments, strategic partnerships, and movement-building strategies to influence workplace practices, build worker power, and achieve meaningful gains for workers' rights in the U.S. and Canada. We approach this work for justice with an intersectional lens, centering the voices and experiences of frontline and essential workers, working people of color, workers with disabilities, migrant workers, women, and LGBTQIA+ workers.

 

Key Objectives

1. Address systemic risks

Economic and racial inequality are systemic financial risks that affect returns across portfolios and asset classes and cannot be diversified away. This working group aims to engage strategic sectors on the urgent need for corporate change to end workplace practices (e.g., low wages, lack of paid sick leave and other benefits, lack of worker voice, etc.) that support the status quo and keep millions of working people in poverty and an exploitative labor market more generally. 

2. Center power in working people

ICCR members will identify and form respectful, reciprocal, and in-depth partnerships with a variety of stakeholders, including working people, worker centers, worker networks, and organized labor. Meaningful relationship-building takes time and trust, and it requires investors to share their power and access with working people. We will build the capacity of stakeholders to engage shareholders around worker issues.

3. Develop creative, innovative shareholder strategies to improve working peoples’ lives in a changing economy

ICCR members will seek to engage whole sectors (potentially: restaurants, retail, hospitality, gig work, and meat producers) and design shareholder engagement initiatives to focus on core worker benefits and protections. Individual company strategies will be developed for influential retailers like Amazon and Walmart. ICCR staff will support member capacity-building through research memos, toolkits, webinars, and events.

4. Create impactful investor alliances to support worker rights

Identify opportunities to partner with investor networks that are working on aligned programs related to worker rights.

5. Support public policy efforts

Identify strategic ways for investors to weigh in on federal, state, and local public policy efforts to advance worker rights and protections. Efforts to support worker-led state and local policy will be prioritized based on where ICCR members have a presence. Support the drafting of coordinated public comments on worker rights policy. 

ICCR’s Unique Role 

In October 2021, ICCR members prioritized two interconnected themes for long-term attention – worker rights and racial justice. As investors, ICCR members have a responsibility to use our investments as leverage to advance racial and economic justice in all forms, protect our investment capital, and manage risks on behalf of our clients and beneficiaries. Further, many faith-based members of ICCR have ministries and direct service programs that work alongside communities to dismantle centuries of institutional and systemic racism, sexism, and ableism.  ICCR members’ multifaceted work to redress these inequalities as a question of racial and social justice, and respect for our dignity as human beings, can contribute to systemic change. Reducing income inequality perpetuated by systems of injustice can boost economic growth, and investors in the capital markets play a key role in working towards a more just and sustainable economy.   

Feature Initiatives

  1. Worker Representation

    1. Worker Voice and Freedom Of Association: Working people should have a voice in corporate decision-making and corporations are encouraged to support and implement worker-driven solutions to workplace issues. 

    2. Disability Justice: Create safe, equitable, accessible, and affirming environments for working people with disabilities.

  2. Wages and Benefits

    1. Living Wage: Provide a living wage to all working people and eliminate racial and gender pay gaps.

    2. Paid Sick Leave & Related Benefits: Provide a permanent paid sick leave benefit, and other related health benefits to direct (including part-time) and contract workers.

  3. Working Conditions

    1. Safe and Healthy Workplace: Provide a safe and healthy working environment for all working people.

    2. Flexible Scheduling and Part-Time Work: Grant working people access to fair and flexible work. 

    3. Protections for Contingent/Gig Workers: Strengthen worker protections for contingent/gig workers and independent contractors

 

Recent ICCR Actions to Advance Worker Justice

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