Pension Funds, Unions, and Working Class Strategies, session 1 (Toronto) – Watch the video, 31.20 min, published on Socialist Project, Sept 27, 2013.
Peter Drucker’s famous 1976 warning that the growth of workers’ pension funds was leading to “socialism” in the United States has not aged well. This conception inspired many trade unionists and some on the left, and led to various experimental proposals for seizing “worker control” of finance and the economy via the pooled savings of workers, whether in pension funds or in individual savings.
Given the growing controversies surrounding the investment practices of these large funds, how should Ontario trade unions view this proposal for a massive asset consolidation? If the only function of the fund is to invest, and not to make benefit or funding decisions, should trade unions seek representation on its governing board? What are the ultimate goals and expectations for such trustees? How can union representatives effectively discourage what might be called the “neoliberal trends” in pension fund investment and management: privatization, outsourcing, union busting, two-tier compensation, etc.?
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