How the CTPF is ‘doing good while doing well’
In July of 2018, I was appointed to serve the remainder of trustee Bernie Eshoo’s term on the Chicago Teachers’ Pension Fund Board of Trustees. The CTPF Board and staff do a great job managing and safekeeping our pensions. You may not be aware that the Fund is ‘doing good while doing well,’ as CTPF trustees and staff invest responsibly and in a socially conscious manner.
At my second Board meeting in August, the trustees voted to have the CTPF divest from private prison companies and businesses that operate immigration detention centers. These companies were added to the CTPF’s list of prohibited investments. The private prison industry profits from the increase in mass incarceration of people of color and detaining immigrant families while cruelly separating children from their parents. The private prison industry also promotes unsafe working conditions for its workers. As union educators, we should not want the money that we have earned to be used to hurt the lives of our students and their families or any working person.
Before my appointment as a trustee, the CTPF already had an excellent record on divestments from risky and safety-concerned investments. In April 2018, the CTPF voted to divest from all investments in retail assault weapons manufacturers. Again as educators, we have to be conscious of where our dollars are being invested. An average of 238 students under the age of 17 per year have been shot over the last five years in Chicago. These are our students being killed and our communities are being threatened by gun violence every day—communities where our members live and work. As of May 25, 2018, a period of 21 weeks, there were a total of 23 school shootings in the U.S. Our pension fund cannot choose profits over lives.
The CTPF is also a leader in diversity and inclusion when it comes to investing. As of July 2018, the CTPF has 42 percent of its investments—$4.5 billion—with businesses owned by minorities, women and individuals living with disabilities. This is inclusive of 24.3 percent ($2.7 billion) invested with women-owned businesses, 10.5 percent ($1.2 billion) invested with African American-owned businesses, 5 percent ($550 million) invested with Latino-owned businesses, 1.6 percent ($181 million) invested with Asian American-owned businesses and $18 million invested with businesses owned by individuals living disabilities. The CTPF recognizes the importance of investing with companies that reflect our membership demographics, and has taken action to make significant investments with these companies.
I have joined a hardworking, socially-conscious Board of Trustees and pension fund staff and I am proud to be a part of it. Our pension fund must grow and protect our pensions, but must do so without hurting the students we serve, their families and communities, as well as our own members and the communities where they live and work. We also must avoid investments that hurt public education through privatization and disinvestment in public schools and school communities, and have adverse effects on working people.
Please check out the new CTPF website at www.ctpf.org to see what great things our pension fund is doing. Solidarity!
Jim Cavallero is a teacher at Chicago Academy High School, CTU delegate and CTPF trustee.