AFL-CIO Key Votes

Since 1997, the AFL-CIO’s Key Votes Survey has helped pension fund trustees fulfill their fiduciary obligations to monitor their investment managers’ proxy voting performance. The proposals included in the Key Votes Survey are submitted by a variety of union-sponsored and public pension funds, employee shareholders and other investors and are consistent with the AFL-CIO Proxy Voting Guidelines. The Key Votes Survey is a record of how investment managers, mutual fund and proxy voting consultants voted the shares they manage on behalf of worker funds on key issues at annual meetings during the proxy season.

Those with low scores are unlikely to find labor-based funds lining up for services. See results from the 2009 AFL-CIO Key Votes Survey.

Updates to the 2010 scorecard will be distributed as data becomes available. I see that one of the proposals on this year’s scorecard has already been voted. Shareowners at Whole Foods approved a resolution from Amalgamated Bank’s LongView Funds to roll back a bylaw change that directors put in place a few months after the SEC closed an investigation into the online chat activities of  John Mackey in April 2008. The proposal would permit sharewners to remove a director either “with or without cause.”

When they lowered their standards to with cause only, the board redefined “cause” narrowly as covering only a criminal indictment or a judicial finding that a director had breached his or her fiduciary duties to the Company or was not capable of performing a director’s responsibility. The proposal won 53% support. Over the next several months, we will see how the other scorecard resolutions fare.

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