Treasurer Beth Pearce and VPIC urge worker protections during COVID-19 crisis

Vermont Business Magazine Vermont State Treasurer Beth Pearce and the Vermont Pension Investment Committee (VPIC) have joined more than 251 institutional investors to urge the business community to take measures to protect their workforce, community, and markets as they confront the COVID-19 crisis.
“In Vermont, we stand together and support one another through times of hardship,” said Treasurer Pearce. “It is important that our investments reflect these values. COVID-19 is an unprecedented crisis. We believe that the companies we invest in have an obligation to support their employees, especially during this public health emergency. That means retaining as much of the workforce as possible, while prioritizing worker safety with adequate health care and paid leave.”
In a March 26 statement, Treasurer Pearce, VPIC, and institutional investors with $6.4 trillion in assets under management called on companies to prioritize worker retention, health and safety measures, paid leave, and ethical financial operations. The statement was organized by the New York City Comptroller’s Office, Domini Impact Investments, and the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility.
The statement urges additional actions to protect employee rights and provide needed services. “We hope companies and their boards will consider measures beyond these recommendations, particularly those that are faring well in these difficult times. Such measures may include childcare assistance, hazard pay, assistance in accessing government support programs, employer-paid health insurance for laid off workers, or deploying resources to address current needs related to the pandemic.”
The Vermont Treasurer’s Office and VPIC have a long history of shareholder engagement, with a specific focus on environmental, social, and governance issues (ESG). The Treasurer’s Office believes incorporating ESG risk factors into decisions leads to better long-term investment performance.
“As State Treasurer, my focus is on ensuring all Vermonters can achieve economic prosperity. COVID-19 is testing our organizations, businesses, and workers in ways we’ve never experienced. To recover, we will need a strong, well-trained workforce. I want to thank those businesses who are actively supporting their employees to minimize disruptions during this challenging time. Together we can strengthen our economy and work toward a recovery that leaves no one behind,” Pearce concluded.
Source: MONTPELIER, VT — Vermont State Treasurer 4.7.2020