Investors Call on Companies to do Their Part to Support Workers and Markets During the Coronavirus Crisis by prioritizing safety, paid leave and the maintenance of business and employment relationships to support communities and the markets as global pandemic unfolds. News Release
The Dominican Sisters ~ Grand Rapids have long been members of the Interfaith Center for Corporate Responsibility. With them (over 300 faith-based investors and collaborators), there are many ways we are able to be responsible for the just use of our investments.
On March 26, 2020, we joined with nearly 200 investors in issuing a 5-point plan for businesses outlining ways to protect workers amid the COVID-19 crisis: provide paid leave, prioritize health/safety, maintain employment, keep supplier/customer relationships, and fiscal prudence.
One of the ways is to join with these investors in sending advocacy letters. This occurs at least once a month and has addressed topics of forced labor, EPA regulations, pharmaceutical pricing, gun violence, sexual harassment, SNAP programs and the like.
Here are excerpts from our most recent letter.
…we urge the business community to take what steps they can and to consider the following steps in particular:
1. Provide paid leave: We urge companies to make emergency paid leave available to all employees, including temporary, part time, and subcontracted workers. Without paid leave, social distancing and self-isolation are not broadly possible.
2. Prioritize health and safety: Protecting worker and public safety is essential for maintaining business reputations, consumer confidence and the social license to operate, as well as staying operational. Workers should avoid or limit exposure to COVID-19 as much as possible. Potential measures include rotating shifts; remote work; enhanced protections, trainings or cleaning; adopting the occupational safety and health guidance, and closing locations, if necessary.
3. Maintain employment: We support companies taking every measure to retain workers as widespread unemployment will only exacerbate the current crisis. Retaining a well-trained and committed workforce will permit companies to resume operations as quickly as possible once the crisis is resolved. Companies considering layoffs should also be mindful of potential discriminatory impact and the risk for subsequent employment discrimination cases.
4. Maintain supplier/customer relationships: As much as possible, maintaining timely or prompt payments to suppliers and working with customers facing financial challenges will help to stabilize the economy, protect our communities and small businesses and ensure a stable supply chain is in place for business operations to resume normally in the future.
5. Financial prudence: During this period of market stress, we expect the highest level of ethical financial management and responsibility. As responsible investors, we recognize this may include companies’ suspending share buybacks and showing support for the predicaments of their constituencies by limiting executive and senior management compensation for the duration of this crisis.