UNIONIZED CALPERS MEMBERS FOR FOSSIL FUEL DIVESTMENT
CalPERS is investing your retirement savings in Big Oil.
The California Public Employees' Retirement System provides over $27 billion to fossil fuel corporations that are building coal plants, oil pipelines and fracked gas wells.
That’s more than any other public pension in the country.
CalPERS is attempting to leverage our retirement savings to transform oil, gas, and coal corporations into clean energy companies. But these failed "shareholder engagement" efforts are not only ineffective—they're undermining climate action, and costing state workers billions in returns.
Fossil fuel divestment is the responsible thing to do for our pension and our planet. For the last seven years, CalPERS members and allies across California have been building a powerful campaign to hold CalPERS accountable for bankrolling the climate crisis.
Pass a divestment resolution in your local union
By default, our unions support CalPERS' fossil fuel investments.
This means our representatives can help pass legislation that keeps Big Oil in power by keeping California's public pensions invested in oil, gas, and coal corporations. You can challenge the status quo by passing a divestment resolution in your local union.
A divestment resolution makes it easier for your chapter to:
- Speak out against CalPERS bankrolling the climate crisis
- Endorse CalPERS Board candidates who support fossil fuel divestment
- Sign on in support of fossil fuel divestment legislation like SB 252
- Put pressure on CalPERS directly to divest
1. Build a crew
Getting your union to take a stand for CalPERS’ divestment from fossil fuels will take organizing to build support for that position before it is introduced and brought to a vote. Like electing a candidate, it will take a campaign.
Passing a divestment resolution is much easier with at least one person on board. A small team of 2-5 can work wonders.
2. Do your research
Figure out the structure of your local union. Who makes decisions—a representative council or an executive board? How do new items get on the agenda? How often are meetings scheduled?
Do a "power analysis" of the committee you're trying to impact. Who's on it? Who's in charge? Who's likely to be sympathetic, and who's likely to be opposed?
3. Prepare materials
It's helpful to have a one-pager ready with your main points for anyone who expresses interest.
You should also have a model resolution ready to go. Use our sample fossil fuel divestment resolution or write your own, with the style or format of resolutions that have already been passed by your local.
Have one-on-one discussions with the rank and file. Be sure to listen and let them air their concerns. Ask your colleagues who support to join you in signing a rank and file petition for CalPERS to divest.
5. Make your case
The next step is to get on the agenda for a vote. Plan ahead, keeping in mind that it can take time and effort to get a divestment resolution on the agenda.
Once you're on the agenda, make sure your supporters are committed to showing up, prepared to speak, and ready to support your resolution. Be ready for a motion to accept a prepared resolution and sign on in support of SB 252. Make sure you're ready with lots of good arguments, too!
When it's time to present, share your handout with everyone in the room. Encourage your supporters to speak in support of your resolution right away to set the right tone.
Don't forget to thank your supporters and CELEBRATE your victory!
Watch Our Webinar on Building Union Support
Join our Union Team
We're keeping the pressure on CalPERS to divest from fossil fuels once and for all.
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Labor Network for Sustainability: Should Your Union's Pension Fund Divest from Fossil Fuels?
Fossil Free California: Why Divest?
Sindre Carlsen & Jonathan Li: CalPERS’ Portfolio Harbors Nearly $45 Billion in Stranded Fossil Fuel Assets
DeSmog: America’s Biggest Public Pension Fund is Slow-Walking Corporate Climate Action, Report Charges
Corporate Knights: CalPERS Pays High Cost for Holding on to Fossil Fuel Stocks
DeSmog: As California Considers Dropping Fossil Fuels from Major Pension Funds, New Report Calls Out ‘Misinformation’ on Costs
UC Berkeley Undergraduate Research Apprentice Program: Analyzing the Financial Risk of Holding Fossil Fuel Assets in CalPERS’ Portfolio
Sandy Emerson: CalPERS’ Ambition is Too Low; Climate Action Too Slow
Carlos Davidson: Shareholder Engagement with Fossil Fuel Companies is a Failure for Climate Change