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For Immediate Release
June 29, 2021

Statement by UUP President Frederick E. Kowal on SUNY move to offer environmentally and socially conscious retirement investment choices for employees

This is UUP’s response to SUNY’s June 29 media release announcing the formation of a working group that will review and expand SUNY retirement options through the Teachers Insurance and Annuities Association of America to include more clean energy and socially responsible companies.

“UUP supports SUNY’s decision to form a working group to review and widen investment options offered by TIAA, the Teachers Insurance and Annuities Association of America, to include more socially and environmentally responsible investments for SUNY employees.

“Our union also approves of Chancellor Malatras’ plans for a SUNY-wide campaign to educate employees about SUNY Retirement System investment options for environmentally and socially conscious investors.

“We hope that this working group will act quickly to identify clean energy and socially responsible investment options for our members and recommend swift divestment from fossil fuels and other environmentally harmful industries.

“For months, UUP has publicly called for TIAA to divest from all investments in fossil fuels and agribusiness. In January, more than 300 delegates to UUP’s 2021 Winter Delegate Assembly passed a resolution demanding that SUNY pressure TIAA to divest from these companies.

“Many of our members are concerned and distressed that their retirement dollars are being used to finance companies that are not environmentally or socially responsible.

"The climate crisis is real and the time to act is now. It is important that TIAA actively pursue and offer investment options in companies with solid social and environmental justice platforms. While we applaud SUNY’s efforts, UUP stands firm that TIAA should divest from fossil fuels and agribusiness.”

UUP is the nation's largest higher education union, with more than 42,000 academic and professional faculty and retirees. UUP members work at 29 New York state-operated campuses, including SUNY’s public teaching hospitals and health science centers in Brooklyn, Long Island and Syracuse. It is an affiliate of NYSUT, the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association, and the AFL-CIO.


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