March 07, 2022

AFSCME calls for help for Ukraine

AFSCME Council 31 stands with the people of Ukraine against the brutal assault on their nation and their democracy.

The union sent letters on March 7 to the Illinois State Board of Investment, which governs investment policy for the State Employees’ Retirement System, as well as to other public pension funds in Illinois in which AFSCME members participate, calling for the prudent divestment of pension fund assets with ties to Russia.

“AFSCME strongly condemns Putin’s shameful assault on the nation of Ukraine. Each of us must do our part to support the valiant resistance of the Ukrainian people in their struggle to protect their democracy,” Council 31 Executive Director Roberta Lynch said. “This is truly a global emergency that compels all freedom-loving people of conscience to take urgent action to support the people of Ukraine.”

Soon after, Brian Collins, executive director of the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund, replied to AFSCME's letter, stating: "Please rest assured that we have been examining our portfolio for investments in Russia and will be discussing the matter with our full Board at our March 24-25 meeting."

Earlier in March, the AFSCME International Executive Board passed a resolution expressing our solidarity with the people of Ukraine, including the call for public pension fund divestment from assets linked to Russia. 

“Ukrainians are demonstrating extraordinary courage and resolve in standing up to a violent autocrat,” AFSCME President Lee Saunders said. “Their defense of their country is nothing short of inspiring. AFSCME’s belief in human rights—wherever in the world they may be threatened—demands that we do what we can.”

Send help to Ukraine

AFSCME is urging union members to consider a contribution to international relief organizations that are moving humanitarian aid to the people of Ukraine, who are engaged in a heroic fight to save their families, their communities and their nation.

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