Appeals to Roger Ferguson,
President & CEO, TIAA-CREF

Letters from Richard Trumka, President & CEO, AFL-CIO; Ray Rogers, Director, Corporate Campaign, Inc.; Randi, Weingarten, President, American Federation of Teachers

Letter from Richard Trumka, President, AFL-CIO

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October 1, 2012

Roger Ferguson
President & CEO
730 Third Avenue
New York, NY 10017-3206

Re: Construction of 5·11 47th Avenue, New York City

Dear Roger:

I have enjoyed working with you on efforts to rebuild our economy through President Obama's Economic Recovery Advisory Board and the President's Commission on Jobs and Competitiveness. Knowing how strongly you feel about jobs and the economic recovery, I am writing about the construction of a 181-unit residential building at 5-11 47th Avenue, Long Island City, in Queens, New York.

I have been informed that the TIAA-CREF is both a lender and equity investor in the real estate project where construction has just begun. TIAA-CREF's efforts to invest in projects that will create jobs are a welcome boost to the economy. However, this particular project is being constructed using non-union labor through McGowan Builders. It is my understanding that this contractor is paying low wages that 'do not meet area labor standards, Including health care and pension benefits.

TIAA-CREF has a long-standing commitment to socially responsible Investing and this construction project is an excellent opportunity to create good well-paying jobs for unemployed construction workers in New York City. To this end, we ask that TIAA-CREF seek a project labor agreement with the Construction and Building Trades Council of Greater New York for the construction project on 471r1 Avenue .

A project labor agreement would establish the terms and conditions of employment for the project. In addition to providing collateral benefits to the local community by creating good jobs, a project labor agreement will help ensure that the project is completed on schedule and within the budget. Union contractors are more likely to have highly trained employees, better safety records and a stable workforce.

Going forward, TIAA-CREF can send a strong message about Its commitment to socially responsible investing by adopting a "responsible contractor" policy for its real estate Investments. Responsible contractor policies require the payment of fair wages$ and benefits based on local market conditions.

If' can be of help In the matter In any way, please contact me or Brandon Rees, Acting Director of the AFL-CIO Office of investment at (202) 637-5152.

Richard L. Trumka


Vincent Alvarez, President
New York City Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO

Gary La Barbara, President
Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York

Mario Cilento, President
New York State AFL-CIO

Letter from Ray Rogers, Director, Corporate Campaign, Inc.

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November 9, 2012

Roger Ferguson
President & CEO
730 Third Avenue
New York, NY 10017-3206

Dear Roger:

I am writing to speak with you about a serious issue that I hope can be rectified quietly and behind closed doors. My firm, Corporate Campaign, Inc., has been retained by the New York City & Vicinity District Council of Carpenters (NYCDCC) to develop a Campaign to Stop Construction Sweatshops.

This campaign is aimed at owners, developers and contractors of building projects that are undermining the working standards that carpenters and other building trades unions have struggled so hard over the years to create.

These working standards aim to protect fair wages and benefits and the health, safety and rights of workers in an industry where serious injuries and fatalities are too commonplace.

I am sure that as the President and CEO of TIAA-CREF, who has been working with President Obama on economic recovery, you understand the importance of a strong and growing middle class to sustain economic recovery. To maintain a strong middle class and to keep the American Dream a reality, workers need vibrant labor unions and quality jobs, not the kind of jobs you find at McDonald's or in Construction Sweatshops.

Unfortunately, TIAA-CREF has been found to be both financing and holding equity in what the Carpenters deem to be a construction sweatshop. I am aware of efforts by the NYCDCC to arrange a high-level meeting with TIAA-CREF but have been so far unsuccessful.

Before embarking upon a highly-visible and far-reaching campaign directed at TIAA-CREF and the developer and contractors involved in this construction project, I would like to ask you to schedule a meeting with representatives of the NYCDCC and me to try to resolve this conflict before TIAA-CREF/O'Connor Capital Partners/McGowan Builders become the first target of the Campaign to Stop Construction Sweatshops.

In preparing for this Campaign, we are in the process of developing a website,, which will highlight the issues, Campaign activities, reports and literature, such as the attached four-page brochure. In addition to distributing hundreds of thousands of printed copies to TIAA-CREF's constituency at universities and various other sites throughout the city, the brochure, accompanied by a cover letter, will also be sent via the Internet to tens of thousands of union leaders and members throughout the country, including thousands of elected representatives of teachers' unions, such as the Professional Staff Congress-City University of New York, which represents 25,000 faculty and staff, and the Alabama Education Assn. which recently selected TIAA-CREF for its retirement plan provider for its 104,000 members.

I don't have to tell you this will become a public relations nightmare for TIAA-CREF. I hope we can meet soon to resolve this problem quickly.

Best regards,
Ray Rogers

Letter from Roger Ferguson, President & CEO, TIAA-CREF

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December 5, 2012

Ray Rogers, Director
Corporate Campaign, Inc.
Cooper Station, P.O. Box 10004
New York, New York 10276


Dear Ray:

Thank you for your letter, dated November 9,2012, concerning a building

in New York City where a subsidiary of TIAA is an equity investor. In your letter you request that TIAA-CREF schedule a meeting with you and the New York City & Vicinity District Council of Carpenters ("NYCDCC") concerning this project in order to prevent TIAA-CREF from becoming the "first target of the Campaign to Stop Construction Sweatshops." This threat is unnecessary and unfairly directed at TIAA-CREF.

First, thank you for acknowledging TIAA-CREF's commitment to socially responsible investing and our nearly 100 year, not-for-profit heritage serving those in the academic, research, medical and cultural fields plan for their retirement. We have a long history, based on our diverse participant base, of soliciting opinions, listening to diverse stakeholder views, and making the best possible decisions as guardians of the financial future for so many.

Second, as you know, we have had many constructive conversations over the last few years on a variety of issues related to TIAA-CREF investments. In those conversations, I and/or my staff have listened attentively to you in an effort to understand your concerns. This approach is consistent with TIAA-CREF's practice of engaging in constructive dialogues on many matters of importance to our participants. The key to those dialogues was that they were in the genuine interest of sharing new information and were conducted in a professional manner.

These elements are not present in this case. Despite explanations informing NYCDCC representatives of TIAA-CREF's limited role in this particular project and our contractually defined position therein, there has been no new evidence that any further discussion would benefit either party. Further, while we all can appreciate customary practices of protest and the right of freedom of expression generally, the tactics deployed by NYCDCC have neither been collegial nor professional.

To reiterate our position, we are not the lender on this project, only an equity investor. As an equity investor in the project, the contract does not provide TIAA-CREF the right unilaterally to change any construction management agreements. The general contractor of the project, McGowan, has control over building labor contracts and it is my understanding they conducted a full and open bidding for this project (with both union and non-union contractors competing). McGowan ultimately chose the contractors they did, after this full and deliberative process.

Beyond this specific project, it may be helpful to describe how we at TIAA- CREF think about these issues regarding our investments, generally. In making our investment decisions, we keep in mind that our primary responsibility is to obtain the best value and performance for the 3.7 million individuals who entrust their retirement savings to TIAA-CREF. As always, TIAA-CREF's partners, developers, and general contractors are selected through a competitive bidding process including a review of legal, labor and safety records. We look for the right firms to provide us with the best quality, execution and adherence to all applicable laws. We are committed to conducting our business in a manner that complies with all applicable laws and regulations. We work with best-in-class developers and property managers and we have a long-held position of neutrality on the use or non-use of unionized labor. This policy is designed to ensure that our potential partners seek terms and conditions that are in the best of interest of the individuals who invest in TIAA-CREF.

I further note that union labor is supporting a number of other TIAA-CREF investment properties, retrofitting and making capital improvement in at least five projects in midtown Manhattan including at our headquarter office. Indeed, where we are owners and/or have discretion over contractual terms we often engage union labor.

Once again, I thank you for sharing your opinion with us and trust that you respect our obligations regarding existing contracts and our policies related to evaluating investment opportunities. Of course, if you would like to discuss this matter further, my staff is willing to meet with you.

Very truly yours,

Roger W. Ferguson, Jr.

Letter from Randi Weingarten, President, American Federation of Teachers

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December 10, 2012

Mr. Roger W. Ferguson, Jr.
President and Chief Executive Officer
730 Third Avenue
New York, NY 10017-3206

Dear Roger,

Knowing TIAA-CREF's commitment to rebuilding the nation's economy and your personal commitment to your company's shareholders, I am writing about a situation regarding the construction of an 181-unit New York City residential building in which TIAA-CREF is an equity investor.

An AFT affiliate based in New York City, the Professional Staff Congress (PSC), which represents thousands of faculty members who participate in TIAA-CREF retirement instruments, has raised concerns regarding TIAA-CREF's participation in a construction project at 5-11 47th Avenue in Long Island City, New York where contractors have failed to fairly pay their employees or to provide benefits in accord with area labor standards. On behalf of the thousands of AFT members who choose TIAA-CREF to ensure a dignified retirement, I want to echo our affiliate's concern.

We thank TIAA-CREF's Stephen L. Brown, Esq., Director of Corporate Governance and Associate General Counsel, and Karen M. Elinski, Vice President and Associate General Council, for participating in a phone call on November 30th with members of AFT's staff and an officer of the Professional Staff Congress. We appreciate the open lines of communication and recognize that this is fundamental to any resolution.

The AFT understands that TIAA-CREF's policy statement on corporate governance and social responsibility practice are rooted in two strong believes - that II good governance practices and responsible corporate behavior contribute to the long-term performance of public companies" and that "strong corporate governance helps reduce investment risk and ensures that shareholder capital is used effectively."

In the spirit of TIAA-CREF's commitment to socially responsible investing and your commitment to rebuilding the economy, the AFT asks that the building construction projects in which you invest - even those in which you are a limited partner - use general contractors who meet area labor standards, including wages and health care and pension benefits. This approach with limited partnerships by TIAA-CREF should be reflected in both policy and practice.

I understand that as a result of the phone conversation I mentioned above, we are to have a follow-up meeting with representatives ofPSC, AFT staff and TIAA-CREF officials. I look forward to hearing how TIAA-CREF will ensure that investments in limited partnerships in the future will allow for a competitive return on investments while ensuring that those companies in receipt of TIAA-CREF investment dollars implement responsible contractor policies.

If I can be of any assistance on this matter, please do not hesitate to call me.


Randi Weingarten
President of the American Federation of Teachers


Barbara Bowen, President
Professional Staff Congress

Michael Fabricant, Treasurer
Professional Staff Congress

Craig Smith, Director
AFT Higher Education Division

Vincent Alvarez, President
New York City Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO

Gary LaBarbera, President
Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York

Mario Cilento, President
New York State AFL-CIO

After other efforts failed to get the attention of TIAA-CREF, NYC District Council of Carpenters Representative Michael Donnelly sent the following letter to TIAA-CREF's Managing Director/ Head of Global Social and Community Investing:

Dear Mrs. O'Brien,

As the Managing Director / Head of Global Social and Community Investing I would like your professional opinion as well as your organizations regarding the following:

The New York City District Council of Carpenters, as I am sure you are aware, has a labor dispute with McGowan Builders who is constructing a new building located at 5-11 47th Avenue Long Island City, New York 11101. Mr. Patrick McGowan the owner of McGowan Builders has stated himself, as have his project managers, that this project is "non-union" as per his "CLIENTS" request.

Mrs. O'Brien I can assure you that this is not a union vs non-union battle rather an AREA STANDARD WAGES and BENEFITS fight for whomever is performing the carpentry work on that job.

Our investigation has revealed that besides providing the funding Tiaa-Cref is an "equity partner" in this project.

Tiaa-Cref should have been aware that their partner in this project O'Connor Capital Partners has a consistent track record of hiring general contractors that do not pay their employees area standard wages or even provide the basics in healthcare benefits.

Some questions I have for your organization are:

Now that Tiaa-Cref is aware all the construction workers on their project are not afforded even the basics in healthcare nor a fair days pay for a fair days work, how do they plan to address these major issues?

How does this project fit into "socially responsible investing with a positive social impact"?

With these facts coming to light, are some or all of the parties involved falling short of ethical, fiduciary or other standards?

Does Tiaa-Cref plan to claim it has no corporate responsibility as a third party or equity partner in this project?

Now that Tiaa-Cref is aware of the situation, and I'm sure that the appropriate internal managers are investigating, will they request that their partner O'Connor Capital Partners and the general contractor McGowan Builders "respect labor and human rights" by ensuring that every construction worker is paid area standard wages and benefits as determined by the New York State Department of Labor?

Social change must start at home and be consistent to ensure positive social outcomes. Begin to practice what you preach to your shareholders.

The New York City District Council of Carpenters has a new very aggressive area standards campaign. We would prefer to work together with all involved parties rather that have an adversarial relationship but cannot idly sit by while these entities condone or support the erosion of area standard wages and benefits.

Contact the undersigned immediately if any of this information is incorrect to avoid having your organization becoming involved thru misunderstanding or error.

Michael Donnelly
New York City District Council of Carpenters
Council Representative

TIAA-CREF Roger Ferguson Campaign to Stop Construction Sweatshops Campaign to Stop Construction Sweatshops Campaign to Stop Construction Sweatshops Campaign to Stop Construction Sweatshops Campaign to Stop Construction Sweatshops