SALEM, Ore.—Working together will help our children and our economy, said a union-affiliated financial and investment firm and the president of the American Federation of Teachers, as they joined Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber today to announce an investment of up to $15 million in Oregon public schools, including low-cost energy retrofits.
Through a collaboration with government, unions and businesses, the union-owned financial services company Ullico will work with the state to identify appropriate investments in Oregon public schools and infrastructure of up to $15 million. The investments will be through Gov. Kitzhaber's Cool Schools initiative, which is setting a national example for its commitment to investing in public schools.
In its pilot phase, the Cool Schools initiative has performed state-of-the-art audits of nearly 400 schools; has negotiated with 12 school districts on up to $11 million in low-cost energy retrofit financing; and has made commitments to lend $4.7 million to eight school districts, improving 28 individual schools located in communities across the state. The initiative has increased capacity and improved awareness of these efforts, teaming with contractors, energy services companies, school districts, Oregon unions, and education service districts.
"Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber has shown real leadership in launching the Cool Schools initiative earlier this year, which was supported by AFT-Oregon and OSEA. We're gratified that in working together, we can ensure that our children have access to facilities which help them reach their potential," said Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers.
The investment will create 150 to 225 good full-time equivalent (FTE) building trades jobs in Oregon, and will support projects in schools located in communities statewide.
"These types of investments are invaluable to the members of the building trades who are truly grateful for the opportunity to return to work and help strengthen the communities in which they work and live," said AFL-CIO Building and Construction Trades Department President Mark Ayers.
"Ullico remains committed to providing specialty insurance and investment products in a financially sound and prudent manner. That was true at the founding of the company in 1927, and remains true today as it meets the dynamic needs of working men and women," said CEO Edward M. Smith.
"The labor movement and its affiliated financial institutions are committed to serving the interest of union members by providing a secure retirement, putting our members back to work, and as is the case with today's investment, ensuring that every child and teacher be positioned to succeed in state-of-the-art schools and learning environments," said AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler.
This announcement is part of a broad "commitment to action" made by a number of unions and investors through the Clinton Global Initiative earlier this year. One of the actions will be to help provide financing for energy retrofits through labor-affiliated financial institutions. Construction of these retrofits would create thousands of good jobs, develop new industries in the United States, enhance our country's global competitiveness and reduce the threat of climate change.