The International Union of Operating Engineers, which represents some 12,000 state maintenance workers, is another organization urging Cal PERS to focus on making money.
“It’s time for Cal PERS to re-evaluate their investment strategies and focus more on improving their investment returns and less on ‘socially responsible’ investments,” said Steve Crouch, its director of public employees.
He won accolades for keeping Stryker's performance steady as the market for orthopedics stalled amid federal probes and the economic downturn.
His recent appearances at Cal PERS meetings are signs that some law enforcement and labor organizations are speaking up against proposals that would force the retirement fund to withdraw its investments from specific industries.
That matters because both Cal PERS and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System are badly underfunded, with each holding assets worth about two-thirds of what they’d need if they had to pay all of the benefits they owe immediately.
If the funds don’t catch up, taxpayers eventually could be forced to make up the difference.
The most prominent proposal this year would have compelled Cal PERS to divest from companies that do business with the Dakota Access Pipeline, the controversial 1,200-mile pipeline opposed by the Standing Rock Sioux tribe in South Dakota.
Assemblyman Ash Kalra, D-San Jose, later modified his bill to require Cal PERS to publish a report on its pipeline-related investments.