Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Protesters gather outside TIAA-CREF shareholder meeting

David Matos is a member of the US Campaign Steering Committee.

By Beck Bereiter
July 19th, 2011

With organized chants and giant signs, dozens gathered outside TIAA CREF's annual shareholder's meeting in Charlotte Tuesday.

The group, Jewish Voice for Peace, is calling on the Fortune 100 financial services company to cut ties with companies in its investment portfolio they say are profiting from the Israeli occupation. They referenced companies like Caterpillar Inc. and Veolia.

"It's so important what we do with our money, especially money that's for people's retirement," said Jerry Markatos, who came all the way from Pittsboro to attend the demonstration.

Earlier this year, a group of shareholders say they tried to get the resolution on the agenda but that request was denied.

David Matos, US Campaign
Steering Committee member
"We have some people inside who are going to bring it up during the open question and answer period but they are trying their hardest not to talk about it at all," said Rebecca Vilkomerson, with Jewish Voice for Peace.

"TIAA CREF's slogan is 'For the greater good.' It is not for the greater good to keep their money in the Israeli occupation," added fellow organizer David Matos.

According to the company's website, TIAA CREF is a leading retirement provider for those who work in the academic, research, medical, and cultural fields.

While security did not allow cameras inside the meeting, a spokesperson emailed the following statement on the matter:

“Our investment committee makes decisions that are guided by our corporate governance policies. We are always listening and determining how best to serve clients according to our guidelines.”