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Missionary Oblates Welcome new Anti-Trafficking bill in U.S. Congress July 29th, 2015

Missionary Oblates JPIC office, in collaboration with the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR) and The Coalition of Catholic Organizations against Human Trafficking, applaud the introduction in the House of Representatives the Business Supply Chain Transparency on Trafficking and Slavery Act of 2015.

The proposed legislation is co-sponsored by Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ). If passed into law, the bill would require large public corporations  to disclose any of their attempts to prevent human trafficking, child labor and slavery in their supply chains in their annual reports to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

This news comes just after the release on July 27 of the State Department’s 2015 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report, which stresses that governments, “set clear expectations for businesses on human rights issues and adopt policies that promote greater transparency and better reporting on anti-trafficking efforts in supply chains.”



Catholic and Episcopal Bishops of Western New York Issue Joint Call for Shared Prosperity March 4th, 2015

The Right Rev. R. William Franklin, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Western New York, and Most Reverend Richard Joseph Malone, Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Buffalo issued am inspiring joint pastoral letter late last year, which we would like to share more widely. Our thanks go out to Fr. Harry Winter, OMI for bringing the pastoral letter to our attention. 

Bishop Malone-Bishop FranklinThe western New York region is undergoing much-needed economic revival, after years of decline. There is a real danger though, as the two bishops point out, that many are being left out. “Yet at this time not everyone is benefitting. Blacks and Hispanics still live in poverty in greater proportion than do other groups in our population. Children still go to bed hungry. Jobs and security elude too many families. And because some are left out and locked out, the rest of us are poorer. We fail to benefit as much as we might from this new golden age. This must change.”

They go on to say, “This is our hope for Western New York, where the prosperity generated in one place of renewal must ripple throughout the region. The economic renewal of our region must be a renewal of the Gospel values and ethics that we share as sisters and brothers in the Christian faith. What we say and pray on Sundays must now go out into the world, into the workplace, to the ballot box and to the councils of government to ensure that Western New York becomes a more prosperous community, not only in dollars, but in our investment in each other. Jesus did not call for a society in which each person was out solely for personal gain. He called for a kingdom of shared prosperity, generosity and justice, a society that is more human because it is in conformity with the Kingdom of God.

Their letter urges government and business leaders to “further all efforts to make opportunities for employment, training, and advancement that grow out of this hopeful time of growth and expansion accessible to all.”

Read the Joint Pastoral Letter on the Renewal of Western New York here (Access PDF)

The Pope Speaks out on the Economy December 3rd, 2013

Father-SeamusFr. Seamus Finn, OMI was interviewed today by The Lay Catholic on the Pope’s recent exhortation, The Joy of the Gospel.

“…Father Finn said the last two decades in the United States have witnessed a “growth in wealth in assets for the top 1 percent and stagnation of wages and assets for the middle class,” resulting in “widening gaps between a very, very small number of people at the top, a middle class that’s holding its own, and an impoverished sector that is barely hanging on and very dependent on the charity of others.”

“Father Finn said Pope Francis’ portrayal of the ideological struggle over state intervention in the economy is realistic, as exemplified by current debates in the U.S.”

“We have a whole number of folks who are saying, let’s shrink the size of government, let’s let the market and the private sector come up with and propose solutions,” particularly in the education and health care sectors, he said. “And we’ve got lots of other people saying, that’s leaving a lot of collateral damage out there. Who’s responsible for it?”

Read the interview here…

CEO Pay Goes Through the Roof October 23rd, 2013

The Guardian newspaper in London reported, “For the first time ever, the 10 highest-paid chief executives in the US received more than $100m in compensation last year, and two took home billion-dollar paychecks, according to a leading annual survey of executive pay.”

The studied showed that the top 10 CEOs in this year’s poll took home over $4.7bn between them, and “for the first time ever, none earned less than $100m.”

“I have never seen anything like that,” said Greg Ruel, GMI’s senior research consultant and author of the report. “Usually we have a few CEOs at the $100m-plus level but never the entire top 10.”

Father Seamus Finn, a corporate governance expert at Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, said the numbers were ‘ridiculous’.”

“It’s an amazing number. Who knows how compensation committees come up with them?”

Finn, who has campaigned against what he sees as excessive remuneration at companies including Goldman Sachs, said boards often argued that they would lose talent unless they paid top management huge sums.

“But I’ve seen no evidence of that,” he said. “These huge pay deals are seldom linked to shareholder returns.”

Nearly all the outsized gains came from stock options and other share-related compensation. The top 10 made $3.3bn in 2012 on stock option profits and the vesting of restricted stock. Cash bonuses totalled $16.2m.

See the full article at The Guardian Newspaper

Financial Transparency Coalition Meets in Africa on Problem of Illicit Financial Flows September 30th, 2013

tax_us_if_yu_canThe new Financial Transparency Coalition is meeting in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania on October 1-2. The theme for the conference, is  “Towards Transparency: Making the Global Financial System Work for Development.” Fr. Seamus Finn, OMI, US JPIC Office Director,  is officially representing ICCR (Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility) at the conference.

Nearly a trillion dollars a year has been secreted out of developing countries, robbing them of revenue needed desperately for development. The coalition was formed to do something about this problem that is central to the development of poor countries. According to the Coalition, half of the illicit financial flows – a staggering $500 billion – is coming from Africa. Flowing from crime, corruption, and tax evasion, these illicit transfers represent a drain on developing economies that is equivalent to eight times the size of global foreign aid.

The US JPIC Office is involved in several inter-connected organizations in Washington, DC, working for greater financial justice and transparency. These include the Tax Justice Network USA, (where Fr. Finn serves on the Board), and the FACT coalition (Financial Accountability and Corporate Transparency Campaign). The international Financial Transparency Coalition was launched in May of 2013, in response to the growing awareness and activism around the problem of illicit financial flows.

Learn more…



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