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Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate  United States Province

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Walmart Announces Increases in Wages/Opportunities for Walmart Associates February 20th, 2015

walmart_exterior

The Missionary Oblates JPIC USA and the OIP Trust have been a part of the ongoing conversation that shareholders have sustained with Walmart over many years. In a meeting with Walmart CEO Doug McMillion in 2014, the need to deal with income inequality and the inadequacy of minimum wage levels was on the agenda and openly debated. He listened attentively and participated. Fr. Seamus Finn, OMI, who participated in these dialogs, said: “We are pleased by the announcement that the company has made, because it will make a real difference in the lives of so many individuals and families and hopefully press other companies and the Congress of the United States to address these issues that are real challenges for our society and the future wellbeing of so many families.”

Members of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR) and shareholders of Walmart were heartened by Walmart’s announcement on February 19th,  of measures it is taking to improve both wages and opportunities for advancement for its 1.3 million U.S. employees.

ICCR members who have long engaged the company on employee wage and benefit issues are hopeful that, as the world’s largest employer, Walmart’s announcement will send a strong signal of the importance of raising wages for U.S. workers. The shareholder coalition has engaged companies in a range of sectors, including agriculture, apparel, consumer goods, restaurant, and technology on similar issues throughout their global supply chains. According to the package of changes the company announced today, Walmart has committed to increasing its base pay rate to $9/hr. in all markets and to raising its current associates’ wages to $10 an hour or higher by early next year. For reference, the current federal minimum wage is $7.25/hr. In addition the company is reforming how schedules are developed for its Associates and investing in capacity-building programs that will provide internal advancement opportunities.

Read the full ICCR press release for more on the Walmart announcement…

See the Walmart video announcement to its employees on the recent changes…


Important Advances in Pediatric AIDS Drug Development December 3rd, 2014

moment_quoteWorld AIDS Day saw two important announcements regarding development of much-needed pediatric AIDS drugs. This is an issue on which the Oblates and other faith-based investors in the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR) have pressed pharmaceutical companies on for years. Since most pediatric AIDS patients are in poor, developing countries, the usual market incentive for drug development does not exist. And, the development of pediatric AIDS drugs, particularly for infants, is challenging. ICCR members have actively encouraged the major pharmaceutical companies to participate in the Medicines Patent Pool, a mechanism established under the auspices of the UN to ‘pool’ patents for drugs to make existing formulations more readily available for generic production and for innovative fixed dose combinations to be developed.

On Monday, World AIDS Day, Abbvie announced a licensing agreement for lopinavir (LPV) and ritonavir (r), top World Health Organization-recommended medicines for children. The license will enable other companies and organizations to re-formulate and manufacture specially designed LPV/r and r pediatric treatments for distribution in low- and middle-income countries where 99% of children with HIV in the developing world live. [Abbvie is a spinoff of Abbott Laboratories that contains the research-based pharmaceutical business.]

On the same day, the HIV Medicines Research Industry Forum announced that the forum is joining PEPFAR, the Global Fund, and the Pediatric HIV Treatment Initiative (PHTI) in the newly established “Global Pediatric Antiretroviral (ARV) Commitment-to-Action” to accelerate innovation and save children’s lives. The initiative is designed to accelerate the development of new, high-priority pediatric ARV co-formulations for first- and second-line treatment by 2017.

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Fr Seamus Finn, OMI Elected Chair of ICCR Governing Board September 2nd, 2014

Fr. Seamus Finn, OMI and Sr. Judy Byron, OP at the ICCR meetings

Fr. Seamus Finn, OMI and Sr. Judy Byron, OP
at ICCR meetings in NY

Our own Seamus Finn, OMI has been elected Chair of the Governing Board of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility. This is an acknowledgement not only of his substantial experience in the field of faith constant and socially responsible investing, but also of the value of his strategic thinking in this area, for ICCR and other faith-based investing initiatives.

Learn more about ICCR here.

 

 


Oblates and ICCR Meet with Walmart CEO August 30th, 2014

Oblates and ICCR meet with new Walmart CEO Doug MacMillan at company headquarters in Bentonville AK in July

Oblates and ICCR meet with new Walmart CEO Doug MacMillan at company headquarters in Bentonville AK in July

 

 


Kidnapping in Nigeria a Tragic Reminder that Trafficking and Slavery Persist Worldwide May 16th, 2014

Constant vigilance and the full participation of all stakeholders is required to guard against hidden human rights abuses.

ICE.gove_trafficing-225x225Over 200 schoolgirls were kidnapped on April 14th by Boko Haram in Nigeria, setting off a firestorm of concern from around the world. In messages to the Nigerian government the extremists have referred to the girls as slaves and threatened to “sell them on the market”. The Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR), a shareholder coalition that has been working to highlight human trafficking and modern slavery in corporate supply chains, adds it voice to the many religious, governmental, non-governmental and international institutions calling for the mobilization of all necessary resources and expertise to help locate and free the missing girls. The Oblates are active participants in ICCR and work through the coalition to abolish human trafficking and modern day slavery.

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Faith-based Investors Celebrate Victory in Wells Fargo Pay Day Lending Decision January 17th, 2014

Wells-FargoWells Fargo, a major US bank targeted by faith-based investors for their harmful pay day lending practices, announced today that they would discontinue their Direct Deposit Advance service. This is a huge victory on behalf of those who have fallen prey to this predatory lending.

In a Shareholder Resolution with Wells Fargo, which the Oblates co-filed in 2012 and 2013, and in dialogs with company officials, ICCR members raised serious concerns about these loans, their impact on people, and the risks to the bank by engaging in such practices.

ICCR issued a press release on the bank’s decision:

After a long-term engagement with Wells Fargo to promote more responsible lending products, today members of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR) wish to commend management for making the right decision in ending its Direct Deposit Advance program. The company issued a statementtoday announcing that it would discontinue the product effective February 1st.

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