Treatment stores

Investors, regulators and Congress focus on companies’ treatment of workers

Brown, who chairs the Senate Banking Committee, and Warner, who introduced legislation in May that would hold companies accountable for certain labor management measures, said in a letter to Gensler that companies should note whether they use contract workers such as security personnel, janitorial and maintenance personnel, food service workers and housekeepers as part of their “material labor”.

This data, along with metrics on health and safety, training, turnover rates and wages, would help inform asset managers and shareholders about how the companies they invest in are treating all of their staff, the senators said in the letter. Investor decision-making would be “completely incomplete” without this important information about contractors and other workers.

“In recent decades, companies have replaced internal operations with contracts, gig work or other forms of freelance and contract work that reduce short-term costs to the company but come at the expense of workers, who receive fewer benefits, lower wages, and have less upward mobility within the organization,” Warner and Brown said.

“This is one of the defining tensions that has emerged as companies have prioritized short-term profits over investments in their workforce and long-term productivity. As you know, these decisions have significant effects on a company’s financial performance,” they added.