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The 2015 Pension 40: Randi Weingarten

No. 4 Randi Weingarten, President / American Federation of Teachers

Randi Weingarten
President /
American Federation of Teachers
Last year: 3

As president of the 1.6 million-member American Federation of Teachers, Randi Weingarten, 58, is among the most vocal supporters of defined benefit pensions, asserting that, among other positives, they spur economic development. Every dollar paid for pension benefits generates $2.25 in output, she notes. Since 2011 the AFT has partnered with other unions and the Clinton Global Initiative to invest in U.S. infrastructure. In early November the AFT launched an advertising campaign touting public pension plan investment — through a consortium, LaGuardia Gateway Partners, that includes the California State Teachers' Retirement System — in the $3.6 billion overhaul of New York’s LaGuardia Airport. “When the economy rebounds, more people should be able to take part in the American dream,” says Weingarten, who majored in labor relations at Cornell University and graduated from Yeshiva University’s Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law before working as a labor attorney and a high school history teacher in New York. “Part of this means getting good returns, fixing our crumbling roads and bridges, and creating good jobs.” Though AFT favors infrastructure, another investment doesn’t sit well with its president: hedge funds. “Not all hedge funds are bad,” she says. “But some are trying to kill the same plans that are investing in them.” Weingarten wants hedge fund managers seeking capital from pension plans to disclose any affiliations with organizations actively working to phase out defined benefit plans. In a recent report, the AFT spotlighted hedge fund managers’ links to organizations such as the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research and StudentsFirst, a lobbying organization for charter schools.

The 2015 Pension 40

1. Bruce Rauner
2. John & Laura Arnold
Laura and John Arnold Foundation
3. Chris Christie
New Jersey
4. Randi Weingarten
AmericanFederation of Teachers
5. Phyllis Borzi
U.S. Department
of Labor
6. Kevin de León
7. Alejandro García Padilla
Commonwealth ofPuerto Rico
8. Laurence Fink
9. Rahm Emanuel
10. Sean McGarvey
North AmericanBuilding Trades Unions
11. John Kline
12. J. Mark Iwry
U.S. Treasury
13. Damon Silvers
14. Jeffrey Immelt
Electric Co.
15. Joshua Gotbaum
Brookings Institution
16. Robin Diamonte
United Technologies Corp.
17. Mark Mullet
18. Terry O'Sullivan
Laborers' International Union of North America
19. Raymond Dalio
Bridgewater Associates
20. Ted Wheeler
21. Thomas Nyhan
Central States Southeast and Southwest Areas Pension Fund
22. Karen Ferguson & Karen Friedman
Pensions Rights Center
23. Randy DeFrehn
National Coordinating Committee forMultiemployer Plans
24. Robert O'Keef
Motorola Solutions
25. Caitlin Long
Morgan Stanley
26. Kenneth Feinberg
The Law Offices
of Kenneth R. Feinberg
27. Orrin Hatch
28. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend
Center for Retirement Initiatives, Georgetown University
29. Ian Lanoff
Groom Law Group
30. Joshua Rauh
Stanford Graduate School of Business
31. Ted Eliopoulos
California Public Employees' Retirement System
32. Edward (Ted) Siedle
Benchmark Financial Services
33. Teresa Ghilarducci
New School for Social Research
34. Denise Nappier
35. W. Thomas Reeder Jr.
Pension BenefitGuaranty Corp.
36. Hank Kim
National Conference on Public Employee Retirement Systems
37. Paul Singer
Elliott Management Corp.
38. Bailey Childers
National PublicPension Coalition
39. Amy Kessler
Prudential Financial
40. Judy Mares
U.S. Labor Department

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