PRIDE Labor-Management investment summit touts benefits of union pension fund investments

GRIFFIN GOETZ, director of institutional sales for ULLICO, answers questions from the floor during the recent PRIDE Labor-Management Investment Summit. – Labor Tribune photo



With the busy summer construction season already well under way, PRIDE Labor-Management is reminding union pension fund trustees of the opportunity to help create jobs while securing their members’ retirement by investing in trusted funds.

The nation’s oldest construction labor-management organization hosted its sixth annual “Investment Summit” recently in St. Louis, allowing labor-management pension trustees and construction industry leaders to meet with representatives from three national real estate investment trusts:

  • AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust (HIT)
  • AFL-CIO Building Investment Trust (BIT)
  • Union Labor Life Insurance Co., Inc. (ULLICO).

PRIDE Executive Director Jim LaMantia said the three trusts are well known to labor and construction leaders for their investment of union pension funds in 100 percent union-built projects in St. Louis.

“It’s a good investment. You get a return on your money, and it puts our people to work,” LaMantia said.


INVESTING UNION PENSION FUNDS: Paul Sommers (right) Midwest regional director for the AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust (HIT) answers questions during the recent PRIDE Labor-Management Investment Summit with AFL-CIO Building Investment Fund Chief of Staff William Little. – Labor Tribune photo.

The AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust (HIT) recently announced that it’s providing $46 million in financing for two multifamily developments in the greater St. Louis area, helping to provide 381 new units of multifamily housing, once again putting union pension funds to work building new and remodeling older St. Louis housing projects.

The to be all be 100 percent union-built developments mean “more family-supporting union jobs for our members and more high quality union-built development for the community,” said Jeff Aboussie, executive secretary-treasurer of the St. Louis Building and Construction Trades Council, adding, “the union community welcomes the HIT’s continuing investments in our St. Louis region.”

Paul Sommers, regional Midwest director for HIT said the project is expected to create 2,500 direct and indirect jobs by the end of the year.

The HIT is a $5 billion investment grade fixed-income mutual fund specializing in the highest credit quality multifamily mortgage-backed securities. It has a 30-year history of generating competitive returns for pension funds and labor organizations, with a 100 percent union labor requirement for all on-site construction.

To learn more about the AFL-CIO HIT, visit


The recently completed, $42 million, 100 percent union-built Cortona at Forest Park hosted an open house last week to mark completion is an example of the work of the AFL-CIO Building Investment Trust. The project generated hundreds of good paying union construction jobs.

The Cortona represents the seventh BIT real estate investment in St. Louis.

BIT has invested $5.8 billion to finance 36 million square feet of commercial real estate and over 15,000 apartment units over the past 26 years, creating approximately 70 million hours of union construction work, and thousands of union jobs in the maintenance and operation of BIT properties, showing a 7.71 percent on its investments since 1988.

As of March 31, 2015, the BIT had a net asset value of $3.71 billion

“The BIT is a little bit different,” said

William Little, vice-president of the AFL-CIO Investment Trust Corporation. “We like to build as part of our own portfolio. About 25 percent of our portfolio, we build and maintain with 100 percent union construction and maintenance.”

To learn more about the AFL-CIO BIT, visit


Union Labor Life Insurance Company (Ullico) is the only labor-owned insurance and investment company and invests primarily in apartment close to places of work in urban areas.

Among its various projects, Ullico recently invested $37.5 million to finance renovation and new construction of the West End City Apartments, a collection of three historic high-rises with 318 apartments at 275 Union Blvd in the Central West End, all built with union labor.

To learn more about Ullico, visit

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