When AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka passed away in August 2021, the labor movement lost a stalwart leader who was dedicated to improving the lives of American workers.
In addition to his AFL-CIO duties, Trumka also served as a member of Ullico’s board of directors for 18 years. During that time, he was instrumental in the company’s success at serving union members and their families.
“He was unwavering in his belief that a union-owned company could advance the cause of a stronger working class,” says Edward M. Smith, president and CEO of Ullico.
In tribute to Trumka’s exemplary commitment, Ullico established the “Richard L. Trumka Award for Employee Excellence” and recognized its first recipient — Cathy A. Humphrey, chief operating officer of Ullico Investment Advisors/Ullico Investment Company — during the 2022 Annual Shareholders Meeting.
Cathy Humphrey Named First Recipient of Trumka Award
Cathy Humphrey joined Ullico as a typist in the company’s health insurance business. “It was new to me. I did not come from a union family, but I found the work interesting. I found a calling for what we do,” she says.
During her 42-year career, Humphrey has witnessed and participated in the company’s evolution. In the early ’90s, Humphrey moved to Ullico’s investments business, at a time when it was beginning to branch out and grow. “We registered with the SEC. We worked hard to grow our assets under management,” she says.
Back then, she adds, trustees were less knowledgeable about investments. Now they’re well informed about investment strategies and the types of investments available to them. They’ve also learned to leverage their influence with the investment community by insisting on union-friendly investments.
“They invest their pension money to support the creation of union jobs, which increases contributions to the benefit funds, which gives them more influence and ability to create more jobs,” she says. “We support this type of investing with our flagship fund “J for Jobs.” We lend to developers who hire unions who do the work.”
Following the success of J for Jobs, the company has continued to promulgate investment strategies to support the labor movement, including vehicles for infrastructure investments and fixed income investments.
“The company as a whole is a credit to the labor movement. Board members and trustees can talk to their members and tout Ullico and all its products and services proudly,” says Humphrey. “I think we can all take pride in the company and all its done for the labor movement.”