Ken Mehlman works as the head of the Global Public Affairs team at KKR, and he used his position of authority wisely when speaking with the American Federation of Teachers this past week.
When KKR found out that the AFT had included the company on a list of money managers that the union says solicit investment business from pension plans while also supporting think tanks and advocacy groups that seek to undermine pensions, they were not too happy. “Over the past several years, we have worked, in partnership with legislators, policy makers and organized labor leaders, to advocate the importance of defined benefit plans as an option for public sector workers.” Ken Mehlman said in a letter to teachers’ union president Randi Weingarten. Mehlman also noted that he has worked with Service Employees International Union president Andy Stern, “to ensure that policy makers have the facts…on the importance of a defined benefit option for public sector workers.”
After receiving this letter on Wednesday, Weingarten stated that, “Your firm has taken an important step in declaring its support for defined benefit plans and retirement security.” Weingarten also said that the union would take KKR’s name off of their list.