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Making a public stink about privatization

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A sizeable group of Idahoans turned out on Thursday, March 31, to picket in front of the local branch of Wall Street brokerage firm Charles Schwab, in protest of the firm's support of President Bush's plan to privatize social security. Using the title "Idahoans United to Protect Social Security," the group paced in front of downtown Schwab offices holding signs reading, "Hands Off My Social Security" and "Don't Pick Our Pockets, Charles Schwab."

"We had at least 40 or 50 people," said Dave Whaley, president of the Idaho State AFL-CIO. "We just went up and down the sidewalk in front of Charles Schwab, then went inside with a big signed letter, asking them to give it to the Charles Schwab head offices." Nationally, the AFL-CIO organized 80 similar events at Schwab offices in other cities on Thursday, and has held similar protests in front of the investment firms Waddell and Reed and Edward Jones. Both firms have since agreed to stop sponsoring the privatization plan, but Schwab has announced no such intention.

Idahoans United to Protect Social Security will hold another picket on Thursday, April 7, at noon, in front of the downtown branch of the broker Wachovia Securities, at 100 N. 9th St. For more information about local objection to privatized Social Security, visit the group's Web site at www.uvidaho.org.