Thousands of union activists in 70 sites from New York to San Francisco, Boston to Austin, demonstrated on March 31 to demand that Wall Street brokerage firm Charles Schwab and financial giant Wachovia Bank withdraw their support for President Bush’s plan to privatize Social Security. In Washington, D.C., a throng of nearly 500, including some 50 AFT staff and activists, picketed Schwab and Wachovia offices. They heard AFL-CIO president John Sweeney call the Bush plan “a flimflam scheme” that would reduce the standard of living of tomorrow’s retirees and saddle the young with an exploding federal deficit. Sweeney warned the firms not to “try to pick our pockets while you line yours.” Major backers of the privatization push, the corporations are positioned to make huge profits managing private accounts. AFT members in New York, Florida, Pennsylvania, Texas and other states participated in similar events. In San Francisco, 20 AFT retirees joined a crowd of 1,000 there for a rally. Earlier, under pressure from union activists, Midwest brokerage house Edward Jones withdrew from a business coalition backing privatization. For more information, go to