AFL-CIO continues campaign against social security privatization

WASHINGTON: The AFL-CIO has ratcheted up its campaign to pressure the financial services industry to drop its support for President Bush's Social Security plan, racking up several victories along the way.

WASHINGTON: The AFL-CIO has ratcheted up its campaign to pressure the financial services industry to drop its support for President Bush's Social Security plan, racking up several victories along the way.

Last week the Financial Services Forum, a group of 19 CEOs of top US finance companies, withdrew from CoMPASS, a business-backed coalition that is raising money to support Bush's plan. Earlier this month, two securities firms bowed out of a similar coalition after being picketed by the union.

The AFL-CIO's targeted campaign has included petitions, a letter-writing and e-mail drive, demonstrations, and a website, wallstreetgreed.org. "They know that their support for privatization will hurt their position with the public and with their clients," said AFL-CIO spokeswoman Suzanne Ffolkes.

Steven Winegarten, a spokesman for the union's office of investment, charged the financial- services industry with using "industry associations and front groups" to support privatization without public knowledge. "We are asking the financial industry to disclose their ties to this activity because they stand to gain and aren't telling," he said.

The union plans public protests against Charles Schwab and Wachovia on March 31.

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