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Workers scored a victory in the campaign to strengthen Social Security Feb. 11 when broker Edward Jones pulled out of the Alliance for Worker Retirement Security, an industry group backing Social Security privatization. Edward Jones had been a member of the alliance since its inception in 1998. The pullout came after a coalition of community, retiree and union activists rallied Feb. 8 outside the firm’s St. Louis corporate headquarters while the firm’s executives were sending a national satellite broadcast on Social Security to clients in 9,000 offices nationwide. Activists also sent thousands of e-mails. The protestors and activists demanded Jones drop its support for Social Security privatization, which could earn billions for brokers but would hurt working families. In December, the firm paid a record $75 million to settle charges by the federal Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that included accepting payments from mutual funds in exchange for steering clients to them. For more information, visit www.wallstreetgreed.org.

Union activists can visit www.socialsecuritypledge.org, a new website, to tell their members of Congress to pledge to strengthen Social Security and oppose President George W. Bush’s efforts to privatize the nation’s most effective family protection program. Officials who sign the pledge say they will oppose Bush’s privatization proposals, which would require cuts in guaranteed benefits, weaken the system by diverting money to private accounts, increase the federal deficit and possibly increase the retirement age. Union activists also plan to meet with members of Congress in their home districts during congressional recesses and hold rallies and town hall meetings to make their voices heard.


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