News Articles By Mary Bottari

ALEC Sparks Uprisings in Wisconsin and Ohio

Harold Schaitberger, President IAFFOn the one-year anniversary of an important American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) meeting in Washington D.C., Wisconsin's public safety officers gathered to prepare for the next stage in the fight for labor rights.

Some 250 police and firefighters signed recall petitions, loaded up on maps and assignments and to listened to guest speakers at a "Recall Walker" gathering at Madison's South Central Federation of Labor. Mark Sanders, President of the Ohio Association of Professional Firefighters, was there to pass the torch and Harold Schaitberger, National President of the International Association of Professional Firefighters (IAFF), was there to reminded the crowd about the critical role ALEC played in the Wisconsin and Ohio uprisings.

As Zuccotti Park is Cleared, Congress Moves to Gut Financial Reform

In the dead of night November 14, the movement to hold big banks accountable for their crimes took two major hits. Occupy Wall Street activists were swept from Zuccotti Park as radical members of Congress moved to gut funding for the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and advance a series of shocking proposals to roll back financial reform.

Walker's "Anything But Jobs" Special Session Wraps

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has promised to create 250,000 new jobs. In advance of a planned gubernatorial recall election, Walker announced last month that the State Legislature would focus "like a laser" on job creation. With his "special session" on jobs now concluded, it is clear that the legislative package had little to do with jobs and much to do with spin, special interests and the illusion of momentum.

Remember, Remember the 5th of November! Bank Transfer Day

"Bank Transfer Day" Facebook pageNovember 5th is "Bank Transfer Day," a hopping Facebook campaign urging Americans to move their money out of big national banks and into local banks or credit unions.

Day Inspired by Bank Of America Fee

Kristen Christian, a 27-year-old Los Angeles art gallery owner, organized the effort after Bank of America (BofA) issued a new $5 monthly fee to debit card users that would be implemented in early 2012. The fee targets those who have less than $20,000 in Bank of America accounts. The "Bank Transfer Day" movement cites this as a direct attack on the impoverished and working class. BofA is also a notorious foreclosure mill, doing little or nothing to help their clients facing foreclosure. The Bank Transfer Day Facebook page has 35,000 likes and support for the movement is growing by the second.

Robin Hood Tax Gains Ground at the G-20

The G-20 meeting in Cannes got underway this week. The sunny beach resort, playground to movie stars and media moguls was an odd choice for a somber G-20 meeting. As President Obama and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner touched down in Air Force One, the Greek government was on the verge of collapse, austerity was sweeping Europe and the future of the Eurozone in doubt.

But the first day of talks offered a ray of hope for the entire global economy. For the first time, the 20 most powerful countries in the world sat down to discuss taxing the financial service industry. And for the first time, the U.S. blinked.

Lessons from the Original Occupation: Gina Ray, Wisconsin State Capitol Police

As Occupy Wall Street protesters and police face off in large cities and small towns across America, it is worth revisiting the positive policing relationship that was developed between protesters and law enforcement during the "original occupation" of the Wisconsin Capitol in the winter of 2011.

On February 11, 2011, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker introduced a bill that would limit the collective bargaining rights of public employees, require 100% voter participation in union recertification and end the state's practice of withholding and reimbursing union dues. The bill was perceived as a death blow to public employee unions and prompted massive, sustained and peaceful protests inside and outside the Wisconsin State Capitol in the winter of 2011.

Positive Policing From Wisconsin's "Original Occupation"

After two tours of duty in Iraq, 24-year-old Wisconsin native Scott Olsen managed to escape unscathed and with seven medals for valor. But Olsen was critically injured in an Occupy Oakland march last week by a police projectile. According to eyewitnesses, Olsen was acting as a human barrier between unarmed civilians and Oakland police in riot gear who were charged with keeping a public park cleared for sanitation purposes.

Whether this was a case of an inexperienced Mayor (check) or a historically aggressive police department (check), the incident underscored the potential for catastrophe as cops increasingly confront peaceful protesters with riot control weapons.

Lessons from the Original Occupation: Madison's Sheriff Dave Mahoney

On February 11, 2011, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker introduced a bill that would limit the collective bargaining rights of public employees, require 100% voter participation in union recertification and end the state's practice of withholding and reimbursing union dues. The bill was perceived as a death blow to public employee unions and prompted massive, sustained and peaceful protests inside and outside the Wisconsin State Capitol in the winter of 2011.

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