Demonstrators Confront Wells Fargo Shareholders


by David Bacon
 
 Thousandnbwellsfargoshareholder03.jpg ds of angry homeowners, immigrants, union members, Occupiers and community groups converged on the annual shareholders meeting of Wells Fargo Bank. In a carefully choreographed protest, simultaneous marches left Justin Herman Plaza on the city’s waterfront, site of the Occupy San Francisco encampment last fall. Demonstrators walked up parallel streets into the financial district, where they encircled the block in which the meeting was set to take place, in the Julia Morgan ballroom of the Merchant’s Exchange Building.

Beforehand, some demonstrators had moved into the building’s lobby, while others chained themselves together, putting sleeves around their arms to make it hard for police to cut them apart to arrest them.

A group of religious, union and community representatives had purchased shares of stock in the bank beforehand, supposedly allowing them to attend the shareholders meeting. Some even held proxies, allowing them to vote the stock belonging to others. As the rally swirled outside, and speeches and songs filled the streets now vacant of their normal traffic, the police closed off the building and refused to let the shareholders inside.

Hotel Frank Workers Are Fighting For All of Us

by Marc Norton

The protracted warfare at San Francisco’s Hotel Frank is a bold display of the tenacity and resilience of a small group of workers in a knock-down-drag-out fight with union-busting bosses in one of the most difficult periods for labor in decades.

This is truly a David-and-Goliath battle. When Wells Fargo Bank took over Hotel Frank in a foreclosure sale in May 2010, the corporate bean counters thought that they could dump our UNITE HERE Local 2 contract in the trash, fire a couple of key organizers, terrorize the staff and wash their hands of any real Union presence. How wrong they were …

Hotel Frank is a small “boutique” hotel. Consequently, we are a small group of workers, about 35 in total, but brave and unrelenting.

The fightback at Hotel Frank began in earnest last September, when workers marched into the lobby of Wells Fargo’s world headquarters in the Financial District and declared a boycott. Since then we have staged regular picket lines in our very public space one block from Union Square.
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