This is our fight, too

December 12, 2008

A SPIRITED picket of over 30 people formed outside the towering Bank of America building in downtown Baltimore Wednesday afternoon in a hastily organized action to show solidarity with United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers (UE) workers who are occupying Republic Windows & Doors in Chicago.

The action was called by a small network of groups, including the recently formed Baltimore Emergency Crisis Response Network, which is a coalition of individuals and organizations that have come together to attempt to coordinate a progressive, activist response to local aspects of the economic crisis.

Protesters carried handwritten signs and chanted, "Banks got bailed out, we got sold out!" and "The workers united will never be defeated!" while members of the group took turns on an open mic, describing the hope and inspiration provided by the UE workers.

Bank security guards allowed a delegation of four protesters into the building to attempt to deliver a letter to the bank manager, demanding that Bank of America fully fund the workers' demands. After waiting half an hour, the delegation was told by a condescending and hostile security guard that the manager was still too busy "conducting bank business" to take two seconds to be handed a letter, and we would have to continue to stand silently in the massive lobby.

The delegation came to the conclusion that, after a $25 billion bailout funded by taxpayers, we were likely paying the salaries of everyone in the bank building, and our poor treatment was unacceptable. So we decided to leave with the intention that we would return with a better plan for encouraging the manager to see us.

Exactly when and how we will return is now a subject of discussion. If the struggle in Chicago continues, activists in Baltimore plan to be back at Bank of America.
Ben Dalbey, Baltimore

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