Archive of COCAL Updates: April 2012

COCAL Updates: April 10, 2012

Links to stories of interest

COCAL Updates: April 16, 2012

Links to stories of interest

New anti-Occupy law threatens right of assembly

From: Tom Ladd

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Here is the text of the notorious Anti-Occupy Act, technically called the Federal Restricted Buildings and Grounds Act.

It forbids citizens to assemble at certain buildings, and anywhere that certain Federal Officials might be. Some online sources claim the offenses in FRBGA aren't new, and have always been illegal, since Congress passed a Federal anti-trespassing law in 1971, during the Vietnam War. But others say the new law will make it easier for federal prosecutors to charge demonstrators with "knowingly" trespassing under that law, and hence, make it easier for the police to arrest them for breaking it.

It sounds like a measure to improve for better home and garden maintenance. But in fact, it's intended to harass those in the Occupy Wall Street movement, and their supporters, and to keep them from protesting whenever federal officials feel like avoiding them. Because we in the union movement are deeply involved with Occupy, and are known to protest around Government buildings too, we are all affected by this law. Maybe some of us look down on those in Occupy WS as scruffy and unwashed. But union members protest the same forms of injustice in only slightly different areas, and in very similar ways. Sure, it might selectively target the Occupy protesters, but that's no guarantee that union activists won't be targeted under the new law as well. If it hurts Occupy, it's probably somehow meant to hurt us too.

We should all oppose the law, as an attack on freedom to assemble. I urge everyone to consider the implications of this law, and others like it.

Here is the text of the Law.


1752 (a)(1) Whoever (1) knowingly enters or remains in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority to do so;

(2) knowingly and with intent to impede or disrupt the orderly conduct of Government business or official functions, engages in disorderly or disruptive conduct in or within such proximity to, any restricted building or grounds when, or so that, such conduct, in fact, impedes or disrupts the orderly conduct of Government business r official functions;

(3) knowingly and with the intent to impede or disrupt the orderly conduct of Government business or official functions, obstructs or impedes ingress or regress to or from any restricted building or grounds; or

(4) knowingly engages in any act of physical violence against any person or property in any restricted building or grounds; or attempts or conspires to do so, shall be punished as provided in section b;

(b) The punishment for a violation of subsection (a)is -

(1) a fine under this title or imprisonment for not more than 10 years, or both, if -

(a) the person, during and in relation to the offense, uses or carries a deadly or dangerous weapon or firearm, or

(b) the offense results in significant bodily injury as defined by Section 2118(e)(3); and

(2) a fine under this title or imprisonment for not more than one year, or both, in any other case.

(c) In this section … the term 'restricted buildings or grounds' means any posted, cordoned off, or otherwise restricted area-

(A) on the White House or its grounds, or the Vice President's official residence or its grounds;

(B) of a building or grounds where the President or other person protected by the Secret Service is or will be temporarily visiting; or

(C) of a building or grounds so restricted in conjunction with an event designated as a special event of national significance; and

(2) the term "other person protected by the secret service" means any person whom the United States Secret Service is authorized to protect under section 3056 …. or by Presidential memorandum, when such person has not declined such protection. [includes President, Vice President, Speaker of House, President of Senate]

Introduced Jan. 3, 2012

Immediaely passed by House and Senate and signed by Pres. Obama on March 9, 2012.

Tom Ladd
National Writers Union
San Francisco Bay Area Chapter #3
UAW Local 1981/AFLCIO
Editor, San Francisco Bay Area Writer's Bulletin

Chronicle of Higher ed doing story on contingents on public assistance

Dear NFM Member:

The Chronicle of Higher Education is interested in interviewing NFM members who have experienced either or both of the following situations:

1. Eligibility for (or application for and receipt of) public assistance including Medicaid and food stamps. Reporter Stacey Patton is working on a story on this topic and will be glad to keep identifying information confidential. Please contact her directly as soon as possible.

2. Chronicle editor Jeff Selingo is working on a book on the future of higher education and is interested in further exploring the idea of student as consumer in higher ed and the impact that has had in the classroom. He wants to talk to faculty members who deal with this on a regular basis, in terms of grades, assignments, and in other ways, and talk about the outcome on the classroom dynamics. You may contact him at

If you respond to either request, we hope you will mention the fact that you are an NFM member and also talk about the potential for NFM as a national organization to address both problems in constructive and meaningful ways.

FYI we are almost ready to launch a members-only bulletin board/discussion board feature at which we will post similar inquiries and topics for discussion. Thanks for your patience as the process has taken longer than expected.

Best wishes,

Maria, Esther and the NFM Board

New book on organizing just out. Author is veteran labor educator.

My new book is finally out and I tried to cover every situation an organizer, or an organizing program, confronts as we try to rebuild the union movement. The book, 130 pages long, is based on the experiences of many organizers and covers in every topic three different areas-private sector unions, public sector unions and building trades-and includes materials that have been developed both for real campaigns and for organizers' training sessions that I have run. The book is $17.00 and can be ordered from me (4204 Elsrode Avenue. Baltimore, MD 21214) or from Union Communications, Inc. in Annapolis. Discounts for orders of more than 10 copies.


  1. The Culture of Organizing
  2. Creating an Organizing Strategy
  3. Resources: human and financial
  4. Different Targets, Different Strategies?
  5. Making the Initial Contacts
  6. Mapping the Workplace
  7. Developing Your Committee
  8. Blitzing, Salting and Colonizing
  9. The Fear Factor
  10. Picking Your issues
  11. Setting Up a Communications Network
  12. To Board or not to Board?
  13. Running your Campaign
  14. The employer's campaign
  15. Bringing home a winner
  16. Getting a first contract
  17. Running an Internal Organizing Campaign
  18. Affiliations, Decertification and Raids
  19. Personal issues for organizers

Appendix 1. The Organizing Model of Unionism
Appendix 2.Union Leadership
Appendix 3. The Cash Value of a Union Contract
Appendix 4. Sample organizing leaflet
Appendix 5. The Challenge Sheet
Appendix 6. Internal Organizing outline
Appendix 7. Sample ballot for committee
Appendix 8. Great movies about organizing

COCAL Updates: April 24, 2012

Links to stories of interest

COCAL Updates: April 29, 2012

Links to stories of interest