Monday, March 06, 2017

President Tweeter Causes High Anxiety

When household problems are cause for anxiety, such as an old kitchen faucet becoming disabled, a water softener plugging up and then a hole in my well pump screen is discovered, it is disheartening for sure. But high anxiety with the thought of President Tweeter having his fingers near the nuclear codes makes all these type problems seem like pretty small potatoes. I hope that congress will find a way to get this president some mental health care before it’s too late for us all.

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Saving Carrier Jobs Is Just The First Step

by Robert Roach, Jr.
On the campaign trail, President-elect Trump discussed workers’ understandable apprehension about losing jobs and what it means for the future of their families. He promised to stop Carrier Corp. from moving 2,100 jobs it had planned to shift from Indiana to Mexico.
The United Steelworkers had tried negotiating with Carrier in order to keep the jobs in the United States by pledging $23 million per year in savings it could offer to the company. But Carrier rejected the offer, citing its expected savings of $65 million each year by moving to Mexico. 
A spokesperson for the United Steelworkers 1999, the union representing Carrier’s production employees, told The Washington Post that the union was boxed out of the talks. It seemed Carrier was determined to choose additional profitability over its dedicated workers. 
Now, after a lobbying effort from the incoming Trump administration, Carrier has agreed to keep about half of those jobs in Indiana. In exchange, the company will receive new government incentives. 
The Alliance will continue to stand with our friends at USW and hope that Trump succeeds in keeping additional jobs in the United States. 
However, we still need to make sure Trump doesn't advance Republican plans to attack unions at every turn. Labor’s foes want to go after our pensions, keep the minimum wage low, and make health care less secure for workers and retirees. We must ensure that this one victory for Carrier’s workers is not used by the Trump Administration as a smokescreen to do more damage elsewhere.

Robert Roach, Jr. is president of the Alliance for Retired Americans.  He was previously General Secretary‐Treasurer of the IAMAW.  For more information, visit

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Report From The Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM)

Report From The Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM)
 President-elect Donald Trump focused on many hot-button issues during the Republican primaries and the general election in which he defeated Democrat Hillary Clinton. Trump, ever the savvy salesman, began the dialogue about American manufacturing and trade right out of the gate, despite the traditional Republican mantra promoting “free trade agreements.”

Trump quickly promised crackdowns on unfair trade deals and called NAFTA the “worst trade agreement ever.” He was particularly focused on China and Mexico where many American manufacturers have moved their factories to increase profits. He promised 45 percent tariffs on China if it continued to “dump” its overcapacity of steel in the United States because it was costing America millions of dollars and middle-class jobs.

It was a “do as I say, not as I do” situation. Trump used steel manufactured in China to build the Trump International Hotel Las Vegas and purchased Chinese-made aluminum for the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago. It is likely he has built additional structures with Chinese steel. He has a penchant for having his products manufactured in other parts of the world. We know he is an eager consumer of low-cost products made in China, Mexico and many other offshore manufacturers around the globe. His suits and neckties are made in China, while his furniture and kitchen goods lines are also manufactured overseas.

Trump’s early statements about the steel industry and manufacturing in general are considered important reasons why he did so well winning most of the “Rust Belt” states on election night.On June 28, 2016 in Monessen, Pennsylvania, an area once the heartland of the American steel industry, Trump was in full-fear mongering in a speech before thousands of people affected by the crash of American steel. 

“A Trump Administration will also ensure that we start using American steel for American infrastructure. Just like the American steel from Pennsylvania that built the Empire State building. It will be American steel that will fortify America’s crumbling bridges. It will be American steel that sends our skyscrapers soaring into the sky. It will be American steel that rebuilds out inner cities. It will be American hands that remake this country and it will be American energy – mined from American resources – that powers this country. It will be American workers who are hired to do the job. We are going to put American-produced steel back into the backbone of our country. This alone will create massive numbers of jobs.”

Within the past year, more than 15,000 USW members have lost their jobs and the situation is getting worse. Maybe if President-elect Trump and his billionaire buddies can practice what Trump preaches, the American steel industry can stop the bleeding and re-open the many idled steel mills waiting to get back on line. That would definitely create thousands of jobs for skilled American steelworkers.

Jeff Bonior, AAM staff writer, Alliance for American Manufacturing

Monday, January 02, 2017

Elections Have Consequences

With the election of a Republican Congress and President, I have great concerns regarding the future of retirees and workers. It is no secret that the agenda of many of these Republicans is to do away with Medicare as we know it and attack Social Security, attack Unions by having a national “Right To Work” (for less law) and to attack many Executive Orders that President Obama enacted including; improved overtime pay, more transparency in Union organizing campaigns on the spending of company money to defeat employee organizing efforts, eliminate prevailing wages on government contracts, etc. This, all in the name of eliminating regulations.

We will also be confronted with the possible appointment of anti-Union and corporate interest individuals to the Supreme Court and regulatory agencies. For example, the Trump business is fighting the employees in Las Vegas who are trying to form a Union. He will now have the right to appoint members to the National Labor Relations Board that will tilt the scales not only in his business interest but throughout the Country.

This is my opinion and I hope we are not confronted with the possibilities, but we must pay attention, and be prepared to oppose such anti-worker, anti-union efforts and those that will attack the welfare of retirees including Social Security and Medicare and health care benefits of over 20 million people who could lose them if the ACA is eliminated. 

p.s. By the way shouldn’t we be concerned and demand an investigation over the involvement of Russia in our Presidential election? 

Bill Gibbons, PACE Representative

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Solidarity Now More Than Ever

Billy’s Banter
Solidarity Now More Than Ever

I want to start by thanking all those who got involved in this year’s election. You have proven that we still can contribute and are willing to remain involved and be a valuable source of information and activism.

We must now unite and become even more vigilant in making sure that those in office not destroy the benefits we have worked so hard for over the years. I tend to believe what people say, until their actions cause me to believe otherwise and I fear some people will do just what they say.

Speaker Ryan’s plan to eliminate Medicare’s guaranteed health benefits in favor of a system of vouchers is outlined in his “A Better Way,” a document that promises cuts to Social Security and Medicare. Seniors would have to use government vouchers or coupons and buy insurance on the private market.” I do not believe this is in our best interest nor do I believe that the person chosen to lead the discussion on Social Security is going to support status quo or improvements, if I can believe what he has said in the past about this issue. 

The retired lobbyist President-elect Trump has named to lead his Social Security transition team is Michael Korbey, he has tried to eliminate or cut Social Security for decades. Back in 1996 he said of Social Security: “It's a failed system, broken and bankrupt” and that although cuts would hurt seniors, “the government needed to focus on other constituents.” 

During George W. Bush’s administration, Korbey was a senior advisor to the Social Security Administration and helped spearhead Bush’s effort to privatize Social Security. 

I hope I am losing sleep over nothing but I believe we will be better off if we get prepared for a fight and do not have it, than be un-prepared and play catch up on these very important issues. If we choose not to be involved, who will pick up the fight for us? We cannot stand divided we must unite on these important issues if we hope to retain our dignity in retirement. We need to maintain and improve existing benefits. Please let your Representatives know that you do not want vouchers or reduced SS for yourself or future retirees. Let us start now.

Bill Pienta, SOAR President

Friday, December 30, 2016

From the Director’s Desk -  Reflections

The election is now over and the people have spoken. For those of us who advocate on behalf of retirees and the working class, we know the weeks, months and years ahead will not be easy; but we will get through them together and we will come out stronger together, just as we have done in past.

Today, we rededicate ourselves to our role as activists and recommit ourselves to mobilizing our members and like-minded fellow Americans to protect and defend what was won in the halls of congress and in our collective bargaining agreements.   

We knew this was an election about change and a revolt against the political elite. It was a revolt against what those in power in both parties have done or accepted; global trade and tax deals for corporations; Wall Street bailouts; big-money politics and decades of promises not kept. After neglecting the working class for decades, that class, working folks, abandoned the Democratic Party that once represented them, said enough is enough and voted for what they thought was real change.

Time will tell if this election will truly make a difference. 

However, in the meantime, I am scared out of my wits of the agenda of the far right now in power in the House, Senate and the White House. What will happen to Social Security and Medicare? We all know these two critical programs that mean so much to retirees have been in their crosshairs for years. 

There is already talk of turning Medicare, one of our government’s most successful programs into a voucher program. There is talk once again about privatizing Social Security, which in its present form has kept so many retirees from living in poverty. Changes to these two very successful programs could very well destroy the quality of life of older Americans and place retirement for the next generation out of reach.  

We must be steadfast in our diligence and pay close attention to what is going on in Washington. We must be prepared to fight to protect what is ours! Social Security and Medicare are earned benefits not entitlements, as the Washington elite would like you to believe. 

The battle continues…..

Jim Centner, SOAR Director

The plain old fashioned lie

When you hear a congressperson say that he/she will never vote to cut Social Security benefits for our "seniors," what that really means is that this particular politician would indeed be willing to cut Social Security benefits for those who will some day be "seniors."

In other words, it's just a plain old fashioned lie. Don't be fooled.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

What is an idealist?

That's a man who notices that a rose smells better than a cabbage, so he thinks the rose will make better soup.

-From Spencerville by Nelson DeMille

Monday, December 12, 2016

51st Wedding Anniversary

 It was 51 years ago today that I married Elaine Adams. We got hitched at the City Methodist Church in Gary, Indiana on December 11th, 1965 with a dinner afterwards at the Hotel Gary.

When I think of how long I’ve known Elaine, I really do have to think about it. Let’s see…I met her in 7th grade. We were in the same home-room together. Home-rooms were the first period of the class day and were made up of students according to alphabetical last names.
I remember so well how pretty I thought she was. Although I had my eye on her, she wouldn’t give me the time of day. As a matter of fact, she teased me. She sat a few seats in front of me and I do remember our eyes meeting once and she just batted them at me. I couldn’t let anyone know I was interested in her because I was on the football team, and we weren’t really supposed to be very interested in girls. Most of the gals dated Freshman boys anyway.

It wasn’t until we were Juniors that we began dating. It was in August at the beginning of football season. After practice one day, she and a friend of mine who lived across the street from me and his girlfriend stopped in front of the house and honked their horn. I went out to see who it was and we ended up going to Lo-Jacks drive-in for a rum coke which were very popular in those days. 

The very next evening, they stopped by again honking their horn. We did the rum coke thing again and then parked in his drive way. I remember Elaine planted a kiss on me so hard it hurt my lip. Well, a few more similar evenings put me madly in love. I recall soon after telling her that I was going to marry her some day. We dated off and on our senior year, and after graduation in 1961, I went into the Navy and Elaine became a hair dresser. I was stationed in Pearl Harbor and came home two times for a month at a time.

I got out of the Navy in August 1965 and we set the wedding date for December 11. So, I think we’ve known each other since about 1956 which would make it about 60 years. Today will be very special for us both.

Elaine and I wish all of you a Happy Anniversary, whenever it may be, and have a joyful and safe Christmas and New Year's.