Sunday, February 18, 2007

Indiana Nursing Homes

Indiana nursing home residents are at risk of death and injury by fire due to inadequate fire safety protection in our state’s nursing homes.

Unbelievably, Indiana laws and regulations do not require all nursing homes to be fully sprinklered and to have smoke detectors in resident rooms – two of the most basic fire safety measures.

  1. Nursing homes before 1986 do not have to have automatic sprinkler systems. Twenty-seven (27) homes in Indiana are NOT fully sprinklered. In fact, 10 of those homes are completely unsprinklered!

  1. Even though most fires start in residents' rooms and the leading cause of death from fire is smoke inhalation, approximately 95% of Indiana nursing homes do not have to install smoke detectors in a resident’s room. Nursing home residents are particularly vulnerable to harm from fires due to physical and mental disabilities that limit their ability to run, walk, or even follow instructions in an emergency.
Call on your state legislators to pass Senate Bill 93 & House Bill 1243 which would:
  • Require all nursing homes to have an automatic sprinkler system throughout the facility within 5 years.
  • Require smoke detectors in each nursing home resident’s room.
  • Require the state department of health to include information for consumers on their website about whether a facility is sprinklered and what type of smoke detector it has if any (hardwired or battery operated).
Source: United Senior Action

Saturday, February 10, 2007

George Becker

In Appreciation

George Becker
1929 – 2007
So Long, George.

George Becker, who was president of the United Steelworkers of America for seven years, died on February 2 at the age of 78. He was a great friend and supporter of EPI. We, and the world, will miss him.

George was an American original. A laborer in a steel mill at 15, a marine in both World War II and Korea, and a life-long trade unionist who rose to the top of one of the country’s great labor organizations. But more than just his resumé, George had the qualities that reflected the best people our nation produces. He was tough and fearless, and at the same time remarkably gentle, modest and decent. He was serious and thoughtful and had a blunt common-sense way of speaking. I never felt that he came into the room to hear himself speak. He sized you up carefully, and if he decided that you were on the side of those who worked for a living, you had his ear – and his heart.

George loved the steelworkers, and was proud of how the union had allowed them to work their way into the middle class and provide their children the opportunities that the working class had never before had. And he hated the political establishment whose trade policies had cynically sold his workers’ future down the river.

Like other recent leaders of his remarkable union, George believed in the power of ideas, and he respected his members’ intelligence and their capacity to learn and grow and understand the world around him.

When he was first elected president of the Steelworkers, he asked me to come to their convention and deliver an “economics lesson” to the several thousand delegates. Instead of the usual slogans or pictures of the leaders that adorn the walls of the typical convention, George put up ten or so 12 foot charts showing trends in wages, employment, productivity and other economic facts. He said that he wanted the members to look at these for several days and then have me come in and explain them. When I was just about to go out on the platform, he whispered to me, only half-kidding: “Listen, this is my first convention. And my job depends on how you do.”

After the session, I asked him what he meant. “A lot of people told me not to do this,” he said. “They said the members would be bored with some lecture on economics. But this is about their future. Why wouldn’t they be interested?”

George Becker never stopped learning, asking questions and fighting for the working class. His life is an inspiration to us all.

Jeff Faux - Economic Policy Institute in Washington, D.C. – February 7, 2007

You can view a Memorial Video "You Led The Way" by clicking HERE

Monday, February 05, 2007

Does NiSource prey on seniors?

The reasons I ask this question are as follow:

1. A NiSource owned company seems to be refusing to pay a death benefit to a NIPSCO widow whose husband passed away over seven months ago. How can a company cobble up something as simple as this, you ask.....well, NIPSCO and NiSource have outsourced so much work that deals with real people, to either out of state or out of country companies who seem to only be in it for the buck and the language barrier is proving to be overwhelming to seniors.

2. In the Bremen, Indiana area, as I understand it, NIPSCO mailed out flyers advertising their so called Price Protection Service (PPS) and stating that anyone interested in more information would have a chance to win a colored television set. In this particular instance, the elderly customer mailed back for more information, hoping to win the television. A couple of weeks later, on a Sunday afternoon, a salesman from the U.S. Energy Savings Company came to her home and persuaded her to sign the contract.

3. As I understand the latest fiasco, in Ohio, customers were required by a NiSource Company to pay for the riser connecting the gas service to the meter which was installed by outside contractors. Now, so many of them leak and have to be replaced, the NiSource Company wants the customers to pay for the shoddy workmanship.

4. If I have the story straight, at least three NiSource owned companies are attempting to take away medical insurance benefits from retirees.