Wednesday, January 31, 2007

New Flag for NIPSCO



In 2005, Robert C. Skaggs, Chief Executive Officer of NiSource Inc. raked in $1,756,152 in total compensation including stock option grants from NiSource Inc..
And Robert C. Skaggs has another $32,935 in unexercised stock options from previous years.

You know what? I don’t give a rip how much this guy needs to have joy and happiness in his life. Heck, it’s a dog eat dog world out there, but you would think that someone worth this much would at least see to it that the widow of one of his deceased retirees would receive some explanation as to why a lousy $10,000 life insurance claim is taking so long to be paid to her husbands beneficiaries. Seven months seems a bit too long to me.

This Skaggs fellow has allowed the Northern Indiana Public Service Company (NIPSCO) to outsource so much of what used to be done by usually efficient Hoosiers at NIPSCO to places such as Costa Rica. This is causing so much confusion among management and labor at NIPSCO, that I’m wondering if this guy really is worth this much.

Workers have a right to know who the hell is in charge of the place.

NIPSCO doesn’t know up from down, left from right, or even right from wrong anymore.

Get on the ball, Skaggs, and treat your retirees and their widows right, and start bringing those NIPSCO jobs back to Indiana. We’re Americans, not Costa Ricans. And while you’re at it, see to it that the deceased retiree gets his due.

source for compensation: AFL-CIO Executive Pay Watch

Charlie Averill

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

POWERcast Episode 1


POWERcast is the United Steelworkers’ internet radio program, a fast new way to provide union news and reports of interest to all working families.

Episode 1 - January 29, 2006

This week, POWERcast features an interview with USW President Leo W. Gerard about the crucial role of solidarity in the Goodyear strike late last year.

Also, U.S. Rep. George Miller, the California Democrat who introduced the minimum wage increase in Congress and got it passed Jan. 10, talks about the Senate Republicans’ demand that the measure include tax breaks for small business.

We’ve got a special treat for you at the end of our POWERcast. We call it Creep of the Week. Here’s a clue about our winner: do you think you could screw up at work then get your company to hand you $210 million buckaroos to quit?

Sunday, January 28, 2007

NIPSCO Pay Your Bills

Hey NIPSCO! When people get their NIPSCO bill, you expect them to pay the damn thing or risk being shut off.
Well, how about paying your own stinking bills. What's the matter with you?
Your retirees have life insurance policys which were negotiated. Why put a widow through the hassle of waiting and waiting for you screw balls to pay up.
Either pay the stinking insurance claims, or tell people your just not going to pay, so they can sue your butts.
You got the most screwed up system I've ever heard of.
You didn't used to have this problem, but now you have so much work outsourced to out of state and out of country companies that it's no wonder your employees and retirees are upset.

Even your own management knows how screwed up you are.

Do I have to call Lou Dobbs or 60 minutes or the newspapers or what?

Pay up!

Charlie Averill

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Bush Health-Care Proposal


For Immediate Release: January 24, 2007

Contact: Gary Hubbard, 202-778-4384; 202-256-8125

USW Rejects Bush Health-Care Proposal
Tax scheme fails to expand coverage for all, erodes employer plans

Pittsburgh (Jan. 23) – Leo W. Gerard, President of the United Steelworkers (USW), said American workers know a raw deal when they hear one and tonight’s State of the Union proposal by President Bush of a so-called standard tax deduction for health insurance doesn’t set any benchmarks for covering the uninsured while “sticking it to workers who have employer health care coverage.”

“Congress should reject this plan out of hand,” Gerard said. “It not only erodes employer coverage, where two out of three Americans now receive their health benefits, it’s a back-door attempt to saddle union workers with a tax for the health care benefits they negotiate through collective bargaining.”

“This proposal makes it more apparent than ever,” Gerard added, “that the Bush Administration doesn’t have a clue about how to address the needs of middle class and working Americans, who are being hammered by health care costs running totally out of control.”

The USW president said Americans are ready for big ideas to the health-care crisis, yet this Administration seems “obsessed with policies that widen the growing gap between the wealthy and the great majority of working Americans.”

The USW is a North American union representing 850,000 workers employed in metals, mining, paper, rubber, utilities and chemical industries, plus the health-care and business service sector.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

NIPSCO Cheats Widow

What Do I Have to Do?

My Dear Husband, David Letts, a retired NIPSCO employee, passed away on June 14, 2006. The following week I called the Benefits office in Orlando, Florida to see what I must do to have the $10,000 life insurance policy dispersed to his 5 children. David told me that he had changed the beneficiary listing to the five children after his divorce.

A nice gentleman, by the name of Steve, said that I would have to supply them with a death certificate and a listing of the children’s names, addresses and Social Security numbers. Within several days I received copies of his death certificate and typed up a listing of his children and all of their information, and sent it to Orlando.

Now, after over seven months since my husband’s death, I still can’t get any information as to why these claims have not been paid. I gave up writing down the dates and times of phone calls made to the Benefits office after the number reached ten. All I hear from them is that they are “waiting for approval from Corporate”.

However, I had been told by the Insurance Committee Chairperson for USW local 13796, that I should call Prudential since the policies were through Prudential. Through the number that I was given, I called Prudential and they said that they never heard anything about a policy concerning my husband.

Alas, I am no farther along than when David passed away. So, remembering that I am a member of the Steelworkers Organization of Active Retirees, perhaps I needed to turn to other resources. Charlie Averill, president of my SOAR chapter, has come to my rescue, or at least he is trying to. He gave me the name and phone number for the Insurance Committee Chairman for USW Local 12775, who in turn gave me the name of Lois Olson, from NIPSCO, whom I have contacted and still am getting no results.

My husband has been gone over seven months and NIPSCO is refusing to acknowledge it and pay the rightful insurance claim to his children. David spent 35 years at NIPSCO, and they can’t find approval for issuance of the insurance proceeds? Do I need to send someone a copy of his ID card to prove that he truly did work for NIPSCO?

David had been receiving his pension payments without a problem. But now NIPSCO can’t find approval for his final insurance payout. How much more money do they have to cheat their employees and retirees out of before they are really, truly happy?

It is bad enough to have lost my husband, David, but now his children are being cheated out of what is rightfully theirs.

Marlys Letts, irate widow of NIPSCO retiree

Monday, January 22, 2007

Which Marriages do better? Republican or Democrat?

I’ve just had an epiphany. At least I think that’s what they call it.

When I was working for NIPSCO (Northern Indiana Public Service Company), occasionally, some boss would be so belligerent and bone headed that often times someone would say, “How would you like your daughter to come home with someone like that?”.

This (what I’m calling an) epiphany came to me last week while watching the modern Republicans in congress whining about increasing the minimum wage, and having Medicare negotiate lower drug prices for our retirees and seeing how hard headed and belligerent they were.

All of a sudden it hit me.

Since George Bush refuses to negotiate with our enemies, and since the Republicans in congress refuse to negotiate with the Democrats, and since so many companies don’t want to negotiate with their workers, how in the world could people like this ever find a spouse, and when they do, how could they ever live together in peace and harmony?

As an example, NiSource, although a fortune 500 company that pays out millions of dollars in salaries and bonuses to their top executives, are failing to negotiate in good faith with the workers at several companies that they own and are demanding gigantic concessions from their workers.

So, where’s the epiphany?

Here it is.

Now, having been married for 41 years, I know that for a marriage to succeed, some negotiations must take place on occasion. I know that a person’s politics doesn’t necessarily dictate how successful a marriage will be, but I do realize that sometimes, give and take is required to keep a marriage intact.

The question I’m pondering is this:

Are the marriages composed of Republicans more or less likely to end in divorce than marriages composed of Democrats?

My guess is, that although Republicans claim to have a monopoly on “family values” and call themselves “compassionate conservatives” and seem to think that God is also a Republican, they, at the same time, are so intolerant, and have personalities and dispositions that are not really all that conducive to the making of a happy marriage.

If anyone has made a study of this, I sure would appreciate your conclusions.

Charlie

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Hillary is "IN"


Senator Hillary Clinton has opened a presidential exploratory committee in her first step toward a run for the White House.

She has a great website displaying among other things, a photo slide show and several video clips. It’s certainly worth a look see.

I remember shortly after 9-11 being in Washington D.C. with a number of Steelworkers and members of the Steelworkers Organization of Active Retirees. We had great difficulty in finding our legislators as they were all in hiding from the anthrax scare. While walking to one of the Senators offices, we saw Hillary and asked if she would consider getting her photograph taken with us. She took time out of her busy schedule to do just that, however, when the photo was about to be taken, our photographer realized that he was out of film.

Later in the week, we again saw Hillary. She stopped to speak with us and then said, “Say, let’s take that picture again”. You can view that photograph here.

So, I can say that not only am I impressed with Hillary's performance so far in the U.S. Senate, but I also know that Senator Hillary Clinton is also a very understanding and friendly person.
Take a look at her website here.

Charlie Averill

Friday, January 19, 2007

The Good and the Bad

How did our Congressman in northern Indiana vote when they had a chance to help workers?

Pete Viscosky voted to increase the minimum wage.
Joe Donnelly voted to increase the minimum wage.
Mark Souder voted against workers.
Steve Buyer didn't vote.

How did our congressman in northern Indiana vote when they had a chance to help retirees?

Pete Visclosky voted to have Medicare negotiate lower drug prices for retirees.
Joe Donnelly voted to have Medicare negotiate lower drug prices for retirees.
Mark Souder voted against retirees.
Steve Buyer didn't vote.

hmmmmm.....I think I see a trend here.

Which congressman in northern Indiana has signed on to the Employee Free Choice Act?

Pete Visclosky is cosponsor to the Employee Free Choice Act.
Joe Donnelly is cosponsor to the Employee Free Choice Act.
Mark Souder...........nothing
Steve Buyer.............nothing

Workers and retirees, let us remember. Souder and Buyer are on their way out.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Goodyear Tires get the OK

The scab, temporary replacement tire builders at Goodyear plants have been canned.

Goodyear tires are now being built by experienced members of the United Steelworkers and have been removed from my personal boycott list.

My next set of tires will be Goodyear tires.

Charlie

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Republican Colors

The right wingers in the U.S. House of Representatives once again displayed their true colors yesterday as they did their best to persuade their colleagues to vote against requiring Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices with the drug companies to make prescription drugs more affordable for seniors.

All day long they called upon their “free market god” to save the drug company donations in their pockets.

I wish I had a dollar for every time they said "let the free market take care of it." What the heck is a free market, anyway?

It’s funny that we don’t hear them call for the free market when it’s time to hand out no bid contracts, or to provide corporate welfare, or subsidies to their corporate pals.

They’ll do anything to hurt seniors. I think it has something to do with their family values. Or is this what they mean by compassionate conservatism.

Maybe they get it from one of the ten commandments. The one that says, “Honor your father & mother”.

Anyway, the bums lost their argument, and H.R. 4 passed, requiring Medicare to negotiate drug prices with the drug companies.

Find out how your Representative voted on this important issue. If he/she voted against it, fire him/her next chance you get.

I did learn one thing, and I’m glad I did. Not all Republicans are evil. There are a few good ones. Not many, but a few.

Another good thing might come out of the day. The Republicans brought to light how miserable a prescription drug program our veterans have. Maybe they will introduce legislation to fix that program as well.

We’ll see.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Message to U.S. House Republicans

What a sham.
Listening to the Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives speak against raising the minimum wage is simply discusting.
I contend that they are not genuine Republicans.
They want us to see that they are cheap, stingy, and cruel, and mean spirited when it comes to helping the "least of these".
One even suggested that a person who receives the minimum wage, should get a "real job".
Many of this type Republican bit the dust in the last election. If those remaining don't change their ways, they'll also be looking for another job.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

110th Congress Takes Office


Press Release

January 4, 2007

Washington, DC -- "I, do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion, and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God."

With these words, the Members of the 110th Congress took the oath of office today – marking 218 years of uninterrupted elected national government under the U.S. Constitution.

The House of Representatives proceeded to elect its officers:
· Speaker – Hon. Nancy Pelosi (California)
· Majority Leader – Hon. Steny Hoyer (Maryland)
· Republican Leader – Hon. John Boehner (Ohio)
· Majority Whip – Hon. James E. Clyburn (South Carolina)
· Republican Whip – Hon. Roy Blunt (Missouri)
· Clerk – Hon. Karen Lehman Haas
· Sergeant at Arms – Hon. Wilson S. Livingood
· Chief Administrative Officer – Hon. James M. Eagan, III
· Chaplain – Hon. Daniel P. Coughlin

Congratulations Joe Donnelly, Congressman, Indiana 2nd Congressional District