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Showing posts from October, 2008

Hi Hoosier Steelworkers

Hi Hoosier Steelworkers,

Today USW International President Gerard reiterated the need for us to get out there and vote for the candidates that will support and have supported working families in Indiana. He asked us to think objectively about one thing that Sen. McCain has done for working folks in his 28 years in office.
We couldn't think of a single thing. In fact, on all the issues that affect us - pensions, health care, trade and education - he stands against us. On all the issues that help us get ahead, make a living, stand up for other working folks - he speaks against us. On every single piece of legislation where we could have leveled the playing field, ensure we would not be replaced when exercising our right to strike, and protecting our retirements - HE voted against us.

When it came to Governor Daniels I couldn't think of a single thing he has done for us either. In Indiana, one of his first official acts was to sweep away collective bargaining rights for state employ…

The American Promise

“What — what is that American promise? It’s a promise that says each of us has the freedom to make of our own lives what we will, but that we also have obligations to treat each other with dignity and respect. It’s a promise that says the market should reward drive and innovation and generate growth, but that businesses should live up to their responsibilities to create American jobs, to look out for American workers, and play by the rules of the road. Ours — ours is a promise that says government cannot solve all our problems, but what it should do is that which we cannot do for ourselves: protect us from harm and provide every child a decent education; keep our water clean and our toys safe; invest in new schools, and new roads, and science, and technology._Our government should work for us, not against us. It should help us, not hurt us. It should ensure opportunity not just for those with the most money and influence, but for every American who’s willing to work. That’s t…

There is only one candidate!

If you care about holding on to your job;
If you care about healthcare;
If you care about pensions;
If you care about your homes;
If you care about creating good jobs with clean energy;
Child care;
Pay equity for women workers;
There is only one candidate on the ballot this fall who is on that side;
Only one candidate that is going to stand up for your families;
There is only one candidate that has earned your vote;
and that candidate is Barack Obama!

Source: Paraphrase of part of a speech given by Richard Trumka, Secretary-Treasurer of the AFL-CIO

McCain's Class Warfare

Class Warfare
by Bernie Horn

In recent weeks, conservatives have ramped up their name-calling and accusations, telling voters that progressives such as Barack Obama are “socialists” who want to take money from the middle-class and give it away to the poor. According to John McCain, Obama “believes in redistributing wealth, not in policies that grow our economy and create jobs and opportunities for all Americans.” McCain claims that progressive tax policies will raise tax rates on small businesses and “hard-working families to give ‘welfare’ to those who pay none.”

Fast Facts

* Conservatives are the real redistributors of wealth. Under the Bush Administration, the incomes of middle-range households have stagnated. Workers with earnings in the lower range have lost ground and, taking inflation into consideration, on average they now earn less than they did in 2000. All the income these workers lost went directly to the top 20 percent of households, the only group whose share of income rose …

Just a little Republican Humor

The maverick, Sarah Palin's cost for clothes for 8 weeks - $2,678.57 a day

Shop, baby shop? GOP spent $150K on Palin clothes - see article here

The hockey mom, Palin cost for a stylist for two weeks - $1,628.57 a day

Palin stylist draws higher pay than policy adviser - see article here

Veterans Issues

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Let's Not Have a Train Wreck

A John McSame Sweet Potato

For some reason, Republicans have been sending me John McSame campaign literature all summer.
The 4 pound sweet Potato you see here was grown at my home at Bass Lake, Indiana.

How did it get this size you ask?

Well, I tore the McSame literature into one inch squares which I let soak in a bucket of water for about a week. The resulting "McSame manure Tea" (MMT) was sprinkled onto the plant once per week over the summer.

I'm hoping to gather up enough McSame campaign literature so I can grow a whole row of them next year.

Sprinkling the MMT at the perimeter of the garden, seems to have kept the deer away as well.

Many thanks to my Republican friends.

Paint McCain a red-baiter

By Leo W. Gerard
International President

In a perverse way, the media painted Republicans perfectly when it selected red for their states.
Reporters would never have guessed when they did it that the red party’s candidate would engage in red-baiting. But there was John McCain repeatedly doing it in the debate Wednesday night, trying to convert Barack Obama into a terrifying “spread-the-wealth-around” commie. And earlier this month, the Republican’s brother, Joe “McCarthy” McCain, called two Democratic-leaning Virginia counties “Communist Country.”

When it comes to spreading assets around, however, the royal red Republicans, led by King “I-am-a-capitalist-really” George, take the Triple Crown. Their upside down communism works like this: the middle class pays for the tax breaks awarded the nation’s rich and for the financial recklessness of Wall Street’s ultra-wealthy.

Trickle down

In the Republican world, in the view of John McCain and George W. Bush, it never, ever works the other way. A c…

Georgia Pacific Showing True Colors

Georgia Pacific workers in Wheatfield, Indiana still without a contract

USW-represented workers at Georgia Pacific’s Wheatfield, Ind., wallboard plant continue to struggle for their first union contract. After more than 14 months of negotiations with the GP management, there is still no deal. A few of the issues delaying Wheatfield from reaching an agreement are that GP management wants to pick and choose who works overtime instead of following a seniority system and has denied the workers’ request to create a joint safety and health committee to work on issues in the plant.

Fight-Back is underway! Labor charges have been filed against GP for unfair bargaining at this plant. Steelworkers in District 7 and in the Building Products division of GP are steadily reaching out in support of the Wheatfield GP workers, and will continue to do so until a fair agreement is achieved. If progress is not made at the negotiating table soon, we will be looking at more ways to urge GP to do right by the…

Social Security Benefit Increase for 2009


News Release October 16, 2008

Social Security Announces 5.8 Percent Benefit Increase for 2009

Monthly Social Security and Supplemental Security Income benefits for more than 55 million Americans will increase 5.8 percent in 2009, the Social Security Administration announced today. The 5.8 percent increase is the largest since 1982.

Social Security and Supplemental Security Income benefits increase automatically each year based on the rise in the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W), from the third quarter of the prior year to the corresponding period of the current year. This year's increase in the CPI-W was 5.8 percent.

The 5.8 percent Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA) will begin with benefits that over 50 million Social Security beneficiaries receive in January 2009. Increased payments to more than 7 million Supplemental Security Income beneficiaries will begin on December 31.

Some other c…

Candidate Comparison - Health Care

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Indiana Retirees To Endorse Obama/Biden

8815 16th Street, NW, 4th Floor - Washington, D.C. 20006 - (202) 637-5399 -

For Immediate Release: October 13, 2008
Contact: Marcie Kohenak, (914) 318-0674


Indiana members of the Alliance for Retired Americans will show their support for Barack Obama on Tuesday in Mishawaka. Citing his strong position on Social Security in a time of economic anxiety, the national Alliance will today endorse Barack Obama for president.

DATE: Tuesday October 14, 2008

TIME: 1:00 p.m.

USW Local #1191
125 S. Hill Street
Mishawaka, IN

CONTACT: Marcie Kohenak, (914) 318-0674

"Retirees are very anxious," said national Alliance President George J. Kourpias, whose organization represents over 3.5 million members. "Not only are they concerned about their own retirement security, but they worry about what lies ahead for their children and grandc…

Why I am Supporting Larry Balmer for State Senator

Larry Balmer is a candidate for Indiana State Senate District 5. He is a Democrat.

I told Larry that I was a retired Steelworker having retired from NIPSCO. I asked him to give me some reasons as to why I should vote for him. Below is his response:

"Charlie, thanks for this opportunity to address my thoughts with your members." "Please don't hesitate to contact me if you have any questions. Thanks again and regards."

Larry Balmer

Positions on retiree issues:

Right to Work
Strongly oppose. Such laws unfairly allow others to take advantage of the working conditions established by the efforts of organized labor. Organized labor has proven time and again that unions promote a quality workforce necessary to the development and expansion of industry in Indiana.

Strongly oppose. Government is meant to provide services to the citizens of the state and its subdivisions. When privatization occurs, motives are shifted from service to profit and the citizen suffers. …

Obam vs McCain on Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA)

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McCain Health Plan Would Cut Medicare by 22%

The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday that Senator John McCain’s health plan would be financed through $1.3 trillion in cuts to Medicare and Medicaid over 10 years. According to the Tax Policy Center, this would be a 22% cut in both programs. These cuts would be needed to keep his health care tax credits budget-neutral, in Washington parlance. The Center for American Progress said cuts of this magnitude would eliminate the Medicare prescription drug benefit for 10.2 million low-income seniors. “These reports pull back the curtain on the McCain health care plan, showing us that it would be paid for on the back of millions of retirees. This is terrible news for our nation’s seniors, who in this time of economic anxiety, are already struggling to make ends meet,” said Alliance Executive Director Edward F. Coyle.

Source: Alliance for Retired Americans October 10 issue of Friday Alert

This is what the union can do for you!

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This results in some workers getting a $4 per hour raise!

Obama vs McCain: Record on Women

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Where The Candidates Stand on Retiree Issues

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Can You Afford to Gamble Away Your Social Security?

Just like George Bush, Republican John McCain supports Social Security privatization, which would take money out of the Social Security Trust Fund and create private accounts tied to the roulette wheel of the stock market.

With all the turmoil on Wall Street, would you trust the stock market with your Social Security benefits?

A few more reasons why Social Security privatization is a gamble we cannot afford to take:

The cost of living has increased 21.5 percent since 2001. (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 9/14/08)The U.S. Energy Department is expecting home heating oil to cost 30 percent more this winter. And a 19 percent increase for natural gas. (Associated Press, 9/9/08)Bread prices are up 41 percent since 2001; Ground beef, 37 percent; Eggs nearly 100 percent. (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 9/12/08)Home values have fallen 4.8 percent in the past year – back to 2005 levels. (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, 8/26/08)28 percent of all mortgage delinquencies and foreclosure…

Alliance for Retired Americans Retiree Roadrunner

Wrapped in red, white and blue roadrunner graphics, eight-passenger Retiree Roadrunner vans are driving across the nation to discuss the election and voting rights with America's seniors.
They will be traveling along routes in key states, filled with educational materials including state voter guides; candidate side-by-side comparisons; and information on senior issues such as Social Security, Medicare, voter rights and the stimulus rebate.

The Roadrunner will be visiting retiree town hall meetings, pancake breakfasts, and other outreach events so that retirees get the facts about the economy and this election. Stops are currently scheduled for Arizona, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.

The Retiree Roadrunner is driving home the issues that matter most to seniors. Alliance for Retired Americans members -- those who built the American Dream -- Steelworkers, SOAR members, vets, and retired teachers, want dign…