We all know the important role that SOAR plays in protecting and enhancing the quality of life for our retirees. With the political climate in our two countries today, the SOAR Executive Board believes nothing is more important to our retired members than having a strong voice to represent their interests.
Right-wing extremists and radical special-interest groups have been leading a cruel and brutal campaign to erode or eliminate the social programs that our retired members depend on and deserve. Essential programs like Social Security and Medicare have been under constant assault in the United States. In Canada our members are fighting to protect their National Health Care and are vigorously pursuing changes in their bankruptcy laws to protect the benefits that our union has fought for and won.
These malicious and heartless assaults on working families must be stopped. The attempts to cut Social Security and Medicare benefits coupled with the attempt to “gamble” with Social Security benefits by investing the trust fund in the stock market is, in a word, unconscionable. What would be more unconscionable is if we stood by and did nothing to stop it.
We must renew our efforts to build SOAR into the premier advocacy group for preserving and advancing the rights and benefits of retired workers. The true strength of SOAR is still based on the number of Chapter members, the activists and leaders essential to our ability to act collectively on issues that affect our union’s retired and active members alike.
To that end, we are asking for your help. It is imperative that we continue to organize SOAR Chapters throughout both countries. We must provide support and strengthen the Chapters we have already established. And, we must renew our efforts to build SOAR into the organization that it has the potential to be.
In order to do all this, we must continue to grow. We are asking all of you to reach out to your fellow retirees who are not members and ask them to join. If you have retirees from other USW locals or facilities in your area, ask them to join your chapter or establish their own. Build ties with the active USW locals in your area and ask for their support. They could be a source of new members for your group or you can assist them in establishing their own chapter.
Rebuilding and strengthening SOAR is essential for winning the fight to improve and protect programs like Medicare and Social Security. Our well-being in retirement depends upon our activism and unity. A revitalized SOAR will go a long way towards protecting our rights.
We are confident that by working together, we can build SOAR into the strongest and most successful retiree organization in the labor movement but, we need your help!
Jim Centner, SOAR Director