Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Cooper Tire Turns Rogue

More information, contact: Tony Montana, USW – 412-562-2592

Pittsburgh – The United Steelworkers (USW) today condemned Cooper Tire and Rubber Company’s decision to lock-out workers at the company’s profitable Findlay, Ohio production facility, despite the union’s good faith offer to keep working while negotiations toward a new labor contract proceeded.
USW District 1 Director Dave McCall said that he expects the union to pursue unlawful bargaining charges against Cooper with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and added that the union is still committed to negotiating a fair contract in Findlay.

“These negotiations have been hindered considerably by Cooper’s behavior at the bargaining table and the company’s determination to instigate a labor dispute,” said USW District 1 sub-director Patrick Gallagher. “Cooper’s intent to test our solidarity became clear the moment the company refused our offer to continue working until we reached a new contract.”

“Our members are proud of their longstanding relationships with Cooper’s loyal customers,” said Rod Nelson, USW Local 207L president “We urge Cooper management to return to negotiations at once so that these relationships are not strained.”

USW Local 207L represents more than 1,000 hourly workers in Findlay, while USW Local 752L represents Cooper employees in Texarkana, Texas.

The USW represents about 850,000 working men and women in the United States and Canada in a wide variety of industries, ranging from glass making to mining, paper, steel, tire and rubber and other manufacturing environments to the public sector, service and health care industries.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Indiana Doesn't Need Right-to-Work Legislation

By Rich James
Last Modified: Nov 25, 2011 10:00AM

When the General Assembly convenes on Jan. 4, the eyes of the nation may well be on Indiana.

Not because the state remains the best in the nation when it comes to high school basketball, but because there will be an unwarrated attack upon organized labor.

The Republicans, who do the bidding of corporations and other businesses, will seek the passage of a right-to-work bill.

The bill would force organized labor to represent workers who refuse to pay union dues.

The bill also would be a significant step by Republicans to destroy the unions that built America.

The Republicans say right-to-work will clear the way for additional businesses to relocate to Indiana.

Those are the very same businesses that have no desire to deal with unions. They want to drive down workers’ wages and increase corporate profits and power.

Statistics show the average worker in a right-to-work state makes about $5,333 a year less than workers in other states.

Twenty-one percent more people in right-to-work states don’t have health insurance.

And the list goes on.

Do Republicans care? Of course not, although they will try to tell you otherwise. And they wonder why they can’t get the union vote.

Republicans contend corporations have shipped jobs overseas because of the cost of dealing with unions. Don’t buy it. It’s about greed.

Republicans also will tell you that Democrats oppose right to work because of the money that unions contribute to their party.

While there is truth to that, there is a bigger issue involved here.

It is about quality of life for the middle class — a group that has been declining in numbers because of attacks like the one planned by Republican legislators.

The CEO of a company may take up residence on the top floor, but it’s the union folks who laid the bricks, hammered the nails and ran the electricity and plumbing that made it all possible.

Unions aren’t perfect, but they provide quality craftsmanship and are an integral part of a community.

Gov. Mitch Daniels keeps boasting that Indiana is one of the most attractive states in the country for new business.

If that in fact is the case, and I have no reason to doubt it, why the push for right-to-work?

I guess the easy answer is that they can. Republicans control the House and Senate and the governor’s office.

Some say the Republicans want to eliminate the voice of the working man from the political process. Hard to argue against that.

When Republicans introduced legislation to do the same thing early this year, some Democrats walked out for five weeks, preventing a quorum. The bill died.

Might the Democrats skip out again? It’s possible, but I don’t think so. Walking out again might well work against the Democrats.

Staying in the Statehouse while Hoosiers from across Indiana rally in Indianapolis for several weeks could be a political plus for Democrats come November 2012.

And you can bet the vast majority of Hoosier teachers, who saw Republicans take away the majority of their bargaining rights earlier this year, will be at the fore when the unions take to the streets.

Might right to work lure a few more businesses to Indiana? Probably. Might they be worth it? Probably not.

So, why are Republicans going out of their way to rip the state apart when they don’t have to?
Money. Greed. And most of all — arrogance.

Rich James’ column appears on Fridays in the Post-Tribune, A Chicago Sun-Times Publication

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Steelworker Retirees Prepare

Gary Gaines, SOAR Coordinator in USW District 7 is shown in this photo presenting the charter for a new SOAR Chapter made up of retirees USW Local 7-669.
The rogue Honeywell company locked out their workers from June 28, 2010 to August 2, 2011 but found out that Steelworkers have staying power and will last one day longer.
By joining SOAR and establishing their own chapter, these retirees will be in a much better position to help their union in the future........a great group of retirees.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Largest newspaper of the year

Going out to the mail box this morning to retrieve the newspaper brought back memories of my days as a paper boy arount 1954 or so, delivering the Chicago Tribune to the business district in Hobart, Indiana.
All the paperboys dreaded delivering the paper on Thanksgiving as it had more pages in it than any other paper of the year. It made the job much harder than usual. The newspapers barely fit into the canvas bag we used and sometimes we even had to go back for another load.
It also made it really difficult to steer my bicycle with that huge bag on the handlebars.
It was a good time of the year for tips though. The day I made my collections, one of the saloons in town always sat me at the bar and gave me free shots of Ginger Ale. And then Abbots restaurant always provided me with a free breakfast of anything I wanted.
We have a rural delivery now and I imagine that those carriers have an equally difficult time handling those big newspapers as well.
Tip your newspaper carrier well, they deserve every penny.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Open Enrollment Ends December 7

Remember: Medicare Open Enrollment ends earlier this year. You have until December 7 to make sure your health and drug coverage still meets your needs.

If you're happy with your current coverage, you don't need to do anything. But make sure you understand any upcoming changes to your plan's costs or benefits.

If you want to change plans, or if you need help choosing the right plan, visit and get personalized information about plans in your area.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Friday Alert Alliance for Retired Americans

Excepts from the November 18, 2011 edition

Super Committee Negotiations Go Down to the Wire
Just five days before the deadline for a deficit reduction deal, the Super Committee dealing with the nation’s budget deficit in Congress still did not seem close to reaching an agreement on tax reforms and spending cuts. According to CNN, 72 conservative House Republicans made public their opposition to any Super Committee agreement that includes tax increases. Such a large voting bloc in the Republican majority means Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) would need support from Democrats to get a deal that contains tax increases to pass the House. Democrats said they would not accept Republican demands to raise the Medicare eligibility age to 67, lower cost-of-living increases for Social Security beneficiaries, and permanently reduce all income tax rates. The special joint congressional committee has until November 23 to come up with a plan. A majority of the panel's 12 members, evenly split between Democrats and Republicans in the House and Senate, need to agree on savings of at least $1.2 trillion over the next 10 years. If they reach a deal, then Congress will have until December 23 to vote on it without amending it. A failure to pass any agreement would result in $1.2 trillion in automatic across-the-board spending cuts starting in 2013, evenly divided between defense and non-defense spending.

Brown-Mikulski-Merkley Bill Would Help Seniors by Changing Social Security COLA
On Wednesday, Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), and Jeff Merkley (D-OR) introduced S. 1876, the Consumer Price Index for Elderly Consumers Act. It is a bill to change the Social Security COLA to what is called the Consumer Price Index for the Elderly (CPI-E) formula. "Retirees spend more of their financial resources on health care and housing than the general population. Because health care inflation rates, in particular, have been much higher than general inflation during the past twenty years, the current formula used to calculate the Social Security annual COLA does not accurately reflect the everyday costs that seniors face.  This legislation would be a financial help to seniors by addressing the existing disparity in calculating the COLA formula," said David Friesner, President of the Ohio Alliance and a constituent of Sen. Brown. The bill comes at a crucial time, given news stories about the Super Committee’s possible plans to adjust the COLA downward, and is a counterweight to those frightening reports.

Alliance Activists Take to the Streets, Community
As the Super Committee nears its deadline, Alliance activists this week made their voices heard all across the country.  At events ranging from protests and rallies in California, Arizona and Texas to Social Security and Medicare forums in Iowa, Florida, and New York, to a state convention in West Virginia, Alliance members educated their local community on issues facing current and future retirees.  Watch the Arizona Alliance on the TV news in Phoenix at "From city sidewalks to senior centers in small towns, Alliance members are out there every single week, fighting for social and economic justice," said Ruben Burks, the Alliance’s Secretary-Treasurer.

Regional Meetings Begin in February

Be sure to hold the following dates for the Alliance’s 2012 Regional Meetings:
•    Western Regional: February 29 – March 2, 2012 - Las Vegas, Nevada - Bally’s Hotel

•    Midwest Regional: March 5-8, 2012 - Milwaukee, Wisconsin – Hilton Hotel Milwaukee

•    Southern Regional: April 29 – May 1, 2012 - Orlando, Florida – Buena Vista Palace Hotel
•    Northeastern Regional: May 14-16, 2012 - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – Sheraton City Center Hotel

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Veterans Serve in other than the Military

I was reminded this morning that many able bodied folks who did not serve in the armed forces during past wars were serving in other much needed capacities.
My Father made steel during those wars as did Elaine's Father. As well, Elaine's Aunt was one of the original Rosie the Riveters by becoming a crane operator in one of the steel mills. Other spouses cared for their families while their spouses were either off to war or working in occupations necessary to support the war effort.
So let's also remember and thank those other "veterans" of service to our country during this Veterans Day week end.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Veterans Day for all who served

Those who served our country in the past or today deserve our thanks. It doesn't matter which service they served in either. Those who weren't able to serve in the military or who chose another direction have no idea the sacrifice these folks have made. Their sacrifice is just simply unbelievable.
Thanks to all of our veterans.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Top Question of the day

Q. Where can the worlds smallest font be found?
A. The "Member Services" phone number on the back of an Anthem insurance card.

I wonder if the reason could be that they don't wish to field questions from their members?

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Alliance for Retired Americans Friday Alert Nov 4, 2011

Washington Post Misleads Seniors on Social Security
The Washington Post published a Halloween-Eve front page "Prediction of Doom" feature piece riddled with misleading statements and inaccuracies about Social Security and its financial footing [].  The 12-member panel is less than a month away from its deadline for finding at least $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction, but it’s said to be looking for closer to $4 trillion. "The timing was particularly bad, because we’re in the homestretch of the Super Committee negotiations," said Edward F. Coyle, Executive Director of the Alliance. In a letter to the editor, Mr. Coyle wrote, "Your October 30 feature 'The debt fallout: How Social Security went 'cash negative' earlier than expected' not only contained misleading information about Social Security, but falsely connects the program to the federal budget deficit...(There) is enough money to fully pay benefits through 2036, and if we were to require millionaires to pay the same proportion of Social Security taxes as middle class workers, the Trust Fund would be sound well toward the end of this century." The group Media Matters posted a thorough debunking of the Washington Post story at

Super Committee Taking Hard Look at Social Security, Medicare Cuts
Politico reports that the Super Committee, charged with drastically reducing the nation’s budget deficit, is taking a serious look at Social Security and Medicare. On Tuesday, former Sen. Alan Simpson (R-Wyo.) and former White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles, as well as founding Director of the Congressional Budget Office Alice Rivlin and former Senate Budget Chairman Pete Domenici (R-N.M.) testified at a public hearing before the Committee about their two sweeping bipartisan budget plans. The Simpson-Bowles and Rivlin-Domenici frameworks contain major Social Security and Medicare cuts in addition to tax code overhauls.

Mr. Bowles, the co-chairman of President Obama's fiscal commission, offered a range of possible Medicare cuts, from policies like provider cuts to highly charged proposals such as a public insurance option. "I don’t know why in the world you wouldn’t have Medicare negotiate" prescription drug prices, Bowles said, while also calling for aggressive tort reform. In addition, he said he would support raising the Medicare eligibility age, which the fiscal commission did not recommend. Bowles proposes saving $200 billion by using a less generous formula – the Chained CPI (Consumer Price Index) - to calculate cost-of-living adjustments in Social Security. To see how such a plan would hurt seniors, go to
Dr. Rivlin and former Sen. Domenici presented the Committee with a new model for Medicare "premium support." Their proposal would give seniors a choice to either take their Medicare benefits in the form of a voucher for private insurance or remain in the existing program. However, Congressional Democrats strongly resisted earlier proposals to convert Medicare entirely into a premium-support system. Democratic Super Committee members also raised questions about Rivlin and Domenici’s new plan.

"All four witnesses have a track record of being willing to cut senior programs severely," said Ruben Burks, Secretary-Treasurer of the Alliance.

The Alliance’s Halloween: Spotlighting Politicians’ Tricks & Treats
Since Arizona Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ) is a member of the Super Committee, Arizona Alliance members dressed up for Halloween to protest possible cuts in Social Security and Medicare. To see the photos, go to

Mr. Coyle joined Rep. Shelley Berkley (D-NV) and two Nevada seniors on a conference call with reporters on Wednesday to highlight the anti-senior voting record of U.S. Senator Dean Heller (R-NV) on Social Security and Medicare.  Coyle said, "Sen. Heller says that he is a friend of seniors, but his voting record says otherwise. Dean Heller voted against a one-time $250 payment to help seniors. $250 may be just dinner and drinks for Dean Heller's Wall Street donors, but to seniors in Nevada and across the country, it would have made a real difference.

Both the Iowa and South Carolina Alliance chapters will have held educational forums for seniors on national and state issues by the end of this week. The Iowa Alliance joined the group "Know Your Care" on Wednesday in Des Moines for a public forum on strengthening Social Security and Medicare. South Carolina Alliance members will be gathering in Myrtle Beach tomorrow for a forum that will encompass Social Security, Medicare, debt reduction, the Super Committee recommendations, Medicaid, financial security for seniors in a volatile market, identity theft, and senior scams. Richard Fiesta, Director of the Department of Government and Political Affairs for the Alliance, spoke at the Vermont Alliance convention last Saturday.

Retirees Support “Occupy Cleveland”
A video shows Ohio Alliance members, led by Wynne Antonio and John Gallo, visiting with "Occupy Cleveland" protesters, sharing their lessons from lifelong activism and offering their support and encouragement.  To view it, go to Alliance President Barbara J. Easterling - an Ohio native - said of the video, "What a great show of inter-generational activism this event was. Retirees know firsthand how Wall Street greed and gambling has devastated retirement savings for millions of Americans.  We can never let Wall Street get their hands on a privatized Social Security system."

Obama to Speed up Production of Life-Saving Drugs
On Monday, President Obama signed an Executive Order that will help prevent shortages that lead to prescription drug price gouging and direct the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to investigate illegal price gouging. Drug shortages drive vendors to charge outrageous prices for drugs - one report found that price-gouging vendors mark up prices on drugs in short supply by 650 percent on average. The Executive Order directs the FDA to expand reporting about situations that might lead to drug shortages, and also to work with the Department of Justice to investigate illegal price gouging.

Editor’s Note: Due to Veterans Day, the next Friday Alert will be published on Thursday, November 10, 2011.
Download a printable version of this document at