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Showing posts from April, 2012

One Chance

Alliance for Retired Americans Friday Alert April 27, 2012

New Social Security, Medicare Projections No Excuse for Radical Changes
Reacting to new reports on the health of the Social Security and Medicare Trust Funds, Alliance Executive Director Edward F. Coyle warns retirees to be wary of politicians who would use these reports as, “political cover for radical changes that would put seniors at risk while enriching Wall Street and the big health insurance companies.”  Social Security, according to its Trustees, has a $2.7 trillion surplus, enough to fully meet the demands of a growing retiree cohort through 2033.  With no action from Congress, it would cover most benefits through 2086.  The Alliance supports an effort by Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) to significantly boost the Social Security Trust Fund by requiring the nation’s highest wage earners to pay Social Security taxes at the same rate as middle class workers. 

The Trustees report for Medicare noted that its Trust Fund, which covers hospital care, can fully pay benefits through 2024, an…

Let's Make a Difference

Brothers and Sisters,

We have two weeks.

Two weeks to make a difference in the future of our state, the future of our government and the future of our lives. 

Following the attacks on working people that occurred at the Indiana Statehouse, a record number of union members decided enough was enough and filed to run for office.

Now, we need to support them.

The following is a list of union brothers and sisters, who are facing tough primary election races. We need you to help us get them through the May 8th primary election by volunteering some of your time, treasure and talents these last 14 days.

If you are in these areas please reach out and help. Our involvement can make the difference in these critical races.

Southwestern Indiana
James Amick, Republican candidate for House District 64
James Amick is long time member of the IUOE and is running in the Republican primary for an open House seat. His primary challenger is a former employee of the Mackinac Center, a corporate fu-ded, right win…

Social Security, Medicare Reports No Excuse for Radical Changes

The following statement was issued by Edward F. Coyle, Executive Director of the Alliance for Retired Americans, in response to Trustees reports issued today on the Social Security and Medicare Trust Funds:

“Current and future retirees must be wary of Mitt Romney and others who will use today’s Trustees reports as political cover for radical changes that would put seniors at risk while enriching Wall Street and the big health insurance companies.

“Today’s reports do not justify the extreme ideas advocated by Mitt Romney and right-wing groups.  Increasing the retirement age would be terribly unfair to workers, particularly those in blue-collar and service sector jobs.  Privatizing Social Security would let Wall Street firms profit while gambling workers’ Social Security savings on the roulette wheel of the stock market.

“A more reasonable approach, one that would extend the Social Security Trust Fund to 2052, is the Rebuild America Act by Senator Tom Harkin.  It would require the highest…

We Must Remember

By Bill Gibbons

Two dates in May, 2012, represent the anniversary of two major historic labor events. One is the 70- year anniversary of the founding of the United Steelworkers of America  in Cleveland, Ohio. The other is the 75-year anniversary of the May 30, 1937, Memorial Day Massacre, at which time ten brave Steelworker members of Local 1033 were killed by Chicago police, while peacefully marching and picketing for a union contract at the Republic Steel Mill on the South Side of Chicago. Nine died of gunshot wounds and one from being beaten, and over a 100 others, including woman and children were injured. The sacrifices made by those injured and killed at Republic Steel, at what became known as the “Memorial Day Massacre,” was a major contribution to the formation of our union and the improvement in the working conditions, rights, wages and benefits that workers enjoyed for decades thereafter.

Statesman, Edmund Burke in the eighteenth century stated: “Those who don’t know histo…

The Affordable Care Act

By Connie Entrekin

As you all are well aware, in March of 2010, President Obama signed into law the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act - the largest reform of America’s health care system since the 1960s. Despite opposition, and the recent Supreme Court hearings, the Affordable Care Act continues to gain popularity as more provisions are implemented. Seniors and retirees are experiencing tremendous benefits from the new health law with more to follow.

Already this law has generated hundreds of millions of dollars in savings that is being used to improve quality of care.  Under the law, health insurance companies will no longer be allowed to deny care to older Americans with pre-existing health conditions. Furthermore, Medicare beneficiaries are receiving free annual checkups and they no longer have to pay for preventative screenings. The law has started to close the prescription drug donut hole; it has expanded options for home-based care, provided early retirees with afforda…

The GOP Budget

One thing that is made perfectly clear after looking at the Ryan Budget, is that the wealthy get tax breaks and everyone else gets screwed! The budget bill, that recently passed in the House of Representatives, turns Medicare into a privatized voucher program that will lead to the demise of Medicare. Under the GOP/Ryan plan, if seniors want the same level of coverage and access to health providers they’ve had in the past, they’ll have to pay more. If they can’t pay more, they’ll have to settle for less. At the same time, under the GOP/Ryan budget, billionaires continue to enjoy tax cuts that our nation simply can’t afford. 

It’s immoral to continually target seniors’ programs to foot the bill for an economic and fiscal crisis they did not create. Middle class Americans have already sacrificed more than their fair share with stagnant wages, plunging home values and vanishing savings. That’s why it’s simply wrong to target the average American to protect the wealthiest among us who con…
Brothers and Sisters,

As we fight to take back our state and reverse the attacks on working families, it’s important that we know where candidates, of both parties, stand on issues that matter to us.

With that in mind, the Executive Council of the Indiana AFL-CIO made the decision to take the unusual step of endorsing candidates for the upcoming May primary election.  It is our goal to ensure that as many pro-worker candidates emerge from the primary, on both sides of the ballot, as possible.

With questionnaires in hand, delegates from our affiliated organizations recently assembled for a C.O.P.E. Convention to review questionnaires and make endorsements.

The following list of endorsements are recommendations made by the Indiana AFL-CIO C.O.P.E Convention for the 2012 primary election only. Another C.O.P.E. Convention will be held after the primary election to make endorsements for the General Election this fall.

(D = Democrat/ R = Republican/ I =…

Technology - Keeping up

"The picture is terrible!" so says my son. And then my daughter chimed in, "Yea, Dad. It is bad. You need a new TV." It was the day before my 69th birthday. The annual family gathering was just getting going and technology was coming to call once again.  I responded to my daughter's agreement with, "Oh no, not you too?" I knew I was sunk. The next day there was a wide screen HD TV given to me on my birthday. It was a combination gift from the kids and my wife. The 'I Got Junk" truck was soon in the driveway and my old faithful TV disappeared.

My old TV was exactly 10 years old. I thought it gave me a good picture until I saw the picture on the new set. Amazing! It is so strange how we get use to something and don't recognize the usual wear and tear or deterioration of it over the years. This is one of the best things about having children. They recognize when the old chair sags or the picture on the TV just isn't doing the job.


NIPSCO can't afford cake

This year the Northern Indiana Public Service Company (NIPSCO) will be celebrating its 100-year anniversary with a party. The company has determined that NIPSCO union retirees (you know, the people who built the company) will not be invited as it would be cost prohibitive to invite retirees to any kind of celebration. The company will be distributing booklets with information and photos of its 110 year existence but if a retiree wants a copy of it they will have to buy it from the publisher of the book.

This should be no surprise to any NIPSCO retiree as this company has shown a lack of any  sensitivity and a total disregard of the needs of its retirees.

On April 6, the Northwest Indiana Times reported that Company directors in 2011 handed NIPSCO chief Jimmy Staton a discretionary bonus of $150,000 for "superior performance."

NiSource CEO Robert Skaggs Jr. (NiSource is the parent company of NIPSCO) received total compensation of $4.98 million in 2011.

Part of Skaggs' pac…

Alliance for Retired Americans Friday Alert, April 13, 2012

Wall Street Journal Gives Lay of the Land on Senior Vote in 2012
The battle for seniors in 2012 is being fought in large part over Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) House Republican budget, according to a story in The Wall Street Journal. The article states that Democrats can regain support from older voters who switched to the GOP in 2008 and 2010 by shedding light on the Republicans’ plans to revamp Medicare (

“That ‘revamping’ would be drastic, because it would give seniors a small voucher, or coupon, to purchase coverage in an expensive, unfair private insurance market,” said Edward F. Coyle Executive Director of the Alliance.

According to the Journal, Mitt Romney, the most likely candidate to be the Republican nominee for President, is proving to be a formidable competitor in this battle. Romney has drawn large shares of older voters during the primaries, and recent polls show him ahead of President Obama among seniors in swing states such as Ohio, Pennsylvania an…

Alliance Clips and Retiree News: April 11-12, 2012

Alliance Mentions

Alliance for Retired Americans Gives Critz 100% Rating, Altmire Receives 70%
Jake Sternberger
April 12, 2012
Keystone Politics

The Alliance for Retired Americans have officially endorsed Rep. Mark Critz over Rep. Jason Altmire ahead of the April 24 Pennsylvania primary. In the newly-released ARA 2011 voting record, Critz has proven his loyalty to seniors by scoring a perfect 100% on ten issues voted on last year; Altmire scored 70%. Both representatives, who have been gerrymandered into the same district, hope to capture the key senior constituency.

Health Secretary Makes Pitch for Affordable Care Act
Guy Boulton
April 12, 2012
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Kathleen Sibelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services, visited Milwaukee Wednesday during her cross-country tour in support of the Affordable Care Act. Two years after its passage, the Obama Administr…

Save America's Postal Service

April 12 Demonstrations to
Save America’s Postal Service

Join us April 12 for demonstrations to oppose S. 1789

On April 12, the National Association of Letter Carriers will hold “Save America’s Postal Service” demonstrations outside of Senate offices across the country. They are designed to put pressure on each senator to oppose S. 1789, a bill in the U.S. Senate scheduled to be voted on as soon as next week.
The timing and impact of these events will be critical in helping us to stop S. 1789 and save America’s Postal Service.
If S. 1789 were to pass, the bill would hurt retirees and the Postal Service by:

·    Putting an end to six-day mail delivery in two years.
·    Phasing out door-to-door mail delivery.

These events are meant to engage the public through the use of speeches, handouts and demonstrations to make our voices heard. Many retirees receive their needed prescriptions by mail.  These proposed changes could threaten their well-being.
The Postal Service has a wide variet…

Romney is a Liar

Alliance for Retired Americans Friday Alert

Parts of Wisconsin's Controversial Anti-Collective Bargaining Law are Struck DownTwo parts of the controversial Wisconsin law that severely curbs collecting bargaining rights were overturned last Friday by a federal judge, giving a partial victory to union members, retirees, and activists who have struggled to retain their rights. The two parts struck down would have banned public workers from allowing union dues to be taken out of their paychecks and required annual recertification votes agreed upon by all members in order to stay organized.

“Retirees and workers have really stuck together to go up against Governor Scott Walker,” said Edward F. Coyle, Executive Director of the Alliance. “Retirees know how important collective bargaining is – the better you work, the better you retire.”

Wisconsin elections officials said last week that nearly 901,000 signatures were collected on petitions to recall Gov. Walker (R) from office, more than enough for an election to be order…

A Great Steelworkers Sub District

Most, if not all of the Steelworker Sub Districts have regularly scheduled meetings consisting of the local union leadership in that particular Sub District. This meeting is referred to as a Presidents Meeting or Sub District Council Meeting.

In District 7, Sub District 4, we have what I believe to be a unique bylaw that allows for the Steelworkers Organization of Active Retirees (SOAR) to be represented and reads as follows:

“Article III – Membership

Those eligible to vote on the affairs of the Council Shall be: Sub District Director, Staff Representatives working in Sub District 4, Local Union Presidents or their Vice Presidents in their absence, and two delegates from Sub District 4 SOAR Chapters that includes retirees from affiliated Local Unions. Those eligible to attend and participate in the discussions of the affairs of the Sub Council shall be the individuals named by the Local Union Presidents of the Sub District. Also the Chairman of any committee duly constituted by the Co…

Be Prepared for Tornado

There are plenty of web sites devoted to advise in preparing for the event of a tornado. My advise is that families discuss this now rather than later.
Where to go in case of tornado.
What to take with you if time allows, that sort of thing.

Remember November