Friday, January 27, 2012

Friday Alert January 27, 2012

President Obama, Mitch Daniels Offer Different Views on Current State of the Union
President Obama delivered his State of the Union address on Tuesday night, and the Alliance issued a press release contrasting his ideas with the Republican response offered by Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels. “While retirees’ working days may be over, we worry about our children and grandchildren, as well as the future of the industries we helped build here at home.  We strongly support the President’s goal of tax fairness; call us ‘old school,’ but we still believe that sacrifices should be made fairly," said Edward F. Coyle, Executive Director of the Alliance.

“In contrast, the Republicans showed their true colors by choosing as their spokesperson a governor who believes he can revive his state’s economy by lowering wages and benefits for working families,” Coyle continued. “Mitch Daniels’ vague rhetoric on Social Security and Medicare glossed over the cold reality that his party – from its presidential candidates to its House Speaker – wants seniors to be at the mercy of the big insurance companies; would let Wall Street profit from a privatized Social Security; and would allow states to slash Medicaid, even though it is the only way 70 percent of Americans can afford long-term and nursing home care." To read Coyle's full statement, go to http://bit.ly/xbKBPz.

House Speaker, Republican Presidential Candidates Still Aim to Privatize Medicare
During an appearance on Fox News Sunday, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) confirmed that Republicans won’t be backing away from plans to privatize the Medicare program this year — despite voters’ rejection of the plan. Read more on the web site www.thinkprogress.org at http://bit.ly/w5GYsn. Also this week, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) reiterated his plan to privatize Medicare through vouchers. All the Republican candidates for President have now supported the plan. To see an AFSCME Independent Expenditure ad noting presidential candidate Mitt Romney's ties to Medicare fraud, go to http://youtu.be/hkGrgxw7sSo. “The ad depicts real Medicare fraud,” said Ruben Burks, Secretary-Treasurer of the Alliance. “But we should also remember that promising seniors vouchers instead of guaranteed benefits is also a form of fraud.”

Florida Alliance Shines Light on Voter Suppression, Romney’s Medicare Policies
On Thursday, Florida Alliance (FLARA) members and their allies called attention to Governor Romney’s appalling attitudes toward Medicare and senior services at a press conference in Fort Myers. Dozens of local seniors voiced their outrage at Romney’s plans for dismantling Medicare and other important programs on which seniors rely.

Today, FLARA members are speaking out in Tampa at a rally against voter suppression. Recent changes in Florida’s election rules will have a dramatic impact on Florida’s seniors; a new law passed in the Florida legislature cuts early voting from 14 to 7 days before the election and hurts seniors who vote early because they are unable to stand in a line or go to the polls on Election Day.

CLASS Act Letter, New Fact Sheets Available on Alliance Web Site
The Alliance defended the health care reform law's endangered CLASS Act on Tuesday, after the House set up a vote to repeal the long-term health care program next week. The Alliance wrote to House lawmakers urging them to keep the voluntary payroll-deduction program alive. To read the Alliance letter, go to http://bit.ly/xXtcdo. Also new on the Alliance web site:  What’s at Stake for Social Security, Medicare & Medicaid in 2012 at http://bit.ly/zq16Q7 and MYTH BUSTERS: New Health Law & Other Myths at http://bit.ly/x1U472.

State Round-up: Iowa, Nevada, and Indiana
The Iowa Alliance, through their work at caucus meetings statewide, succeeded in getting the preservation of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid into the state Democratic Party platform. The Nevada Alliance has also been successful in submitting Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and jobs resolutions for consideration for inclusion in the Nevada Democratic Party platform.

Despite polls showing strong public opposition to a “Right to Work” for less (RTW) bill being rammed through the Indiana legislature without debate, Republican House lawmakers passed RTW on Thursday. The bill would lower the wages of working Hoosiers and affect the pensions and health benefits of Indiana retirees and their dependents. The Indiana Alliance held a press conference on Monday to raise awareness. “The Iowa, Nevada, Indiana, and Florida chapters have all done a great job recently!” said Barbara J. Easterling, President of the Alliance. “I am very proud of their hard work and success.”

With a Moving Send-off, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords Resigns from Congress
A year after being severely wounded during a shooting rampage in her Arizona home district, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D) resigned from Congress on Wednesday. She departed amidst a chorus of cheers, hugs, and tributes. “Rep. Gabrielle Giffords has been a great friend to seniors,” said Mr. Coyle. “Many Alliance members in Arizona know the congresswoman personally. We wish her a full recovery and hope to see her back in Congress at a later date!” On September 28, 2010, Rep. Giffords introduced a resolution opposing any increase in the Social Security retirement age, noting that any increase in the age equates to an unfair decrease in benefits.

Coyle Briefs House Democratic Caucus
Mr. Coyle traveled to Cambridge, Maryland on Thursday to make a presentation briefing the House Democratic Caucus on Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid issues.

Regional Meetings Begin on February 29 in Las Vegas
Be sure to register for the Alliance’s 2012 Regional Meetings beginning February 29 in Las Vegas, Nevada; March 5 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin; April 29 in Orlando, Florida; and May 14 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Workshops will include Issues for the 2012 Elections; Messaging: We Will Not Be Out-Foxed; and Best Practices in On-line Organizing. For more information, or to register on-line, please visit http://bit.ly/yiqB8n. Questions? Call Event Coordinator Joni Jones at 202/637-5377 or e-mail jjones@retiredamericans.org.


Source: Alliance for Retired Americans

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Are Republicans Evil?

Are Republicans in the Indiana General Assembly evil for wanting to pass a so called Right to Work bill and are Republicans in general evil as well? I don’t think so.

I know Republicans who are good people. So why would they sit idly by while the General Assembly tries to pass this legislation other than that they are just plain ignorant of what the bill would do to them, their loved ones or their neighbors.

If it were possible to sit down and discuss the ramifications of the unintended consequences such as lower wages and benefits on the job, the weakening of the ability of workers to have democracy in the work place, the weakening of the entities that support a minimum wage, the lack of any organization to lobby to strengthen the unemployment laws and child labor laws and workers compensation laws and the invitation to workers to just plain freeload by reaping the benefits of collective bargaining and at the same time not help to fund the very organization that helps them and the hate and discontent in the work place that will result, the General Assembly wouldn’t be trying so hard to pass it and your Republican neighbors would be against it.

Unfortunately, the general public isn’t aware of the harm that will result if Right to Work becomes law because the name of the law is so misleading and the remainder of those who are supporting the law and the die hard Republicans who think the Republican Party is the correct party to belong to because of the household they grew up in with parents who were members of it and gave them that impression.

So are these people actually evil? The answer in most cases, I declare, is no. They are simply ignorant of the facts and are poor misguided souls.

Monday, January 23, 2012

USW Supports President's Decision to Delay Pipeline

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                          CONTACTS:
January 20, 2012                                                                     Gary Hubbard (202) 778-4384
                                                                                                ghubbard@usw.org
                                                                                                Wayne Ranick (412) 562-2444
                                                                                                wranick@usw.org

USW Supports President’s Decision to Delay Keystone XL Pipeline
Bowing to Partisan Politics Not the Right Way to Proceed, says Union

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) -- United Steelworkers (USW) International President Leo W. Gerard expressed support for the Administration’s decision to challenge partisan politics and not bow to Republican pressure to prematurely approve TransCanada’s permit to develop a proposed 1,700-mile pipeline. The Keystone XL Pipeline would transport crude oil and bitumen from Alberta, Canada to the Texas Gulf Coast.

“The Administration made the right decision to ensure that a project of this scale is done in a way that is good for both jobs and the environment,” said Gerard. “The White House is facing forces in Congress that have decided to use this project as a litmus test for their commitment to jobs, at the same time as they have blocked the door to every one of the Administration’s job proposals, but the fact is more time is needed to ensure that this project will have the economic and environmental benefits claimed by the developer.”

Proponents of the pipeline estimate that the project will create 13,000 construction jobs, 7,000 manufacturing jobs and allow the U.S. to supply our oil needs with Canada, a long-standing ally instead of unstable nations.

“While the jobs projections are promising, more needs to be done to ensure that North American companies and workers will benefit,” said Gerard. “We’ve seen too many instances where key elements of our nation’s infrastructure were outsourced to foreign producers – such as the $7 billion San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge project that is being built using questionable steel from a state-owned Chinese company.

“That project is a slap in the face to American manufacturing workers at a time when unemployment is still high and U.S. factories are still closing. We have to make sure that if there is going to be a TransCanada pipeline, manufacturing workers will benefit by using as much North American material as possible in its construction.”

The USW says that the State Department’s decision to deny the current permit does not prevent the potential development and deployment of a TransCanada pipeline as the door remains open for the project to be proposed again. In fact TransCanada the lead company on the pipeline project already has said it intends to re-apply for the needed permits.

“When dealing with our nation’s infrastructure, we have to make sure that we tap all of our capacity and ingenuity to build and repair it,” said Gerard. “That means making sure that as many of the component parts - from the pipe to the valves and cement - are made using North American materials.”

Much to the dismay of our idled members at U.S. Steel’s Granite City Steel facility, in 2009 TransCanada sourced most of the pipe from India for the initial stages. At that time, over 2,000 Steelworkers were laid off for lack of orders. To add insult to injury, the Indian pipe destined for the ConocoPhillips/TransCanada pipeline sat right outside the idled steel plant.

“Ensuring a domestic supply chain is our only chance to grow both the American workforce and our critical manufacturing sector,” said Gerard. “When TransCanada presents its new proposal for a pipeline, the USW looks forward to working with the Administration and others to ensure that the eventual project is done in the safest and most economically beneficial way for our members and their communities,” said Gerard.

The USW represents 850,000 workers in North America employed in many industries that include metals, rubber, chemicals, paper, oil refining and the service and public sectors. For more information: http://www.usw.org/.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

"Right to Work" Means "No Right to a Team"

Brothers & Sisters,
DeMaurice F. Smith, the Executive Director of the National Football League Players Association, wrote the following opinion piece for Indiana newspapers - and we wanted to share it with you.

The Real Meaning of “Right to Work” Is No Right to a Team

By: DeMaurice F. Smith
Executive Director
National Football League Players Association

Indianapolis is the home of the upcoming Super Bowl; an event that is supposed to celebrate the best of America’s game, but also the best of the host city and state. The people and workers of Indiana have come together and worked hard to prepare for this upcoming Super Bowl for a long time, but they are also bracing for the potential damage caused by a legislative game being played off the field.

The so-called Indiana “Right to Work” Bill is bad for working men and women for one simple reason: it jeopardizes the ability of workers to organize as a team to protect, preserve and promote themselves as employees in a workplace, where management can always outspend workers and target individuals. During the NFL lockout and the months leading up to it, the Players of this great game learned lessons that most older American workers learned decades ago: namely, that all of the protections that employees currently have in the workplace resulted from the ability of employees to stand together as a team, protect their rights, and demand change for the better.  It is a lesson that many of us have not only forgotten but worse yet, simply never learned. The protections that millions of workers possess today, including fair pensions, workplace safety innovations, management supported health care plans, and compliance with occupational health standards, were achieved by thousands of workers standing together as ONE over decades to fight for those vital standards. An indisputable lesson of our American history is that none of those workplace protections came as a “gift” from corporations; rather, all of them resulted from the ability of workers to stand united and demand change when it would have been easy to fire or silence the voice of a single worker. The history is also clear that even when employees fought as a team, some of them paid a dear price for organizing and demanding fairness.  This bill would make future efforts even harder than they are today.

As employees of football teams, we were reminded of our own history as a collective group of players during our lockout. Players are extremely fortunate to be well compensated, but the history is that it took a strike by one of our players in the 1960s to create a pension for former players, and improvements in salary, free agency, work-rules and grievance procedures, tuition reimbursement were all collectively bargained benefits by a union that was supported and constituted by Players standing together as a team in the negotiation room. More recently, as a strong union, we achieved improvements in the players’ pension, obtained a Legacy Fund that reached back to increase pensions for former players, and negotiated rules for safer practices and games. From 2009 to the present, through their union, players collectively have taken aggressive steps to change the way concussions and head trauma are dealt with at practice, during games, as well as during a player’s post-career life. We know that one single player, just like any one single employee acting alone, could never achieve what we as a Team were able to achieve.

Today, the assault on that team of employees comes disguised in proposed legislation deviously named as “right to work,” and the reason why every employee should have concern is that it simply is not what it claims to be. This “right to work” is not a state constitutional amendment guaranteeing a state citizen a job. This “right to work” does not mandate a state to improve local schools so that educated young people are ensured of employment. Rather, this “right to work” legislation is simply designed to negatively impact the ability of employees to form teams that can go “toe-to-toe” with management in the hope of having a fair negotiation over issues that matter to working people.

In this time of extremely challenging economic conditions, where there are efforts to divide all of us, we have an obligation to move beyond the rhetoric and know the issues.  The legislation may have a catchy title, but that is all it provides to men and women who work for a living.  If you support this bill, do so by recognizing and calling it what it is: “the elimination of the ability to negotiate strongly and fairly with your employer” legislation.  Somehow, that description of the bill does not sound good for millions of people who work for a living. Get the facts at http://www.indianarighttowork.com

We oppose this bill and stand in strong support of what needs to be every employees’ right to be member of a team to protect and preserve their rights for themselves and their families.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Learn About the Right to Work law

Calendar - Current Events

Town Hall meetings are being held all over Indiana the next couple of days. Click on the one nearest you for the times and additional information.


2012 Legislative Session
Date: Wed, Jan 4, 2012 to Thu, Mar 15, 2012  
Location: Indiana Statehouse
 


Town Hall on RTW in Logansport
Date: Sat, Jan 14, 2012  
Location: American Legion Riders Post 60
 


Meet Your Legislator Meeting in Elkhart
Date: Sat, Jan 14, 2012  
Location: Elkhart Chamber of Commerce
 


Angola Citizens Forum on RTW
Date: Sat, Jan 14, 2012  
Location: "In a Flash Photography"  


Town Hall on RTW in West Lafayette
Date: Sat, Jan 14, 2012  
Location: Morton Community Center  


Town Hall on RTW in Anderson
Date: Sat, Jan 14, 2012  
Location: UAW 663  


Town Hall on RTW in Indianapolis
Date: Sat, Jan 14, 2012  
Location: Clarion Hotel  


Meet your Local Legislators Meeting in Terre Haute
Date: Sat, Jan 14, 2012  
Location: Terre Haute Labor Temple  


Warsaw Town Hall Meeting on "Right to Work"
Date: Sun, Jan 15, 2012  
Location: Ramada Plaza  


New Haven Citizens Forum on RTW
Date: Sun, Jan 15, 2012  
Location: "Rack and Helen's" Banquet Room  


Town Hall on RTW in Kokomo
Date: Mon, Jan 16, 2012  
Location: Kokomo City Hall  

Friday, January 13, 2012

Indiana Alliance Takes on "Right to Work"


Indiana Alliance Joins with Partners to take on “Right to Work”
On Tuesday, representatives from the Indiana Alliance, the group “Hoosiers First,” and United Senior Action held a press conference to voice their joint concerns about the “right to work” legislation pending before the Indiana General Assembly.  Having reviewed the possible impacts of right to work, or RTW, on retired union members and their dependents, the three organizations concluded that RTW spells trouble for not only the citizens of Indiana, but also the state’s economy.

“Right to Work means Real Trouble and Worries for everyone in Indiana, because it potentially puts in jeopardy pensions, health care, and other benefits of union retirees and their legal dependents that have been established through collective bargaining,” said Elmer Blankenship, President of the Indiana Alliance.

The state Senate RTW bill has been passed in committee (6 to 4) and goes next to the full Senate for a vote. A state House panel sent the measure to the full House on an 8-5 vote. Last Friday, at a joint House and Senate Hearing, Mr. Blankenship and Denny Lanane, President of United Senior Action, testified against the proposed RTW Law, which is supported by several Republican legislators. They testified that passage of RTW would weaken unions, which would be bad for active workers and union retirees as well as many others whose wages and benefits follow negotiated benefits. RTW is also associated with a significant reduction in private-sector pension coverage. The Economic Policy Institute proves the point at http://bit.ly/xjYijP, showing that private pension coverage in Indiana is currently greater than in 21 of 22 RTW states.

Source: Friday Alert, January 13, 2012 edition

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

RTW Town Hall Meeting, La Porte Indiana Today

RIGHT TO WORK TOWN HALL MEETING
AT CARPENTERS HALL

1104 6TH Street, La Porte

Today, January 10th at 5:00 PM CST

Come and find out what is at stake for workers and retirees.
This is so important as it will affect you, your children and your grand children for years to come.

Labor encourages as many local elected officials as possible to attend

Sponsored by the Central Labor Council of South Bend
Tony Flora, President
And
Mike O’Brien, United Steelworkers Sub District 4 Director

Monday, January 09, 2012

Mitch Daniels Will Not Disclose

NEWS RELEASE

For Immediate Release: Monday, January 9, 2012
Media Contact: Jeff Harris, Indiana State AFL-CIO, 317.632.9147


GOVERNOR CONTINUES TO REFUSE TO DISCLOSE DONORS, SHOW PROOF OF CLAIMS IN TV ADS
Pressure mounts on Daniels as more Hoosiers demand answers

INDIANAPOLIS – For seven days, Governor Mitch Daniels has refused to publicly disclose who is funding the barrage of television ads being aired around the state promoting his partisan right to work for less agenda, and has been unable to verify any of the claims in those commercials.

"It’s outrageous that Governor Daniels who likes to brag about being ‘transparent’ refuses to tell taxpaying Hoosiers who is secretly funding his attacks on their collective bargaining rights, nor is he willing to provide evidence to back up the claims he is making in these spots,” said Indiana State AFL-CIO President Nancy Guyott. "It is hypocritical and is a stain on his legacy.”

Jim Bopp, a Republican Party activist, filed the paperwork for a group called the "Indiana Opportunity Fund," but both he and Daniels have refused to disclose who is funding the group, saying it qualifies as a "social welfare" organization under IRS rules. Thus far the group has spent more than $600,000 on its media campaign.

“Every Hoosier should be asking themselves ‘what is Governor Daniels hiding?’” Guyott continued.  “His refusal to release his secret funders, his rush to ram through this divisive legislation without holding public hearings across the state, and his alarming failure to publicly name a single business that would not locate to Indiana shows that he’s more interested in advancing a national right-wing agenda than representing Hoosiers.”

A growing number of independent groups as well as newspaper editorial boards have begun calling on Daniels to release his secret donors. The Lafayette Journal & Courier, recently editorialized, “We understand you're hesitant to push the group calling itself the Indiana Opportunity Fund to reveal who is putting up the money for the right-to-work message. We can guess who might have an interest in the aggressive, pro-business stance you outline in the spot -- who would want a law that keeps workers from being compelled to pay union dues. But we don't know, and you're not saying.”

“This is a major public policy debate and its outcome will have wide-ranging impacts on millions of Hoosiers, and this is no way to do it,” added Guyott. “Once again, we call on Governor Daniels to do the right thing and release his secret donors to the public and to provide proof to back up the claims made in these ads. Hoosiers taxpayers deserve no less than full disclosure.”

The Indiana State AFL-CIO (American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations) is a federation of 800 local unions across the state belonging to 50 International Unions. In total, the Indiana State AFL-CIO represents more than 300,000 working Hoosiers.

For more information on please visit www.inaflcio.org or call 1-800-433-8423.

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Alliance for Retired Americans Friday Alert January 6, 2012

January 6, 2012 edition

Former Senator Santorum Loses Republican Caucuses in Iowa by Eight Votes
According to the Rasmussen Reports company, former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA), coming off his photo finish with Mitt Romney in the Republican Iowa caucus, is now in second place nationally among Republican voters in the race for the party’s 2012 presidential nomination. Using the uncertified statewide vote totals tabulated as of Friday, Santorum finished second in Iowa on Tuesday night, losing to former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney by only eight votes. “Alarmingly, Sen. Santorum has a lifetime score of just 2% on the Alliance’s Congressional Voting Record,” said Barbara J. Easterling, President of the Alliance. “His finish was exciting for political observers, but also terrifying for seniors.”

Politico reported that Santorum had spoken on the campaign trail last Sunday about the possibility of raising the retirement age, pointing out that allowing people to retire as early as 65 means giving a government entitlement to people who are “generally healthy and able to work.” Santorum went much further than that, however, in his 1994 Senate campaign. A source shared a recording of an October ’94 speech that Santorum gave at LaSalle University, in which he endorsed raising the retirement age to 70 – or higher. “It is ridiculous that we have a retirement age in this country of age 65 today. I’d go even farther if I could – at least age 70,” Santorum said in the recording.

Santorum also believes that public employee unions should just be eliminated altogether. “I do not believe that -- that state, federal or local workers, unions, should be involved in unions. And I would actually support a bill that says that we should not have public employee unions for the purposes of wages and benefits to be negotiated,” Santorum said during a Republican debate in September (http://bit.ly/rdx7cz).

For information on Governor Romney’s support for privatizing Medicare, go to http://bit.ly/xQr07z. In a development for Governor Romney this week, Bloomberg News – quoting the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center - wrote that his tax proposal would add $600 billion to the U.S. budget deficit in 2015.

Medicare a Major Issue in 2012 as More Baby Boomers Begin to Receive Benefits
During a campaign stop in Iowa on Sunday, Santorum said, “You have Medicare driving the entire health care system in this country and it’s crushing it.” According to thinkprogress.org (http://bit.ly/xjzuz5), Santorum is a strong supporter of Republican House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s original Medicare privatization scheme to completely eliminate traditional Medicare as an option for seniors, and he has promised to accelerate its implementation. Medicare, however, has a better track record of controlling health care costs than private insurers and has introduced market innovations and payment reforms that private plans later adopted. Medicare’s smaller administrative spending and its ability to use its size and clout to bargain for cheaper services explain this advantage.

“Medicare privatization is shaping up to be the number one campaign issue of 2012,” said Edward F. Coyle, Executive Director of the Alliance. According to USA Today, 76 million baby boomers will sign up for Medicare over the next couple of decades.

New Voter Identification Laws Take Effect in Several States This Year
According to The Wall Street Journal, millions more Americans will be required to show photo identification when they head to the polls in four states in 2012, headlining the flurry of new laws across the nation that took effect with the turn of the year. Kansas, Rhode Island, Tennessee and Texas will require voters to prove their identities at the ballot box, bringing the total number of states that require some form of voter identification to 30, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, a bipartisan group that provides research and data to state governments. Some of the adverse, often-unintended consequences of voter identification laws for seniors are described at http://wdhne.ws/tcoSzE.

Government Dollars are going to Private Insurance Companies by the Billions
According to CNN, although 2011 was a volatile year for the stock market, one sector has been consistently earning a windfall for investors: health insurers that provide private Medicare plans to seniors. Among the top-performing Fortune 500 stocks of 2011, three - WellCare Health Plans, Humana, and Centene - had a high proportion of Medicare Advantage enrollees. WellCare's share price has nearly doubled, while Humana and Centene are up about 50%. UnitedHealth Group and Aetna, each with significant shares of Medicare Advantage patients, also posted gains of more than 35% in 2011. Health care stocks broadly outperformed the market overall in 2011. The iShares Dow Jones US Health Care Providers Index Fund (IHF), an exchange fund that includes most of the major insurers, was up more than 8%.

The Washington Post stated yesterday that despite the sluggish economy, the nation’s major health insurers have prospered largely by expanding their role in government programs such as Medicare and Medicaid, according to a study released Thursday. A report by Bloomberg Government, a research division of Bloomberg LP, suggests that insurers will further increase their reliance on federal dollars with full implementation of the health-care law in 2014 - when Medicaid will expand to cover an eventual 16 million additional low-income Americans and the federal government will begin subsidizing private-insurance policies for an estimated 19 million more. The share of large insurers’ revenues contributed by their Medicare and Medicaid business has jumped from 36 to 42 percent over the past three years.

The Affordable Care Act, the health care reform signed into law by President Obama in 2010, will reduce federal payments to Medicare Advantage plans by $136 billion. Nonetheless, the Bloomberg Government study’s author, Peter Gosselin, theorizes that insurers still expect the plans to prove profitable, because the current national focus on debt reduction will give them political cover to manage beneficiaries’ care tightly. The bill for Medicare Advantage, where private insurers serve as health care administrators for seniors, currently costs taxpayers 10% more than traditional Medicare, where the government serves as the middleman, according to the Congressional Budget Office. “Once again, we see that Medicare Advantage is a great deal for private insurers, but a terrible deal for taxpayers,” said Ruben Burks, Secretary-Treasurer of the Alliance.

                    
Download a printable version of this document http://bit.ly/vZLAfz.

Friday, January 06, 2012

National Football League Players Association on Right to Work

WASHINGTON—As NFL players, we know our success on the field comes from working together as a team. We’re not just a team of football players—we’re also the fans at games and at home, the employees who work the concession stands and the kids who wear the jerseys of our favorite football heroes. NFL players know what it means to fight for workers’ rights, better pensions and health and safety in the workplace.
To win, we have to work together and look out for one another. Today, even as the city of Indianapolis is exemplifying that teamwork in preparing to host the Super Bowl, politicians are looking to destroy it trying to ram through so-called “right-to-work” legislation.
“Right-to-work” is a political ploy designed to destroy basic workers’ rights. It’s not about jobs or rights, and it’s the wrong priority for Indiana.

The facts are clear—according to a January 2012 Economic Policy Institute briefing report (“Working Hard to Make Indiana Look Bad”), “right-to-work” will lower wages for a worker in Indiana by $1,500 a year because it weakens the ability of working families to work together, and it will make it less likely that working people will get health care and pensions.

So-called “right-to-work” bills divide working families at a time when communities need to stand united. We need unity—not division. We urge legislators in Indiana to oppose “right-to-work” efforts, and focus instead on job creation.

As Indianapolis proudly prepares to host the Super Bowl it should be a time to shine in the national spotlight and highlight the hard-working families that make Indiana run instead of launching political attacks on their basic rights. It is important to keep in mind the plight of the average Indiana worker and not let them get lost in the ceremony and spectacle of such a special event. This Super Bowl should be about celebrating the best of what Indianapolis has to offer, not about legislation that hurts the people of Indiana.

Source: AFL-CIO