Sunday, September 30, 2012

USW District 9 Jim Swindle an Inspiration

Brothers and Sisters, I regret to inform you that former USW District 9 SOAR Executive Board Member, Jim Swindle, passed away on September 29, 2012 at the age of 91. Jim’s wife, Clara, also age 91, passed away three days earlier on September 26.

Jim Swindle grew up in a family of coal miners during a time when wages were one dollar a day. He witnessed the struggle of miners in their efforts to organize and gain respect in their workplace. By the time of his high school graduation, Jim knew that he would spend his life helping workers get fair pay for a fair day’s labor.

On his first day of employment in 1941 at Tennessee Coal and Iron Company in Fairfield, Alabama, Jim joined the Steel Workers Organizing Committee which officially became the United Steelworkers of America in 1942.

Jim participated in the first wildcat strike at the tin mill and when this profile was written, was one of the few still living to have stood at the pay line to collect dues. After the union was voted in, Jim served as Assistant Grievance Committeeman for four years and was elected as Grievance Committeeman and Chairman for the next sixteen years. A highlight of his career was serving as Chairman of the Inequities Program, where he worked to raise pay rates in the South to the level paid for the same jobs in the North.

After forty-one years of service, Jim retired in 1982 and immediately became a driving force in SOAR. He was the President of his SOAR Chapter and the SOAR Executive Board Member in USW District 9 for 25 years (1985-2010).

Jim’s other accomplishments include past president of the Alabama AFL-CIO Retiree Group, Jefferson County Labor Council Board member, President of the Jefferson County Retirees Organization and Board member of the Alabama Organized Labor Awards Foundation. In 2000, he was placed into the Alabama Organized Labor Awards Foundation Hall of Fame.

Jim’s and his wife, Clara, were married about 70 years.

On a personal note, I remember that Jim, before giving his District 9 report at the SOAR board meetings would, while removing both of his hearing aids say, “I’m taking these things out because I can’t stand to hear myself talk.”

Charlie Averill

Friday, September 28, 2012

Alliance for Retired Americans Friday Alert 9-28-12

Past Statements by Paul Ryan Shed More Light on his Policies Regarding Seniors
A transcript of a speech made in 2005 by Vice Presidential nominee Paul Ryan has received renewed attention this week, after the national Catholic weekly publication America published an article on his remarks. Ryan, who has long described philosopher Ayn Rand as one of his inspirations, made the speech at the Atlas Society’s 2005 “Celebration of Ayn Rand.” Rand’s 1964 collection of essays is called The Virtue of Selfishness: A new Concept of Egoism.

In his 2005 speech, Ryan took an extremist stance on Social Security and Medicare. He called Social Security and Medicare “collectivist” and “socialistic” and described his plans for privatization. Ryan stated that he supported, “switching these programs— and this is where I’m talking about health care, as well — from a third party or socialist based system to an individually owned, individually pre-funded, individually directed system.” To see the full article and transcript, go to http://bit.ly/Ueopk6.

Alliance Executive Director Edward F. Coyle commented, “These statements by Paul Ryan reinforce that he doesn’t intend to take the proper steps to protect or strengthen Medicare and Social Security, but sees them as a form of Socialism. Yet, Mitt Romney wants him to be his Vice President.” For quotes from Mitt Romney endorsing Paul Ryan's plans, go to http://bit.ly/P1ZL2R.

Early and Absentee Voting is Under Way in 30 States
According to NBC’s First Read (http://nbcnews.to/V02r31), “…voters in 30 states -- including the battleground states of Iowa, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Wisconsin, and Virginia -- are now casting ballots, either via absentee or early in-person voting.” Yesterday, early in-person voting began in Iowa and Wyoming, while absentee ballots are already being sent to voters requesting them in Alabama, North Dakota, and Illinois. By the end of next week, voters in five more states, including Ohio and Florida, will be on this list.

Many election experts predict that as many as 40% of voters will vote early or absentee for the November 6 election. “The explosion of early voting gives seniors more time to vote in an environment of harsh new voter identification laws in several battleground states,” said Ruben Burks, Secretary-Treasurer of the Alliance. “The Alliance applauds states that have expanded their early voting programs to make the polls more accessible for all Americans.” To see which states have already begun voting, go to http://bit.ly/JqkLdd. For general voting information in your state, go to http://www.vote411.org.

Affordable Care Act Saves Seniors $4.5 Billion on Prescription Drugs
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Medicare beneficiaries have saved a total of $4.5 billion on their prescriptions since January 2011 thanks to the 2010 health care reform law.  The savings came both from increased coverage and from drug makers’ agreeing to lower their prices under the law.  Through August of 2012, beneficiaries had saved an average of $641 this year. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has also begun to close the Medicare Part D prescription drug “doughnut hole” - the coverage gap that is on schedule to be completely eliminated by 2020. 

Romney: Uninsured can get Health Care in the Emergency Room
Asked on the show 60 Minutes recently whether government has a responsibility to provide health care for the 50 million Americans who are currently uninsured, Mitt Romney responded, “Well, we do provide care for people who don’t have insurance, people—we—if someone has a heart attack, they don’t sit in their apartment and die. We pick them up in an ambulance, and take them to the hospital, and give them care. And different states have different ways of providing for that care.” However, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, part of HHS, the cost of a doctor visit in an emergency room averages $922, whereas an office visit averages $199.

Barbara J. Easterling, President of the Alliance, responded, “Mitt Romney’s answer showed a lack of comprehension of the actual costs incurred by ER visits. He seems to be saying that the emergency room is a viable health care solution for the millions of Americans who will lose coverage or be kicked off their insurance plans if he repeals Obamacare. To suggest that the ER could ever be a good substitution for affordable health care is utterly unrealistic.”

Alliance Leaders: Institute for Puerto Rican/Hispanic Elderly Honors Easterling
The Institute the Puerto Rican/Hispanic Elderly honored Ms. Easterling on Thursday, giving her the Advocacy Award at the Institute’s Annual Gala Banquet.  The Institute is a nonprofit and service organization serving New York’s growing Latino and other ethnic/racial minority seniors, and their families.  They serve over 100,000 retirees in the New York City metropolitan area. “I want to thank the Institute for presenting me with your 2012 Advocacy Award.  This is a great honor,” said Easterling. “Retirees and activists of all ages have much to be proud of, but our work is far from over,” she told the crowd.

Today, Ms. Easterling is speaking at a tele-townhall with the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, while Mr. Coyle is addressing the International Union of Police Associations in Bonita Springs, Florida.

NFL Referees’ Strike is Settled
The National Football League (NFL) and the NFL Referees Association (NFLRA) reached an agreement ending a three-month strike on Wednesday night. The NFL had locked out the regular referees in June, after heated arguments during contract renegotiations with the referees’ union. The main point of contention in the contract negotiations was the referees’ pensions, which the NFL wanted to replace with 401(k)s. NFLRA representatives had noted the unsavory irony of a league generating $8.3 billion in annual revenue wanting to cut retirement benefits.

“The elimination of defined benefit pensions has been happening in too many industries for too long,” said Mr. Coyle. “I congratulate the referees on fighting back.” Football fans everywhere had been up in arms about a call made by a replacement referee at the end of Monday night’s Seattle Seahawks-Green Bay Packers game. This year’s football season, which kicked off in early September, has seen three weeks of controversial calls made by replacement referees.


For a printable version of this document, go to bit.ly/P09o4r.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

NIPSCO Retirees Reunite

The Northern Indiana Public Service Company (NIPSCO) is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year and although the company didn’t see fit to invite their retirees to the celebration, over ninety members of SOAR Chapter 30-18 celebrated their fourteenth year by holding their fourteenth annual Retirees Reunion this month.

Chapter President, Dorine Godinez and the committee made sure that all went well and members enjoyed visiting with old friends and making new ones.

Because the company service territory covers the northern third of the state, the chapter limits its social activities to this one event each year, which is subsidized by USW locals 12775, 13796, 5840 and District 7 Sub District 4.

Door prizes, all made in the U.S.A., were handed out to all and we were honored to have as our guests, SOAR Director Jim Centner and his wife, Carol.


You can click on the photo to enlarge it.

Monday, September 24, 2012

SOAR Director, Jim Centner, Makes Choice

The Conventions Are Over – the Choice is Clear

Now that the Democratic and Republican Conventions are over, it’s clear that reelecting President Obama is the best path forward for our nation. The tone of the two conventions could not have been different. We can either continue on the path of growth to rebuild our economy from the worst recession since the Great Depression, or we can go back to the policies that got us into this mess in the first place.

It is time to end the partisan bickering in Washington.  Our elected representatives must work together in order for our economy to continue to grow.  We need to move forward and elect those who best represent the interests of the working middle class.  I can remember when the two party system worked.  When the rhetoric of the campaign was over, both parties worked together for a better country and society. 

Today that is not the case. When the Republican leader of the Senate Mitch McConnell (KY) publicly stated that “his single most important goal is for President Obama to be a one term President”, it clearly tells me that he and his party do not have the best interests of the American citizens on their agenda. In my opinion, a statement like that is treason!  He should have been drummed out of the Senate and charged as a traitor. When an elected representative, who is elected to represent all of us and to better our nation as a whole, draws a line in the sand out of pure party loyalty, it demonstrates his inability to be a representative of the people and he has no business being there.

The United Steelworkers and SOAR have endorsed Barack Obama for reelection as President.  This November’s election is an opportunity to elect a President and Congress that can together continue on the path rebuilding an America that meets the needs of all its people, not just a privileged few.

Jim Centner, SOAR Director

Sunday, September 23, 2012

OBAMACARE - What would you give up ?


OBAMACARE - What would you give up?

We have been hearing a lot of noise about doing away with the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” commonly referred to as “ObamaCare.” What I am trying to figure out is why is this law considered a bad thing and even more troubling to me is what would we want to give up from this landmark legislation?

Do we not want to close the so-called  “doughnut hole” coverage gap in the Medicare Prescription Drug law so seniors will no longer have to cut dangerous corners on their medications?

Do we want to reestablish co-pays for mammograms, colonoscopies and other preventive screenings that help older Americans more quickly and affordably identify and treat diseases such as cancer and diabetes?

Do we not want to cut wasteful spending to extend the life of the Medicare Trust Fund so seniors can better afford premiums which have doubled over the past eight years?

Should we let insurers go back to denying coverage to pre-Medicare retirees because they have pre-existing conditions?

Should we allow insurance companies to go back to the practice of establishing lifetime limits on coverage, or allow them to drop coverage when individuals became sick, as has been the case before this law was passed?

As we recover from this recession, do we want to eliminate the provision in the Affordable Care Act that allows young adults to stay on their parents’ health care plan until age 26?

The above list only highlights some of the things we would lose if this law is overturned.  Does any of this sound like something we should do?  I don’t think so. Please think about these issues when you decide on who you will vote for this November. 

I like ObamaCare. The Affordable Care Act is only one of the many reasons why the United Steelworkers and SOAR endorsed Barack Obama for President.

Connie Entrekin, SOAR President

Saturday, September 22, 2012

We Are Better Off !!!

The question has been asked during the current Presidential campaign, are we better off with President Obama? The facts are clear, if one cares about the facts, then the answer is YES.

When President Obama took office, our economy was going off an economic cliff in a free fall created by big banks, wall street misdeeds and other factors, including failed bad trade agreements that cost us millions of good paying manufacturing jobs, the attack on workers’ rights and their unions, the establishment of more debt on the shoulders of the middle class and the destruction of real estate markets and home values. It was the worst recession since the 1920s and we were on the edge of a great depression. We were losing over 750,000 jobs per month, and had a Federal deficit of several trillion dollars.

These are the conditions that President Obama inherited; created by the policies of eight years of Republican leadership and policies that some think we ought to do over again. These policies include the idea that if the wealthy are taken care of it will trickle down to the rest of us. I think we’ve been trickled on.

The Obama administration, in the face of Republican obstruction, has reversed these horrible conditions that he inherited and has had a consistent record of job growth. I know things are still not good and the working-middle class is still struggling. It will take time to reverse the conditions that took decades to create, but yes, things are better under President Obama and more importantly are heading in the right direction.

As paraphrased by President Clinton the argument by the Republicans for their election is: “yes we left you a mess-you didn’t clean it up fast enough, so elect us.”

We simply can’t take the chance; the policies being pursued by the Republicans are economically dangerous to seniors and the working-middle class. 

Bill Gibbons, PACE Representative for SOAR

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Hey Mitt Romney, We've Earned Our Social Security and Medicare!

Hey, Mitt Romney, We've Earned Our Social Security and Medicare!
by Barbara J. Easterling

As a retiree, I was upset to hear that Mitt Romney thinks people our age are "dependent" upon the government.

Social Security and Medicare are not hand-outs. We paid Medicare and Social Security taxes in every paycheck we ever earned. Now that we are retired, these programs help us stay healthy and pay our bills. They are the promise we make to people who worked hard all their lives. We need to keep that promise for today's workers.

While shocking, Romney's private comments mirror his public stances. Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan are the most anti-senior ticket ever, running on a platform that would enrich big insurance companies by creating a voucher-based Medicare program and let Wall Street profit off a risky, privatized Social Security system that would provide lower benefits to workers forced to stay longer on the job.

Before Social Security and Medicare, too many people worked until the day they died or lived out their final years in terrible health and poverty. These offensive comments by Mitt Romney are a stark reminder that he wants to turn back the clock on the great progress our nation has made.

Call me old-fashioned, but I still believe that our nation should help our young and our elderly and our heroic veterans. Regardless of what Mitt Romney thinks, I am proud to have earned my Social Security and my Medicare.

Barbara J. Easterling is president of the Alliance for Retired Americans.  She was previously the secretary-treasurer of the Communications Workers of America. 

Monday, September 17, 2012

The Affordable Care Act - How Does it Benefit You?


Cut through the misinformation that is circulating around the Affordable Care Act – “Obamacare” – and make sure you understand what it means to you, your families and your contract. Here is a timeline of some key features of the new law. 


 2010 
  • No More Lifetime Coverage Limits – Insurers can no longer limit the total dollar amount they will pay over a person’s lifetime
  • Key Insurance Reforms – Insurance companies can no longer deny coverage to a customer because of a paperwork error or unintentional mistake. Consumers also have new options to appeal an insurance company’s decisions
  • Coverage Extended to Young Adults – Young adults may be covered by their parents’ insurance until age 26 if the young adult’s employer does not offer insurance. 3.1 million young adults are benefitting. 
  • No More Refusing Children Coverage Based on Pre-Existing Conditions – This provision will extend to all Americans in 2014. 
  • No More Limits for Essential Benefits – Insurers may no longer set an annual limit for the amount they will pay for certain benefits, such as hospitalization, maternity, newborn care and prescription drugs, that are considered essential. These maximums will be entirely eliminated in 2014. 
  • Closing the “Donut Hole” – Roughly four million seniors who reached this gap in Medicare prescription drug coverage received a tax-free rebate check to help cover expenses. 
  • Provides Small Businesses Health Insurance Tax Credits 
– Small businesses are now eligible for the first phase of a new tax credit for employees’ health insurance. Four million small businesses are eligible to receive this tax credit. 
  • Free Preventative Care – All new plans must cover certain preventative services such as mammograms and colonoscopies without charging a deductible, co-pay or coinsurance
  • Expanding Coverage for Early Retirees – A five billion dollar program is providing needed financial help for employment based plans to continue to provide valuable coverage to people who retire between the ages of 55 and 65, as well as spouses and dependents. 

2011 
  • Help for Seniors – Seniors who reach the coverage gap will receive a 50 percent discount when buying Medicare Part D covered brand name prescription drugs. The “donut hole” will ultimately be phased out, keeping millions of seniors from facing rising prescription costs. Certain preventative services, such as wellness visits and personalized prevention plans for seniors on Medicare are now being provided for free. Nearly 33 million seniors are already benefitting. 
  • Lowering Healthcare Premiums – The law requires that 85 percent of all premium dollars be spent on services or healthcare quality improvement (80 percent for smaller employers). If goals are not met because administrative costs are too high, insurance companies must provide rebates for consumers. This requirement amounts to more than a billion dollars back in the hands of individuals and businesses as a rebate from insurance companies.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Alliance for Retired Americans Friday Alert 9-14-12

On the Campaign Trail, Medicare Continues to be Central Topic
With the Democratic and Republican conventions over, Medicare continues to garner attention. Launching a two-day campaign swing in Florida, former President Bill Clinton pushed back in Miami on Tuesday against what he described as Republican scare tactics over health care programs for older Americans — then provided his own frightening predictions about what would happen to seniors if Mitt Romney became president.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Clinton said that the Republican nominee was misleading voters by arguing that President Obama’s health care overhaul “robbed Medicare of $716 billion,” noting that the money would mainly be cut from future payments to hospitals and insurance companies, not beneficiaries. He also said that “countless thousands” of seniors had voted against Democrats in 2010 because “they were given misinformation” about their Medicare votes. “The first time they did that it was their fault. If we let it happen again it is our fault, and we should not let them do it,” Clinton said.

Clinton said that if Romney were elected and followed through on his pledge to repeal the health care law, Medicare and seniors would pay $600 a year more for prescription drugs — part of the Affordable Care Act moved money from insurance companies and hospitals and into coverage for medicine — and the Medicare trust fund would “go broke” in 2016, eight years earlier than with the health law (More at http://lat.ms/QE73tJ).

According to a CNN poll released on Monday, President Obama has a double-digit lead over Mitt Romney on both the issues of health care and Medicare (http://politi.co/QAg6fp).

Medicare was also a major topic last week at the Senior Caucus events that took place during the Democratic Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina. Pictures from those events are now available at http://bit.ly/ShUT6S. “I would like to thank Jim Moore, our North Carolina State President, and Steve Regenstreif - who is Chair of the Democratic National Committee Seniors Coordinating Council, Director of the Retiree Program for AFSCME, and an Executive Board Member of the Alliance - for organizing such well-attended, energetic events,” said Edward F. Coyle, Executive Director of the Alliance.

Grandparents Day Celebration Reaches Thousands!
The Alliance’s Grandparents Day message went out a day in advance of last Sunday’s Grandparents Day holiday. Thousands saw our e-mail message, and many of them clicked through the links to complete the action of sharing a message/graphic via Facebook. Some of our favorite comments: “Please remember to give your grandparents a call on Sunday!” and, “At 89 years, with three great-grandchildren, I can say I have been an activist because growing up and living in the U.S. has been such a blessing. I've wanted to do my part in making sure we continue to try to make our country a ‘more perfect union,’ taking care of all of us.” For more, see http://on.fb.me/Tr5e62.

Chicago Teachers Gain the Support of Parents, Retirees during Strike
This week, 30,000 members of the Chicago Teachers Union went on strike. They are fighting for a contract that includes fair compensation, meaningful job security, smaller class sizes, and better resources for students. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, working with the school board, and the teachers are not far apart on overall compensation, but evaluation procedures remain a big concern.

After the initial phase-in period, the Chicago Public School System’s (CPS’s) proposed evaluation procedures could result in nearly a third of all CPS teachers facing discharge within one or two years. Many believe that the city’s proposal places too much emphasis on standardized test scores, diminishing children’s education and punishing teachers unfairly. CPS is also imposing a new curriculum at all schools and a strict evaluation system. Teachers have asked for more training, but CPS proposes no increase - or in some cases, decreased - teacher training. Also being discussed: a timetable for air conditioning. Teachers insist that CPS agree to a reasonable timetable to install air conditioning in student classrooms. In July and August, students sit in sweltering 98-degree heat. “The teachers' requests are more than fair,” said Barbara J. Easterling, President of the Alliance. “And retired teachers know, the better you work, the better you retire.”

Protests Target Plans to Extend Bush Tax Cuts for the Wealthiest Americans
Protesters all across the U.S. gathered on Wednesday outside congressional offices and released short web advertisements targeting Republican economic plans. The protests attacked the Romney-Ryan Plan to make permanent the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest 2% of Americans. GOP lawmakers who recently voted to extend the tax cuts were also targeted.  The protesters brought with them large five-foot wide checks demonstrating the large sums that would be given to millionaires and billionaires if the Bush tax cuts were extended. The ads and protests were organized by groups including the Alliance for Retired Americans, Americans for Tax Fairness Action Fund, Health Care for America Now, Working America, and others.

Over 125 Ohioans attended the Ohio Alliance convention in Columbus on Wednesday, then turned words into action, participating in four tax fairness events throughout the state – three at Sen. Rob Portman’s offices and one at Rep. Bill Johnson’s.

September is Healthy Aging Month
With September “Healthy Aging Month,” the National Eye Institute, part of the National Institute of Health, recommends patients over 50 talk to their eye doctors about yearly comprehensive dilated eye exams.  Unlike a basic exam for glasses or contacts, a comprehensive dilated eye exam actually examines the back of your eyes and can catch vision-decreasing eye diseases before symptoms start to show. Eye diseases such as age-related macular degeneration, cataracts, diabetic eye disease, and glaucoma can all lead to partial or full sight loss. “By the time symptoms of vision loss are noticeable, the damage is often permanent,” said Ruben Burks, Secretary-Treasurer of the Alliance. However, when these diseases are caught early, they can often be treated or repaired before substantial damage occurs to the eye. For more information, tips for finding an eye care professional, or a list of organizations that can help provide financial assistance for eye care, visit the National Eye Institute (NEI) Healthy Eyes website at http://www.nei.nih.gov/agingeye.



For a printable version of this document, go to bit.ly/RRrmAF.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

I Will Fight Back

I will NOT lie down

I will NOT go quietly

I will NOT submit

I will NOT roll over

I will NOT comply

I will NOT shut up

I will NOT sit down

I will STAND UP and

I will FIGHT BACK AGAINST ATTACKS on WORKER'S RIGHTS!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Chicago Teachers Hang Tough

The Teachers in Chicago are doing the right thing. They are on strike and it's not for money. The sticking problem in negotiations seems to be the administrations proposal that a school principal have the sole responsibility to hire and fire.

I know how that would work. Human nature would cause the Principal to fire the teacher he/she didn't like...period.

I am supporting the Teachers and hope they are successful.

Saturday, September 08, 2012

Alliance for Retired Americans Friday Alert 9-7-12

Democratic Convention Provides Sharp Contrast with Republicans on Senior Issues
The 46th Democratic National Convention took place this week, ending last night with the official nomination of Barack Obama for re-election as U.S. President. “The 2012 platform adopted by the Democratic Party this week in Charlotte shows the stark contrasts between the two parties on key issues of Social Security and Medicare,” said Edward F. Coyle, Executive Director of the Alliance. “The Democratic Party, which signed Medicare and Social Security into law over Republican objections, once again reaffirmed its strong commitment to these two great American success stories.” To read Mr. Coyle’s full statement on the convention, go to http://bit.ly/TXmsUz.

Former President Bill Clinton spoke on Wednesday night about Republican Vice-Presidential nominee Paul Ryan's budget plan, which passed in the House and won Mitt Romney's endorsement. Referring to Romney and Ryan, Clinton said, “They also want to block grant Medicaid and cut it by a third over the coming 10 years. Of course, that’s going to really hurt a lot of poor kids. But that’s not all. A lot of folks don’t know it, but nearly two-thirds of Medicaid is spent on nursing home care for Medicare seniors who are eligible for Medicaid.” For more on his remarks, go to http://bit.ly/OpR6Vm.

The convention included two Senior Caucus events. Alliance President Barbara J. Easterling and Mr. Coyle joined other Alliance representatives as well as U.S House Members Jan Schakowsky (IL) and John Conyers (MI), Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, North Carolina AFL-CIO President James Andrews, and White House Domestic Policy Council Director Cecilia Muñoz at the events.

In his speech accepting the Democratic nomination, President Barack Obama said, “We will reform and strengthen Medicare for the long haul, but we'll do it by reducing the cost of health care, not by asking seniors to pay thousands of dollars more.”

On Wednesday night at the convention, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka proclaimed, “Prosperity requires economic security. We will stand with leaders who protect and strengthen Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid—not those who plan cuts to benefits working people have paid for, earned and are counting on.”

Courts Reject Strict Texas and Ohio Voter ID Laws; Penn. Alliance Takes Action
The U.S. District Court for Washington, DC reached a decision last week on Texas v. Holder, the suit brought by the Department of Justice and Attorney General Eric Holder against Texas’s proposed voter ID laws. The court ruled against the restrictive new legislation, which would have required photo identification in order to vote. In his ruling, US Circuit Judge David Tatel said about the proposed law, “It imposes strict, unforgiving burdens on the poor, and racial minorities in Texas are disproportionately likely to live in poverty.”

Texas Alliance President Gene Lantz said in a Labor Day message: “The federal courts have turned down Texas redistricting and the Texas ‘Voter ID’ law, so efforts to keep us from fair voting are turned back for the time being!”

In Columbus, Ohio, U.S. District Judge Peter Economus ruled on August 31, in a lawsuit brought by “Obama for America,” that Ohio can’t give members of the military and citizens living abroad three days more than other voters to cast ballots. He ordered the previous schedule restored, which allowed anyone to vote early until the day before an election.

The Pennsylvania Alliance for Retired Americans (PARA) hosts a presentation this morning on several topics, including the state’s new voter ID law, for residents of a Washington County Redevelopment Authority seniors’ high-rise in Washington, Pennsylvania. PARA hosted a similar information session on August 2 for other Redevelopment Authority apartment residents. The sessions are part of the effort to get the word out among seniors that all voters need a photo ID to vote in Pennsylvania.  For information on acceptable forms of ID, as well as absentee and early voting deadlines for any state, go to http://www.vote411.org.

Texas Alliance President Receives “Hero of Labor” Award
At the end of the Dallas AFL-CIO Labor Day Breakfast this week, Romeo Muñoz, UAW 848 President, announced that Gene Lantz is the winner of the 2012 “Hero of Labor Award.” Alliance Secretary-Treasurer Ruben Burks said, “Gene deserves this award for wearing so many hats. In addition to doing such a wonderful job as the Texas Alliance President, he is the Chair of the Local 848 UAW Retirees; Chair of the Dallas-Forth Worth UAW Retiree Council; an organizer for North Texas Jobs with Justice; and writer and editor of the UAW Local’s newspaper. He also serves on the Dallas Central Labor Council Executive Board and as the Texas AFL-CIO Vice President.”

Grandparents Day is Just Around the Corner
Grandparents Day is this Sunday! Please share our message about Grandparents Day, “We’re Fighting for our Grandchildren’s Future: Social Security and Medicare!” with your Facebook friends at http://on.fb.me/TrgAFJ. Comment on the importance of activism here: http://on.fb.me/Tr5e61.

Virginia Alliance Joins Rep. Bobby Scott and Elects a New State President
Rep. Bobby Scott hosted a Town Hall on Medicare and the budget in Newport News, Virginia last week.  Alliance Legislative Representative Eva Dominguez spoke about Medicare, and Ron Thompson, the new Virginia Alliance President, attended.

“Virginia is such a key state this election year,” said Ms. Easterling. “We are glad to have Ron Thompson around to help educate Virginia seniors in the run-up to the key 2012 Presidential, Senate, and House Elections in the state.” For photos of Virginia Alliance members on motorcycles and trucks in the Roanoke Labor Day Parade, go to http://bit.ly/OTvy4s.



For a printable version of this document, go to bit.ly/QmhwGL.