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Showing posts from February, 2013

USW District 7 Statement - Steve Skvara

USW NEWS For Immediate Use:  February 25, 2013 Contact:    Sal Aguilar, 219-886-2596;
USW District 7 Statement Stephen Skvara, Retired Steelworker, Raised a Voice for Justice               Gary, IN (Feb. 25) – The United Steelworkers (USW) issued the following statement from Jim Robinson, Director, USW District 7, in recognition of the death last week of Stephen Skvara, 65, a retired steelworker activist, President of an Indiana Chapter of the Steelworkers Organization of Active Retirees (SOAR), and who served on the district SOAR executive board.               “Our union has many unsung heroes and Stephen Skvara was certainly among them during his retirement years when he raised his loud Steelworker’s voice for justice on healthcare for everyone, retirement security for seniors, and fairness to workers who lose their benefits in corporate bankruptcies.               “His voice was loudest in Chicago when he stood up at a 2007 AFL-CIO Presidential Candidates Debate Forum to…

Steve Skvara Obituary

NW Indiana Times – Feb. 24, 2013
Stephen Skvara
STEPHEN SKVARA VALPARAISO, IN Stephen Skvara, age 65, of Valparaiso, passed away Tuesday, February 19, 2013 at Porter Portage Hospital. He was born the son of Stephen and Julia (Reidy) Skvara in Galesburg, IL on May 1, 1947. Stephen retired from LTV Steel Mill and was an active member of S.O.A.R. On August 28, 1971 in South Holland, IL. he married Sandra (DeWitt) who survives him. Also surviving are his children: Magen (fiance John) Skvara, Bridget Skvara, Rachel (Zachary) Hunt, and Stephen (Michelle) Skvara; one grandchild, Chloe Skvara; and two sisters. He was preceded in death by his parents. Following cremation at Angelcrest Crematory, a memorial service will be held at 7:00 p.m. on Monday, February 25, 2013 with Father Doug Mayer officiating and a memorial visitation will be from 4:00 p.m. until time of service, both at Moeller Funeral Home, 104 Roosevelt Rd., Valparaiso, IN. Memorial donations may be made to Steelworkers O…

Alliance for Retired Americans Friday Alert 2-22-13

Alliance Lobby Week Comes Just Days Before Sequester Cuts are Set to Kick In
Alliance members scheduled more than 70 district meetings with their elected officials for this week’s President’s Day Lobby Week. The appointments came as the Senate is set to vote next week - right after the Congressional recess ends - on a plan to stop the March 1 sequester (automatic budget cuts) without harming Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. On February 14, Senate Democrats released their plan to avert the sequester for the rest of the year — it contains $110 billion in deficit reduction, evenly divided between spending cuts and new revenues. During Lobby Week, Alliance members have been asking senators to vote for this package and asking House members to vote for it should it come to the House.

Included in the Lobby Week events: a rally and petition drop outside House Speaker John Boehner's (R) office in West Chester, Ohio on Wednesday (coverage: For a map of wher…

Steve Skvara, An Inspiration to Us All

Steve Skvara began his work experience as a Mechanical Helper with Youngstown Sheet and Tube Co. which later became LTV Steel. He then became a Maintenance clerk/spare parts and then transferred into the Electrical Department and retired as an Electrical Repairman with a total of 34 Years service. His hobby then became community service. He was able to enjoy 12 years of retirement and was a member of the Steelworkers Organization of Active Retirees (SOAR) for that long. Steve was a SOAR Coordinator for two years and then was elected president of his SOAR Chapter. He then became the District 7 SOAR Executive Board Member and held that position for the last six years.
An auto accident in 1997 forced him to take an early retirement ending his hobbies of fly fishing and camping.
Steve was always involved in union work, his church and community. He served as a Union Rep/Shop Steward for over 10 years at USW Local 1011. He was involved in the Knights of Columbus, served on the Homeowners Asso…

Alliance for Retired Americans Friday Alert 2-15-13

State of the Union Speech Mentions Key Alliance Issues
President Barack Obama delivered his fifth State of the Union speech on Tuesday night, and he featured seniors in his remarks several times. “We are pleased that the President supported reducing taxpayer subsidies for prescription drug companies during his State of the Union Address on Tuesday night. That is an example of a Medicare change that makes sense,” said Edward F. Coyle, Executive Director of the Alliance. “Another would be allowing Medicare to negotiate volume discounts with the big drug companies.”

“However,” Coyle continued, “we must remain vigilant to ensure that Congress does not try to enact other budget reforms that balance the budget on the backs of seniors. We should instead go after the big corporations that pay little or no taxes and get sweetheart deals from Washington. As the President said at his inauguration, ‘We reject the belief that America must choose between caring for the generation that built this coun…

Please make that Call

Today is a day of action to tell Congress to OPPOSE BENEFIT CUTS to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid; and to CLOSE LOOPHOLES for Wall Street and the richest 2% of Americans, while also cancelling the looming across-the-board cuts. Get in on the action by dialing the capitol switchboard at 866-297-3817 and sharing the message with your Members of Congress!

SOAR Coffee

Alliance for Retired Americans Friday Alert 2-8-13

In Group Letter, Alliance State Presidents Urge President Obama to Protect Seniors
Congressional Republicans are taking the economy hostage again — threatening to blow it up unless vital services for seniors are cut.  On Thursday, President Obama warned that Republicans would seek to replace the sequester (automatic cuts currently scheduled to take effect) with cuts to programs such as Social Security and Medicare, while refusing to raise new tax revenue. The Alliance is sending a letter from all of the State Presidents to President Obama today, urging him to remain strong and protect seniors. In the letter, available at, the state Alliance leaders say, “We are concerned, Mr. President, that many in Washington will try to take advantage of the nation’s current fiscal situation and cause permanent damage to the Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid programs. We strongly urge you to resist such efforts.”

The Alliance also weighed in on two other issues importa…

The Election is Over, Let's Move Forward

I don't know about you but I thought the election for President of the United States was over and decided in November 2012. However, many people out there in America do not want it to end. I am sick and tired of reading the newspapers and seeing articles that are submitted by right-wing conservative Republicans.      The name calling (especially in the south) with regards to the President of the United States is shameful! I never knew there were so many bigots and hateful people in America. I was amazed to read several articles in my local hometown paper in New York about President Obama, but since I have arrived in Florida, I have read a couple of articles every day in the local papers that chastise and insult President Obama for every decision he makes as President. I truly wish these people would put their bias aside and accept the mandate of the people of the United States. President Obama won both the popular and the electoral vote in our country. The people have decided…

Leo W. Gerard:: I Am Rising

Budget Battles in D.C.; Seems Like They Never End!

by Barbara J. Easterling
These past few years, it seems like every time you turn on the news there is another budget battle, another budget crisis in Washington. There is one thing that all these budget fights have in common: politicians and TV commentators telling us we have no choice but to cut Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. I don’t think this is true, and to me, it would make much more sense to get rid of sweetheart tax deals for big business and for millionaires.So brace yourself for yet another year of hearing about how we need to lower Social Security COLAs, or raise the Social Security and Medicare eligibility ages, or how there just is not enough money for Medicaid to help seniors with the cost of long-term or nursing home care.Instead of cutting these programs, there are ways to actually make them stronger. We could strengthen the Social Security Trust Fund by having the highest income earners pay their fair share in taxes. Right now a millionaire pays almost the sam…

Playing Defense Again

Unfortunately, due to the polarizing nature of our political establishment in Washington today, it seems like our work is never done. We need to make sure that the 113th Congress does no harm to the programs that working class Americans so desperately need and depend on.      Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid must be protected. You will be hearing a great deal about the “Chained CPI” in the days and weeks to come. This proposed approach to control the cost-of living adjustment for Social Security recipients, will take money out of retiree’s pockets in an attempt to address our nation’s deficit.  This is the wrong approach to deficit reduction.      Medicare does have a long term projected budget imbalance, but that can be addressed by making the delivery of health care more efficient. Medicare and Medicaid can both be improved, but it makes no sense to squeeze costs out of both of these programs, only to see them piled onto the back of the current beneficiaries, or shifted to …

Don't Be Fooled By Congress

The right-wing conservatives in Congress have Social Security and Medicare in their sights. They are once again threatening to hold our economy hostage.  Since they failed to extract draconian benefits cuts in the recently negotiated “fiscal cliff” deal, they are threatening to refuse to lift the debt ceiling and demanding Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security cuts.
Our economic problems are not caused by overly generous Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid benefits. Social Security has not added one dime to the deficit. We do have a projected budget imbalance over the long term that is driven by heath care cost growth, but the solution is to make the health care system more efficient, not shift costs to the beneficiaries. If Congress was serious about reducing the debt, they would not be demanding wasteful tax cuts for corporations and the richest 2 percent of Americans that explode the deficit.Conservatives in Congress want to make the next two months a fight over how much to cut …

Stay Vigilant

With the election behind us, many of us felt some relief from the on going attack on the middle and working class. But beware. Recent, and on-going events, show an ill wind blowing from right wing, big money interests in their ongoing attack on workers’ rights and social programs including; Social Security and Medicare.

For example, there is still talk among some Republicans to eliminate Medicare as we know it and going to a voucher system, plus, talk of increasing the Social Security eligibility age and cutting benefits. 

We are also seeing efforts by Republicans, at the state level, pursuing so called Right- to-Work laws to undermine and destroy our Unions. As the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “these laws do not create any rights or work. They do just the opposite.” 

The facts are clear. Workers in the so called right to freeload and work for less states, are paid less, have less workers rights, and have fewer benefits and less pension and insurance coverage than states that d…

President Obama Leads By Example

The historic inauguration of President Barack Obama brought a lot of media attention to some very trivial issues:  Why did Michelle Obama cut her hair?  Did BeyoncĂ© lip-sync the Star-Spangled Banner?  Never mind that, our first African American President and Nobel Peace Prize recipient, was sworn into office for his second term on the day we celebrate Nobel Peace Prize recipient Martin Luther King Jr.'s life. Inquiring minds want to know, did Kelly Clarkson lip-sync too?President Obama reinforced his commitment to addressing unfair trade in his inaugural speech, explaining that ‘a free market only thrives when there are rules to ensure competition and fair play.’ With his pledge to create one million new manufacturing jobs by the end of 2016, you need only look to his inaugural threads to add to the jobs meter.  For his 2013 inauguration, the President chose a suit from Brooks Brothers, a company started in New York City 195 years ago. In his 2009 inauguration, the Presiden…

Alliance for Retired Americans Friday Alert 2-1-13

Americans Willing to Pay More in Taxes if it means Keeping Social Security Benefits
Americans support Social Security and are willing to pay more to preserve and even improve benefits, according to a new survey released on Thursday by the nonpartisan National Academy of Social Insurance (NASI). The study,Strengthening Social Security: What Do Americans Want?, finds a sharp contrast between what Americans say they want and changes being discussed in Washington, such as cutting benefits by using a “chained” Consumer Price Index to determine Social Security’s cost-of-living adjustment (COLA). In fact, large majorities of Americans, both Republicans and Democrats, agree on ways to strengthen Social Security — without cutting benefits. Fully 74% of Republicans and 88% of Democrats agree that “it is critical to preserve Social Security even if it means increasing Social Security taxes paid by working Americans.” To see the full results of the survey, go to For a Re…