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Showing posts from March, 2013

Alliance for Retired Americans Friday Alert 3-29-13

Senate Passes Budget That Protects Social Security and Medicare, Ends Sequester
Early Saturday morning, the U.S. Senate passed a budget crafted by Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), the Chairman of the Senate Budget Committee. Unlike the budget plan promoted by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), which passed the U.S. House of Representatives last week, the Murray budget does not include any cuts to Social Security or to Medicare benefits, nor does it gut Medicaid by turning it into a block grant program. In addition to keeping vital benefit programs intact, Murray’s budget repeals the harmful sequester cuts, while Ryan’s budget would leave them in place through 2023. To see the Alliance’s chart comparing the Murray budget passed by the Senate with the Ryan budget passed by the House, go to

“The Murray budget is starkly different from Paul Ryan’s budget,” said Edward F. Coyle, Executive Director of the Alliance. “While Ryan’s plan attempts to balance the budget on the backs of sen…

Alliance for Retired Americans Friday Alert 3-22-13

Paul Ryan’s Republican Budget Passes the House, Despite Threats Posed to Seniors
The U.S. House of Representatives voted to pass Paul Ryan’s Republican Budget for fiscal year 2014 on Thursday, 221-207. It was a mostly party-line vote, with only 10 Republicans voting against it, and no Democrats voting for it. For a full tally, go to Ryan’s plan would fast-track cuts to Social Security, gut Medicaid and dismantle the Medicare program – all while giving $5.7 trillion in new tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations. To see the Alliance’s letter to House members listing the ways in which the budget would hurt seniors, go to If you have not done so already, please sign the petition expressing your disapproval of the Paul Ryan budget here:
Diane Fleming, a retired member of the International Association of Machinists who, along with her 92-year-old mother, is a Medicare beneficiary, spoke at a Capitol Hill press co…

SOAR Alert

SOAR request - Please phone your U.S. Senators and ask them to vote for the Sanders-Harken-Hirono Amendment 198. This has to do with the infamous Chained CPI. The COLA for disabled veterans is determined by the Social Security COLA. Thanks very much.


USW Supports Perez as New Labor Secretary

(PITTSBURGH) – The United Steelworkers (USW) released this statement today from International President Leo W. Gerard in support of President Obama’s nomination of Thomas Perez as the administration’s new Secretary of Labor:

“All workers should be thrilled with President Obama’s nomination of Thomas Perez as Secretary of Labor. Mr. Perez has a long and distinguished record of standing up and fighting for the rights of his fellow Americans. He has worked hard to protect some of our nation’s most vulnerable workers from discrimination and exploitation.

“Whether the issue was civil rights, immigration, education, health and safety, wages, health care or veterans’ affairs, Mr. Perez has been on the side of working people every step of the way throughout his career.

“Most of all, Thomas Perez understands the challenges that working families face in this country and he has proven that he will be an aggressive champion for them. He’s exactly the kind of advocate Americans deserve as their Labor…

Alliance for Retired Americans Friday Alert 3-15-13

Paul Ryan’s Latest Budget: Not New and Not Improved!
House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) unveiled a Republican budget on Tuesday that once again proposes privatizing Medicare and turning it into a voucher system, while lowering tax rates on corporations and the wealthy.  The vouchers would replace the guaranteed benefits of Medicare but would not keep up with costs, and seniors would be out more and more money every year. The plan would also turn Medicaid into a block-grant program.  “This budget - Ryan’s 3rd edition - is not new and it’s not improved,” said Ohio Alliance President Norm Wernet.
Please sign the petition expressing your disapproval of the Paul Ryan budget here:

Alliance member Diane Fleming spoke out about the budget on Wednesday at a Capitol Hill event with the House Progressive Caucus. The United Airlines retiree, who worked for 39 years as a reservations agent and in ticket sales as a member of the International Association of Machin…

USW Opposes TSA Plan to Allow Knives on Planes

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:                            CONTACT:  R.J. Hufnagel, 412-562-2450
Monday, March 11, 2013                                                         
USW Opposes TSA Plan to
Allow Knives on Planes

PITTSBURGH (March 11) – United Steelworkers (USW) International President Leo W. Gerard today pledged the USW’s full support for the Flight Attendants Union Coalition, a group representing nearly 90,000 flight attendants campaigning to reverse the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) decision to allow knives in aircraft cabins for the first time since Sept. 11, 2001.

“The decision to allow knives on planes flies in the face of logic and puts our dedicated flight attendants, as well as countless innocent passengers, needlessly in harm’s way,” Gerard said. “There is simply no good reason to do this, and there are a million reasons not to do it.”

The TSA announced last week that air passengers would be allowed to carry knives with blades up to 2.3…

A Woman of Steel Is...

Alliance for Retired Americans Friday Alert 3-8-13

Alliance, AFGE, Acting SSA Commissioner Detail Sequester Effect on Social Security
Alliance President Barbara J. Easterling co-authored an op-ed in Huffington Post last week with Witold Skwierczynski, President of the American Federation of Government Employees National Council of Social Security Administration (SSA) Field Operations Locals, on the impact of the sequester on the SSA. The Locals represent about 25,000 Social Security employees in field offices and telephone centers nationwide. 

“Two straight years of budget cuts and hiring freezes have crippled Social Security's ability to handle dramatic workload increases, and the additional cuts required under sequestration will cause further erosion,” the two stress. “Office hours nationwide have been slashed by 23 percent, which has had a detrimental effect on processing new claims. In most offices, citizens have to wait more than 30 days to get an in-person meeting or telephone interview to file benefit applications or complete…

USW Supports 'Keep Social Security Promises Act'

For Immediate Use:  March 7, 2013
Contact:    Gary Hubbard, 202-256-8125,

USW Announces Support of ‘Keep Social Security Promises Act’
U.S. Sen. Sanders, Rep. Peter DeFazio introduce bills to strengthen benefits

              Washington, D.C. (Mar. 7) – Leo W. Gerard, President of the United Steelworkers (USW) today released a letter supporting today’s introduction of legislation by U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) cosponsored by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) to strengthen Social Security by making the wealthiest Americans pay the same payroll tax that nearly everyone else already pays.

              Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) introduced the companion bill in the House. The legislation is titled: ‘Keeping Our Social Security Promises Act of 2013.’

              “The United Steelworkers is proud to stand with you and support this vital legislation to protect the integrity and longevity of our nation’s retirement system,” Gerard wrote. “Your bill will make So…

Let it Snow

The Green Grass of Growing Older

Harkin-Miller Minimum Wage Bill Endorsement

 Alliance for Retired Americans endorses Harkin-Miller minimum wage bill
Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2013

The Fair Minimum Wage Act will raise the minimum wage back to its historic level and index it to inflation in the future so that low-wage workers do not continue to fall behind.  The Act will also raise the minimum wage for tipped workers for the first time in more than 20 years, raising it to a level that is 70 percent of the regular minimum wage.

“Regular” Minimum Wage
Background:  The current wage of $7.25 was implemented in July 2009, the final of three increases resulting from 2007 legislation signed by President George W. Bush.
Under the bill, the minimum wage will increase to $10.10 in three 95-cent increments: about three months after enactment ($8.20), 1 year later ($9.15), 1 year later ($10.10).The wage will be indexed to inflation thereafter, to keep up with rising cost of living.
“Tipped” Minimum Wage
Background:  Workers who regularly receive tips (at least $30 per month) may…

Alliance for Retired Americans Friday Alert 3-1-13

Sequester Cuts Will Be Harmful to Seniors
On Thursday, the U.S. Senate blocked a plan to avert the sequester without harming Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid. As a result, the cuts imposed by sequestration will be in place as of today and will be gradually implemented. S. 388, the American Family Economic Protection Act - the Democratic alternative to the sequester - would have replaced the cuts and raised revenue by requiring millionaires and corporations to pay their fair share in taxes, including a minimum tax.  It would have eliminated tax breaks for corporations that send jobs overseas, recognized savings from scaling back the war in Afghanistan, and cut unnecessary farm subsidy payments. The Alliance supported the measure, but it failed 51-49, with 60 votes needed to cut off debate. For a tally of that vote, go to

“It is vital that these cuts be reversed as quickly as possible.  Among the many crucial programs affected by the sequester are several…