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Showing posts from April, 2013

Alliance for Retired Americans Friday Alert 4-26-13

Grand Bargain: A Possible Scenario;
Tell Your U.S. Senators to Co-Sponsor the Resolution Opposing the Chained CPI;
House Democratic Caucus’ Seniors Task Force Re-Launches;
Senate Votes to End Air Traffic Controller Furloughs, Other Sequester Cuts Remain;
Scams are tied to Confusion over Health Care Reform

Grand Bargain: A Possible Scenario
On Tuesday, Forbes magazine’s online site offered a write-up on the likelihood of a “grand bargain” between Democrats and Republicans that would shrink the national deficit but cut earned benefits for seniors. Available at, it was written by Bob Rosenblatt, a writer and editor specializing in aging issues. He is also a senior fellow at the National Academy of Social Insurance, a think tank dealing with Social Security and Medicare. The article addresses issues including a possible cut in your annual Social Security cost-of-living increases, as well as an increase in the age of eligibility for Medicare, from today’s 65 …

Why OSHA Was Created

Momentum is Building, Please Act Now.

Momentum is building! Thanks to Alliance activists like you, Representative David Cicilline (D-RI) introduced a resolution in the House opposing the use of the Chained CPI with the support of over 80 cosponsors! 
Now the Senate is  acting on a similar resolution and we really need your help!  Yesterday Senators Tom Harkin (D-IA), Bernie Sanders (I-VT)  and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) introduced a resolution opposing the use of the Chained CPI (S.CON.RES.15).  It is important the this resolution receive as much support as possible, so please contact your Senator right now and ask them toco-sponsor the resolution . As you know, the Chained CPI would cut Cost of Living Adjustments for all current and future retirees. This means not only will people currently depending on their modest benefits be affected, but so will their children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. 
It’s time to draw the line.  The Chained CPI is a benefit cut, plain and simple.  We must know where our senators stan…

Austin Blackburn plays the Musical Saw

Del Lowery, The Podcaster for Retirees

Last week, Elaine and I went to the National Canadian SOAR Conference in Vancouver, B.C.

It was our first time visiting Canada and Vancouver was a very nice city to visit.

While there, we were able to meet the famous podcaster, Del Lowery and his wife, Brenda.

Del does a weekly podcast titled, Retirement Talk. You can find it at

I highly recommend Del's podcasts. They give some really good perspectives on how to plan for retirement and how a person might enjoy retirement in ways that don't require much money.

The photo at left was taken at The Fish House restaurant. Seated from left to right are Elaine, Phyllis Pearson, yours truly, Del Lowery and Brenda.

You can read about Del and Brenda at the web page below.

Facebook Scams

Alliance for Retired Americans Friday Alert 4-19-13

Tell Your U.S. Rep. to Co-Sponsor Cicilline Resolution Opposing the Chained CPI
This week, Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) introduced a resolution in the U.S. House of Representatives expressing clear opposition to using the chained CPI method to calculate cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) for Social Security benefits. In light of recent budget proposals that include chained CPI, it is crucial that Rep. Cicilline’s resolution receives a high level of support. More than 2,600 members of the Alliance have already contacted their Members of Congress asking them to co-sponsor the resolution. The Cicilline resolution is H. Con. Res. 34 and has 81 co-sponsors. To see who they include so far, go to To see why the Alliance opposes using the chained CPI and to add your voice to the cause, if you have not already done so, click on

As a reminder, more than 4,800 Alliance activists have signed a letter to the White House opposing the Chained CPI.…

Alliance for Retired Americans Friday Alert 4-12-13

In this April 12th Edition: Masses Protest Obama Budget Release Including Cuts to Social Security and Medicare

Social Security Uniquely Important to Women, Cuts Would Have Major Impact

As Americans Prepare for Tax Day, Big Pharma Pockets Billions in Profits from Taxpayers and Seniors

Eye Drops Could Cure Macular Degeneration, a Leading Cause of Blindness

Masses Protest Obama Budget Release Including Cuts to Social Security, MedicareThe Alliance joined the broad Strengthen Social Security coalition Tuesday at the White House to deliver 2.3 million petitions against the proposal to change the Social Security cost of living adjustment (COLA) to the chained CPI formula, which would cut benefits for current and future beneficiaries. President Obama’s budget released Wednesday outlines over $4 trillion in deficit reduction, but headlines centered around his first-ever proposal to cut Social Security. Tuesday’s action was widely covered in the media. Tens of millions of workers, seniors and disa…

Tribute to Steve Skvara

I find it sad but necessary to write about a loss to SOAR, the USW and the cause of workers and retirees and a friend and that is the death of our brother, Steve Skvara, District 7 SOAR Board Member. Steve was a retired Steelworker from Youngstown Sheet & Tube in East Chicago, Indiana, the President of SOAR Chapter 31-5 and the District 7 SOAR Executive Board member.
I had the opportunity to work with Steve. His dedication to SOAR was second to none. Before his health began to fail, you could always count on him to be active in protests and demonstrations; whenever the cause of workers and retirees were at stake.
One of the most memorable events was in 2007 at the Presidential Candidate forum in Chicago, when Steve related to the candidates including Barack Obama, his health care dilemma and concern for his wife’s health care.  As a result, he appeared on a number of national TV broadcasts. 
Even in the 2012 election, Steve helped Elizabeth Warren win the Senate election in Massachus…

SOAR Director Speaks Out

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASECONTACT: April 10, 2013Jim Centner (412) 562-2575

President Obama’s Proposed Budget is Disappointing Nation’s Debt Should Not Be Balanced on Backs of Seniors 
The following statement was issued today by Jim Centner, Director of the Steelworkers Organization of Active Retirees (SOAR):
(Pittsburgh) -- President Obama’s budget proposal released today is disappointing. While we acknowledge that it does not change the Medicare eligibility age, it still targets those most vulnerable in our society.
Cuts to Social Security cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) and to Medicare programs places the burden of our nation’s debt unfairly on the back of seniors.
The proposed chained CPI formula to determine Social Security COLA benefits will mean an immediate, and long-lasting, benefit cut for millions of Social Security beneficiaries, including seniors, veterans, people with disabilities and others. 
Social Security has not contributed a single penny to the federal defici…

We Need Your Help!

SOAR has never been more important to our retirees and to our union. Working families and retirees are under unprecedented assault. Corporations are using the excuse of the global economy to gut our contracts and abandon their obligations to their retirees. Congress is attempting to balance our nation’s budget on the back of the working class, while cutting the taxes of corporations and wealthy Americans.
The only way to defend ourselves is by organizing our retirees and partnering with our union’s active members to confront the issues that jeopardize our economic security and way of life. This is where we need your help. In order to maximize our impact, SOAR needs to grow. We need you to reach out to your fellow retirees and other likeminded retirees to recruit them into our organization.
Our union has fought hard for our retirees. In many cases, when the employer abandoned them through shutdowns and bankruptcies, our union was there. The USW established a number of VEBAs (Voluntary…

The Ryan Budget - Deja-vu All Over Again

By now, I am sure all of you are aware that the budget battle is heating up in Washington. Paul Ryan, the failed Vice Presidential candidate and Republican Congressman from Wisconsin, is leading the charge from the far right to balance the budget on the backs of working families and retirees.
Once again, he has proposed a budget that the Senate roundly rejected in the last Congress; the same budget that the voters rejected when they dashed his ambitions to be Vice President. To those in D.C., he must seem like the crazy cat woman who lives down the street. This is the third time the House Republicans have released the Ryan Budget. Someone once told me that “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” 
Fortunately for us, the Senate has declared the draconian cuts proposed by the Ryan Budget as “dead on arrival.” The time has come for Congressional Republicans to deal with the real challenges facing the nation; slow economic gr…

Affordable Care Act extended free preventive care

March 18, 2013
Contact: HHS Press Office
(202) 690-6343
Affordable Care Act extended free preventive care to 71 million Americans with private health insuranceHealth Care Law’s third anniversary sees health costs slowing down, more value for consumers
Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced today that about 71 million Americans in private health insurance plans received coverage for at least one free preventive health care service, such as a mammogram or flu shot, in 2011 and 2012 because of the Affordable Care Act. The new data was released in a report from HHS today.

Additionally, an estimated 34 million Americans in traditional Medicare and Medicare Advantage plans have received at least one preventive service, such as an annual wellness visit at no out of pocket cost because of the health care law.

Taken together, this means about 105 million Americans with private health plans and Medicare beneficiar…

Musical Saw

Seniors React to President's Proposed Social Security Cuts

For Immediate Release
April 5, 2013
Contact: Laura Markwardt – 202/637-5178 or
Seniors React to President’s Proposed Social Security Cuts

The following statement was issued today by Edward F. Coyle, Executive Director of the Alliance for Retired Americans.

“Today’s press reports that President Obama will include cuts to Social Security cost of living adjustments (COLAs) and Medicare in his budget proposal next Wednesday are very disturbing.

“The use of the chained CPI to calculate cost of living adjustments is simply not fair. It is not an insignificant tweak; it constitutes a significant benefit cut. Worse, it cuts benefits more with every passing year. It will do real damage to seniors and people with disabilities – in the present and future.

“Not only does the current cost of living adjustment formula not keep up with inflation for seniors, it does not accurately account for the large health care cost increases faced by seniors and people with disabilities.…

Alliance for Retired Americans Friday Alert 4-5-13

President Obama May Include Cuts to Social Security COLA in Budget Proposal
Press reports indicate that President Obama will include cuts to Social Security cost of living adjustments (COLAs) and Medicare in his budget proposal next Wednesday The President will reportedly propose the use of the chained CPI to calculate cost of living adjustments (COLAs) if it is linked to taxes on the wealthy and infrastructure investments. In Medicare, savings would reportedly come from payments to health care providers, such as hospitals and drug companies, but the President may also propose further means-testing benefits.

The Social Security COLA cuts via the chained CPI is troubling because it is an immediate benefit cut to Social Security beneficiaries. Please send the White House a message – tell the President to protect Social Security and to safeguard benefits using this easy link

The chained CPI is a back door way of attempting to balance the budget …

NO Chained CPI - Just Lift The Cap on Social Security

Invitation to Republic Steel Memorial Day Massacre commemoration

April, 2013
RE: Invitation to attend the May 18th annual commemoration AND Request for donations
Dear Sisters and Brothers,
The United Steelworkers District 7 and our retiree organization, SOAR, are sponsoring the annual commemoration of the Memorial Day Massacre of 1937, on Saturday, May 18, 2013, at 2:00 pm at the George Washington High School, 3535 E. 114th St. in Chicago, just across the street from the scene of the 1937 events.
On Memorial Day 1937, 76 years ago, workers from the “Little Steel” mills of Chicago and Northwest Indiana were peacefully demonstrating at Republic Steel in South Chicago in an effort to gain recognition for their Union - the Steel Workers Organizing Committee, SWOC. Ten SWOC members and supporters were shot and killed, and numerous others, including women and children were wounded and injured for the right to form a Union. This tragic event has become known as the “Republic Steel Memorial Day Massacre.”
The sacrifices of those who came before should not, and …

Report from AAM (Alliance for American Manufacturing)

Recently, the women of AAM joined the Women of Steel at their international conference in Pittsburgh to share information about trade and the importance of having a solid manufacturing base. This industry is important for women since jobs in manufacturing are often high-tech and offer better pay and benefits than many other sectors. But looking at the numbers, women are not employed in manufacturing at the same rate as men. In fact, only 27% of all manufacturing workers in the US (3.3 million) and Canada (500,000) are women. Those of us in manufacturing should promote the industry to our sisters and daughters, dispelling the outdated notion that manufacturing jobs are difficult, dirty and best left for men. We can recruit a new generation of Rosie the Riveters!

Our elected officials must invest in manufacturing so that more of these jobs are available. We need women AND men making things, creating things and inventing things but our lack of a comprehensive plan to drive innovation, edu…