Friday, January 31, 2014

Alliance for Retired Americans Friday Alert 1-31-14




Headlines:
President Stays Away from Cuts to Key Programs in State of the Union Speech
Illinois Public Sector Unions Sue to Block Pension Theft
In Fight of Their Lives, Union Members Rally at Pennsylvania State Capitol
Coalition Challenges ALEC with the Facts
Today is Intercontinental Day of Action against the TPP; Harry Reid Lends Support
Thousands Join Sen. Bernie Sanders on Monday Night Call
Alliance’s Virginia Chapter Marks Its Third Year

President Stays Away from Cuts to Key Programs in State of the Union Speech
President Obama’s State of the Union address avoided mention of some policies that would prove damaging to retirees, such as the chained CPI cut to earned Social Security benefits or other cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. “Now, we must work to increase Social Security benefits,” said Richard Fiesta, Executive Director of the Alliance. Mr. Fiesta added, “We applaud the President’s efforts to attack income inequality. An initiative to raise the minimum wage, and a renewed effort to extend the unemployment benefits for the long-term unemployed, are two major steps in the right direction.” To read Mr. Fiesta’s full statement, go to http://tinyurl.com/ol972dw.

The President also introduced his myRA plan, which would allow some individuals to purchase bonds in a “starter” retirement account which guarantees no risk. The myRA will be safe and simple, but will top out at $15,000 per account and offer modest returns.

Illinois Public Sector Unions Sue to Block Pension Theft
On Tuesday, a coalition called “We Are One Illinois,” which consists of the Illinois AFL-CIO, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the Service Employees International Union, the Illinois Federation of Teachers, the Illinois Education Association and others, brought suit to block the enactment of a sweeping pension reform law in the state. While other employee and retiree groups already had filed legal challenges to the state pension law, the latest lawsuit carries the weight of Illinois’ largest public sector unions. The law was passed to alleviate a $100 billion dollar unfunded pension debt the state has accrued, but there is a provision of the Illinois Constitution which declares public pensions a “contractual relationship” with benefits that cannot be “diminished or impaired.” More at http://tinyurl.com/nemraln.

Illinois AFL-CIO President Michael T. Carrigan said, “Our suit makes clear that pension theft is not only unfair, it’s clearly unconstitutional…Teachers, nurses, emergency responders, and other workers and retirees will not stand by while politicians try to take away their life savings illegally.”

“We stand with the We Are One Coalition against any attempt to take away employees’ pensions, whether they are retired or still on the job.” said Barbara J. Easterling, President of the Alliance.

In Fight of Their Lives, Union Members Rally at Pennsylvania State Capitol
Identical bills currently being debated in the Pennsylvania state House and Senate would stop state and local governments, as well as school districts, from automatically deducting union wages from employees’ paychecks.  Opponents of the bills point out that other organizations, including the United Way, are allowed to make use of automatic deductions at minimal cost to the government. In response to the proposed legislation, a rally was held at the state Capitol in Harrisburg on Tuesday. Over 1,000 union members, including several members of the Pennsylvania Alliance, protested against the severe attack on labor and Pennsylvanian workers. More at http://tinyurl.com/ptbtnad.

“This legislation is a blatant attack on worker’s rights, and is absolutely unconscionable,” said Ruben Burks, Secretary-Treasurer of the Alliance. “We hope the actions of the Pennsylvania Alliance and the unions showed Governor Corbett that this is not the will of the people.”

Coalition Challenges ALEC with the Facts
On Monday, a coalition of labor and progressive groups kicked off “Mondays with ALEC,” a day focusing on an aspect of the ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council) corporate-funded agenda and ways to fight back, as part of the Stand Up to ALEC campaign. A new fact sheet highlights how ALEC’s agenda targets workers and lowers wages, increasing income equality: http://tinyurl.com/qapc29o.

Today is Intercontinental Day of Action against the TPP; Harry Reid Lends Support
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has signaled his opposition to a bill that would speed the approval of the trade agreement known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). If not blocked, the bill would allow the TPP to be passed with minimal debate and no amendments. While the White House supports both the TPP and fast track, 151 House Democrats have told the President in a letter that they will vote against fast track. The addition of Senator Reid leaves the administration with an uphill battle.

Today is an Intercontinental Day of Action against the TPP and Corporate Globalization, with dozens of protests taking place in the U.S., Mexico, and Canada to mark the anniversary of the passage of NAFTA. Today’s march in Dallas includes numerous Texas Alliance members. The Iowa Alliance joined Americans for Democratic Action (ADA) of Iowa, the Communication Workers of America State Council of Iowa, and about 50 community members on Tuesday night, braving the -8 degree weather in the Eastern part of the state, for a teach-in on TPP and Fast Track. Jan Laue, President of the Iowa Alliance, highlighted the history of unfair trade starting with NAFTA and spoke about how the TPP will hurt seniors and raise the cost of prescription drugs.

Thousands Join Sen. Bernie Sanders on Monday Night Call
More than 670 Alliance members joined a tele-conference call with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) on Monday night. Thousands of activists from partner organizations were also on the call, which focused on protecting Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid and creating an agenda that works for all Americans, and not just powerful special interests. “We've got to be alert, we’ve gotta be focused, we have to be aggressive,” said Sen. Sanders. “If we do that, I am confident that we will not just protect Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, I believe we can expand those programs.”

Alliance’s Virginia Chapter Marks Its Third Year
Virginia Alliance for Retired Americans members gathered in Richmond on Tuesday to mark their third year of retiree activism and to build capacity for more. Delegates heard from Ms. Easterling; Doris Crouse-Mays, Virginia AFL-CIO President; Ron Thompson, President of the Virginia Alliance; James Gilbert, Union Veterans Council Director; Judy Beard, American Postal Workers Union National Retiree Director; Jayne Clancy, Legal Consultant for the Alliance; and others. Attendees spoke with Mr. Gilbert about issues affecting veterans, such as transitioning from combat to civilian life and Helmets to Hardhats programs, which connect service men and women to building trades careers. Photos here: http://tinyurl.com/ps7k7qr.

For a printable version of this document, go to http://tinyurl.com/ofuwk7c.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Retirees Breathe a Sigh of Relief


For Immediate Release
January 29, 2014
Contact: David Blank – 202/637-5275 or dblank@retiredamericans.org 


Retirees Breathe a Sigh of Relief Following State of the Union Address

President Addresses Income Inequality, Has No Plans to Cut Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid


The following statement was issued today by Richard Fiesta, Executive Director of the Alliance for Retired Americans:

“Members of the Alliance for Retired Americans watched the President’s State of the Union address on Tuesday night with an eye on Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and Income Inequality.

“We are relieved that the President did not mention support for the chained CPI cut to earned Social Security benefits or any cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Retirees let out a collective sigh of relief when the address was over. Now, we must work to increase Social Security benefits.

“The President has stood strong in stopping attempts by Republicans to raise Medicare’s eligibility age. He has also stopped attempts, included in the Paul Ryan House Republican budget, to “block grant” Medicaid. Retirees are reassured that President Obama has held those positions.

“However, seniors wanted to see additional plans to close tax loopholes for the wealthiest Americans and corporations. Companies like GE will continue to avoid paying their share of taxes without changes on multiple fronts.

“Finally, we applaud the President’s efforts to attack income inequality. An initiative to raise the minimum wage, and a renewed effort to extend the unemployment benefits for the long-term unemployed, are two major steps in the right direction.”

Friday, January 24, 2014

Alliance for Retired Americans Friday Alert, 1-24-14




Headlines:
Supreme Court Hears Landmark Union Case Involving Home Health Care Workers
Last Chance to RSVP for Conference Call with Sen. Bernie Sanders Monday Night
Insurance Industry Ads Seek to Preempt Medicare Advantage Cuts
Scam Using Medical Alert Devices was Aimed at Seniors
Hawaii Alliance for Retired Americans Holds its Convention, Elects Officers
Obituary: Kenny Stevens, Member of Alliance Executive and Regional Boards
Obituary for former Vermont Alliance President Chet Briggs


Supreme Court Hears Landmark Union Case Involving Home Health Care Workers
This week, U.S. Supreme Court heard Harris vs. Quinn, a case concerning in-home care providers who work with Medicaid patients, and their right to unionize. In response to high turnover rates and low wages amongst home care providers, 20,000 individuals in Illinois voted to join the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), securing higher union wages in negotiations with the state. In response, the anti-union group the National Right to Work Foundation brought suit against SEIU and Governor Pat Quinn (D). At issue are two questions: whether states may recognize a union to represent health care workers who care for disabled adults in their homes instead of in state institutions; and whether non-union members must pay for negotiating a contract they benefit from.

“We hope that the Court will see through this attempt by anti-labor groups to strip power from unions and from the millions of employees they represent,” said Barbara J. Easterling, President of the Alliance. More at http://tinyurl.com/pc4zo9g.

Last Chance to RSVP for Conference Call with Sen. Bernie Sanders Monday Night
On Monday night, January 27th, at 8 PM EST, U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) will host a tele-conference call with activists from across the nation. Alliance members and coalition partners will come together for a discussion about how we can protect Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid and create an agenda that works for all Americans, not just powerful special interests. To take part, go to http://tinyurl.com/orcrzkc. Today (Friday) is the deadline to RSVP, so don’t miss your chance!

Insurance Industry Ads Seek to Preempt Medicare Advantage Cuts
America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), a trade association representing health care insurers, launched a seven figure advertising blitz this week. The campaign comes in advance of an annual notice that sets the plans’ payment rates for the upcoming year and focuses on that issue.

According to Politico (http://tinyurl.com/q25lxou), the ads follow the “Seniors are Watching” theme of a prior campaign. Medicare Advantage (MA), unlike “Original Medicare,” is offered by a private insurance company which in turn contracts with Medicare.  Historically, Medicare trust fund reimbursements for MA have been higher than regular Medicare for similar services, and certain Affordable Care Act provisions set out to bring the costs more in line. While AHIP and allies refer to the incoming changes as catastrophic for seniors, others disagree. “This is just setting the stage so that when the 2015 announcement comes out, AHIP will try to argue that these are new cuts... but there are no new cuts,” said Edwin Park of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

“The cuts that the ads aim to stop are actually a bonanza for private insurance companies,” added Richard Fiesta, Executive Director of the Alliance. “That money is better spent on providing health care to those who cannot afford it.”

Scam Using Medical Alert Devices was Aimed at Seniors
According to MSN Money (a service of MSN, originally The Microsoft Network), federal and state regulators have shut down a multimillion-dollar scam that they said duped seniors into turning over their credit card information in exchange for supposedly free medical-alert devices. The business blasted seniors across the U.S. and Canada with robocalls and said that they were eligible for “a free alert system purchased by a friend or relative.” Once the person agreed to receive the device, “they were transferred to an operator who took their billing information and immediately began charging them for the service.” Government officials said last week that they received more than 66,000 complaints about the scam, which deliberately targeted the elderly. Medical alert systems are designed to help seniors get quick help in the event of an emergency. The devices most often consist of a necklace or wristband with an emergency button that contacts a company dispatcher. The scam was not connected with any real manufacturers of medical alert devices. The makers of Life Alert had sued the business for using its “Help, I've fallen and I can't get up,” phrase on the robocalls. Prosecutors said the business appeared organized in a way that would evade law enforcement.

“Many Americans have been talking recently about having their information stolen at the checkout lines of retail stores,” said Ruben Burks, Secretary-Treasurer of the Alliance. “But we should all remember that giving out too much information to people who call you can be equally dangerous.”

Hawaii Alliance for Retired Americans Holds its Convention, Elects Officers
Mr. Fiesta traveled to Hawaii for the Hawaii Alliance's convention in Honolulu on January 11. Eighty-six voting delegates attended, representing all eight statewide affiliates.  Speakers included Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell; International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) Local 142 Secretary-Treasurer Guy Fujimura; Mr. Fiesta; and Alliance Western Regional Board Member Luis Duran. One highlight was the educational session on Long Term Care Costs and Services Relating to Alzheimer's Disease, presented by Wes Lum, Director of the Executive Office on Aging (EOA); Jody Mishan, State Coordinator of Alzheimer's Disease; and financial adviser Michael Yee. Congratulations to all of the newly elected officers: Justin Wong, President; Elmer Yuen, Vice President; Carol Noland, Secretary; and Phyllis Hiramatsu, Treasurer.

Obituary: Kenny Stevens, Member of Alliance Executive and Regional Boards
Kenneth (“Kenny”) Stevens, who was on the Alliance Executive and Regional Boards and a member of the Steelworkers Organization of Active Retirees (SOAR), passed away on January 17th at the age of 78. “Kenny was so crucial to the formation of the Virginia Alliance,” said Ms. Easterling. “I know we will all miss him greatly. Our condolences go out to his family and all of those close to him. He had many friends at the Alliance.” Interment will take place in Danville (Virginia) Memorial Gardens with military honors by American Legion Post #1097 and the U.S. Army. For a more detailed obituary, go to http://tinyurl.com/ojk6jpr.

Obituary for former Vermont Alliance President Chet Briggs
Chester (“Chet”) Arthur Briggs, who was formerly President of the Vermont Alliance, has died at the age of 73. “From leading a movement in 1960 to integrate lunch counters and movie theaters in Austin, Texas, to serving as state President for the Vermont Alliance, Chet led a life dedicated to making the world a better place,” said Mr. Fiesta. “I offer our deepest condolences to his family. He touched a lot of people.” To read a full obituary, go to http://tinyurl.com/qhsy8sw.

For a printable version of this document, go to http://tinyurl.com/k99c9b6.


Friday, January 17, 2014

Alliance for Retired Americans Friday Alert 1-10-14




Headlines:
No Consensus So Far on Extension of Unemployment Benefits;
Spending Bill: Limited Relief for Some Military Retirees, but Tax Loopholes Remain;
GAO Reports on Drug Companies That Listed the Wrong Prices Online;
Koch Brothers Invade Pennsylvania;
At NAFTA’s 20-Year Anniversary, an Assessment

No Consensus So Far on Extension of Unemployment Benefits
Negotiations to extend emergency benefits for the long-term jobless came to a standstill in the Senate on Tuesday. That leaves more than 1.4 million people without federal unemployment aid at least until late January, when lawmakers are likely to resume consideration of the legislation. For more than a week, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) kept the Senate focused on restoring expired emergency unemployment benefits, an effort that failed in two separate votes. The chamber voted 52-48 (see tally at http://tinyurl.com/mpk4xgl) to reject a proposal to extend benefits through November and pay for it by extending the sequester’s mandatory spending cuts into 2024. A different measure, to extend aid for three months — without a pay-for — was defeated 55-45 (http://tinyurl.com/mzxoo7d). Republicans fumed that Reid was limiting consideration of amendments. Some amendments would have offered savings by eliminating the ability of the disabled and unemployed to receive both federal disability payments and jobless aid.

“Some amendments, pushed strongly by the Republicans, would have taken away Social Security Unemployment Insurance for the low-income disabled,” said Richard Fiesta, Executive Director of the Alliance. “These amendments would have treated people with significant disabilities who receive Social Security Disability Insurance differently from other American workers, and harmed the economic security of these beneficiaries and their families.”

Reid believes that next week’s holiday recess will motivate Republicans to extend unemployment benefits without strings attached. “Jobless constituents will no doubt be giving Republican Senators a piece of their mind,” said Barbara J. Easterling, President of the Alliance.

Spending Bill: Limited Relief for Some Military Retirees, but Tax Loopholes Remain
Disabled military retirees were given a reprieve from a controversial pension cut, but working age military retirees were not, as the House and Senate passed a $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill this week. The appropriations measure keeps intact a provision from the budget agreement President Obama signed into law last month reducing cost-of-living adjustments for working-age military retirees by 1 percent starting in December 2015. A higher rate would apply again once the former service members reach age 62 (http://tinyurl.com/lp5af2u).

The bill does not close any corporate tax loopholes, or force the super wealthy to pay their fair share. One tax break that still exists lets corporations avoid paying taxes to any nation on their financial income earned by foreign subsidiaries, so long as those profits remain offshore. The “active financing exception,” lets GE and Wall Street banks shift their profits to foreign subsidiaries in order to avoid paying their fair share. All they have to do is claim that their U.S.-based financing income is actually being earned in offshore tax havens. Some call it the “GE Tax Loophole” because it is a primary reason the company has succeeded in getting a tax refund from the U.S. government in at least three recent years, according to the group Americans for Tax Fairness.

“GE and Citigroup like the active financing exception, but the rest of us shouldn’t,” said Ruben Burks, Secretary-Treasurer of the Alliance. “Our country loses $11 billion in tax revenue every two years to it.”

GAO Reports on Drug Companies That Listed the Wrong Prices Online
Last Friday, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report finding that during the first seven months of 2013, 25% of Medicare Part D contracts had one or more plans suppressed from Plan Finder, the Medicare website seniors use to choose their drug plans, due to pricing inaccuracy. The GAO also found that between January 1, 2009 and July 31, 2013, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) had taken more than 150 official compliance actions against plans for pricing inaccuracy- issuing 89 notices of noncompliance and 67 warning letters. The report was requested in April by U.S. Sens. Bill Nelson (D-FL) and Susan Collins (R-ME), the chairman and ranking member of the Senate Special Committee on Aging, amid concerns over the reliability and usability of the Plan Finder website.

When a plan is suppressed from the Plan Finder website, its pricing information is removed and beneficiaries are unable sign up for the plan on site until the sponsor submits accurate prices.   In cases where plan sponsors repeatedly submit false or incomplete information, CMS can take further action. The full GAO report is at http://tinyurl.com/lj452eb.

Koch Brothers Invade Pennsylvania
According to the DailyKos blog, wealthy conservative brothers Charles and David Koch are talking to Republican Governor Tom Corbett to move legislation this winter and spring to outlaw union dues deduction for all state and local public employees. It is the same kind of legislation Governors Scott Walker passed in Wisconsin and John Kasich tried to pass in Ohio. Philadelphia City Paper stated that a likely vehicle for this effort is House Bill 1507. The legislation would make it impossible for public-sector unions to automatically collect dues from their members' paychecks and eliminate the required “fair share fee” from workers who do not join. The legislation would also make it impossible for unions to automatically deduct optional donations to labor political funds. More from the Daily Kos is at http://tinyurl.com/lx7qf7w.

At NAFTA’s 20-Year Anniversary, an Assessment
In 1993, the U.S., Mexico and Canada signed the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Recently, CWA posted an item in their newsletter (http://tinyurl.com/m7nglg3) documenting a string of broken promises since the signing twenty years ago. The U.S. has seen some 700,000 jobs move to Mexico. U.S. employer threats - made during organizing campaigns to close plants if workers voted for a union - rose from 29% in the mid-1980s, to 50% in the two years following the adoption of NAFTA, to 57% during the mid-2000s.

Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and others have all documented worsening conditions and eroding standards for workers both in the U.S. and Mexico. Meanwhile, as corporations took advantage of Mexico's low wages, Americans have witnessed downward pressure on their own wages. The U.S. trade surplus with Mexico is now long-gone, as well. You can see the rest of CWA's Broken Promises report at http://tinyurl.com/ly8mkxc. It outlines what happened over the past 20 years and what it means for future trade deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership.


For a printable version of this document, go to http://tinyurl.com/ly6hjpj.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Alliance for Retired Americans Friday Alert 1-10-14

Headlines:
Low Income Home Energy Assistance Down Despite the Extreme Cold
Tell AT&T Corporation to Respect Retirees
Extension of Federal Benefits for the Long-term Unemployed Clears One Hurdle
Come to the Alliance’s Convention, April 28 – May 1, 2014, at Bally's Hotel Las Vegas
National Academy of Social Insurance Conference Begins January 29 in DC
Obituary: Donna McGrath


Low Income Home Energy Assistance Down Despite the Extreme Cold
Huffington Post reports that sequestration's budget cuts last year have left thousands of families in the cold this winter. Congress cut funding for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program by about $155 million, and total funding has decreased from $5.1 billion to $3.32 billion since 2010 (http://tinyurl.com/lxkp369). Large sections of the United States have recently been frozen by the grip of winter, with a weather system known as a polar vortex bringing subzero temperatures and blizzard conditions. Temperatures reached as low as 50 or 60 degrees below zero in some parts of the nation – meaning that staying warm has become harder than ever for many Americans.

“Sequestration cuts are not just words,” said Barbara J. Easterling, President of the Alliance.  “They affect real people in real ways. That is why the sequestration cuts to services need to be repealed altogether, rather than reduced and repackaged, as Congress has done so far.”

Tell AT&T Corporation to Respect Retirees
AT&T retirees were surprised when the company recently sent information related to open enrollment for the retiree medical benefits.  Retirees under the age of 65, who are not eligible for Medicare, saw premium increases of hundreds of dollars a month for coverage under the standard PPO plan.  Retirees on Medicare saw a jump in premiums of about 500% for supplemental insurance. CWA and the Alliance believe that the company should have done more for retirees, as AT&T enjoys healthy profits and significant dividends for shareholders. “Corporate executives should do more to assure that former employees who built the company have quality, affordable health care, and don’t flounder in unilateral, drastic and unprecedented increases,” said Richard Fiesta, Executive Director of the Alliance.

Some in the company told retirees that the reason for the extraordinary increases is the Affordable Care Act.  Nothing could be further than the truth.  In fact, there are two provisions of the Affordable Care Act that would impact AT&T’s retiree health plan.  First, it improves Medicare by including full coverage of preventive care and recapturing overpayments to Medicare Advantage plans.  Second, the Early Retiree Reinsurance Program set aside funds for employers who offer retiree health benefits, rebating $213.8 million to AT&T between 2011 and 2012 to offset the cost of claims from early retirees. Both these provisions eased the company’s cost burden, but AT&T has chosen not to share that cost relief with retirees.

In 2012, AT&T's CEO Randall Stephenson earned $22.23 million, 642 times the average worker's pay ($34,645). Please take action and tell him that passing down increases to the tune of 500% in monthly premiums for supplemental health care is uncalled for. Send him an email by using this link: [http://bit.ly/1cKhZ3m] or send him a letter: Randall L. Stephenson / Chairman, Chief Executive Officer / AT&T Corporation / 208 South Akard Street / Dallas, Texas 75202-4206.

Extension of Federal Benefits for the Long-term Unemployed Clears One Hurdle
The Democratic effort to extend federal benefits for the long-term unemployed got a surprise boost on Tuesday, as the Senate voted to allow the proposal to advance. The bill would reinstate for three months unemployment benefits that expired Dec. 28 and affect 1.3 million Americans. Six Republican Senators voted with 54 members of the Democratic caucus to approve a motion allowing the measure to move ahead, but Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) will need to clear a second 60-vote hurdle to bring it to a final vote. Of the six Republicans— Susan Collins (ME), Rob Portman (OH), Dean Heller (NV), Kelly Ayotte (NH), Dan Coats (IN) and Lisa Murkowski (AK) — five said that that their support is not guaranteed on the final bill. For a tally of the Tuesday vote, go to http://tinyurl.com/msocyzb.

The measure faces not only big hurdles in the Senate, but also longer odds of passing the House. Senate Democrats made another offer on Thursday, to extend jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed through mid-November. Republicans, however, did not leap to embrace it. More unemployed Americans will lose their benefits as the year progresses and they surpass their states’ normal timelines.

Tuesday’s procedural vote in the Senate came as the two parties jockeyed over the political issue of rising income inequality, with Democrats pushing more aid for the jobless and an increased minimum wage. The crux of the negotiations is the GOP demand for offsetting savings from other portions of the budget. According to The Washington Post, GOP leaders are increasingly concerned about public perceptions that they are insensitive to those who are still struggling in the slow economic recovery. More at http://tinyurl.com/lya6wc2.

“Wednesday marked the 50th anniversary of the beginning of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s War on Poverty,” said Ruben Burks, Secretary-Treasurer of the Alliance. “Perhaps the anniversary is the reminder some elected officials need that the war has not yet been won.”

Come to the Alliance’s Convention, April 28 – May 1, 2014, at Bally's Hotel Las Vegas
Join us in Las Vegas as we sharpen our organizing and communication skills for the 2014 elections and beyond! We will elect national officers and also Community Board members. Questions? Contact Joni Jones at jjones@retiredamericans.org or 202-637-5377. Ready to register? Download a registration form at http://tinyurl.com/nqnz97a  or register on-line at http://tinyurl.com/prl8box.

National Academy of Social Insurance Conference Begins January 29 in DC
The National Academy of Social Insurance is hosting a conference, “Strengthening the Web of Financial and Retirement Security for Today's Working Americans,” January 29-30 in Washington, DC. For more information or to register, go to http://tinyurl.com/n37nbkt.

Obituary: Donna McGrath
Donna McGrath, who was President of the Nebraska Alliance for Retired Americans, died in Omaha on Saturday at the age of 83. Ms. McGrath was the first president of the Nebraska chapter of the Alliance. “The Nebraska AFL-CIO inducted her into their Hall of Fame,” said Mr. Fiesta. “We are thankful for her major contributions to the Nebraska Alliance in getting it off the ground and running, and we will all miss her greatly.”

For a printable version of this document, go to http://bit.ly/1irDvwc.

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Call Your Senators Today

If you haven’t phoned or contacted your U.S. Senators about the need to extend unemployment compensation for those who haven’t been able to find employment, this morning is the time to do it.

Senate Democrats, this morning, at 10 am, will try to continue debating this important legislation. They will need 60 votes.

If you want a good example of how far the right wing will go to cause human pain, misery, suffering or  death, just watch them on C-span.

Their argument is expected to be something like “oh, we want to help those people who haven’t been able to find a job, but we have to pay for it first.” This is a pretty weak argument because they were willing to shut down down the government a month or so ago, and the cost of that fiasco is estimated to have cost $24 billion.

One phone number that you can always rely on to contact your congressperson or Senators is the Senior Flash Hotline at 800-998-0180.