June 17, 2011
Coyle Stresses Disagreement with AARP Regarding Social Security Benefit Cuts
A story ran in The Wall Street Journal today stating that AARP supports cutting Social Security benefits. “AARP does not speak for all seniors. And on this topic probably not for many of their own members,” said Edward F. Coyle, Executive Director of the Alliance. “There is no ambiguity on where the Alliance for Retired Americans stands on Social Security – never has been, never will be. We are against Social Security benefit cuts for seniors,” he continued. Mr. Coyle made the remarks on a press conference call with reporters. A lengthy conference call with Alliance state presidents and leaders followed, and strategies were discussed for fighting back and dealing with the fallout from the AARP position. The national Alliance vowed to distribute material responding to the news as soon as possible. “This is a very real threat…the horse has left the barn. We need to call our Senators and Representatives right away to express our extreme unhappiness with the prospect of Social Security cuts. We also need to reiterate that AARP does not speak for all seniors on this issue,” added Coyle. Look for a special e-mail later today describing what you can do right away. To see Mr. Coyle’s full statement, go to http://bit.ly/jaGNJX.
Sen. Hutchison Introduces Legislation to Cut Social Security COLA
Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) is introducing legislation that would present an immediate 1% Social Security Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) cut and would raise the retirement age starting in 2016. On Thursday, Sen. Hutchison announced she will introduce legislation to cut the COLA for current beneficiaries, wiping out this year’s COLA and slashing future COLA’s by 36%. Her legislation would also raise the Social Security retirement age to 69; that alone would cut benefits of middle income workers by $2,000-$2,700 each year. Overall, the legislation would result in $2,400-$3,600 per year in TOTAL cuts in future benefits per middle income worker. According to the Social Security Actuary and the office of Rep. Xavier Becerra, (D-CA), the legislation would result in $408-$540 per year in cuts in COLA benefits in future years for current seniors. “We will continue with all our might to fight efforts to balance the budget on the backs of seniors while giving millionaires tax breaks,” said Barbara J. Easterling, President of the Alliance.
SEIU and Walmart Associates Stand Up for Change
Please join SEIU President Mary Kay Henry and the rest of SEIU in registering your voice to improve conditions at Walmart by clicking on http://bit.ly/mQANSr. Momentum is building – both for the Associate-led Organization United for Respect at Walmart (OUR Walmart) – and for Making Change at Walmart, a campaign that stands in solidarity with Associates claiming the respect they deserve. No single employer in America has a larger impact on employment standards than Walmart. If you are someone interested in seeing change happen at Walmart, be sure to “like” the Making Change at Walmart Facebook page at http://on.fb.me/lpHptA and encourage all the Walmart Associates you know to join OUR Walmart at www.ForRespect.org.
Ohio and California Dispel Social Security Myths
Last Thursday, the Ohio Alliance (OARA) spearheaded a “Don’t Make Us Work ‘Til We Die” demonstration and news conference targeting Reps. Patrick Tiberi (R-OH) and Steve Stivers(R-OH) for their votes supporting the Paul Ryan Budget plan. USW retiree and OARA activistBruce Bostick pointed out the irony that Tiberi and Stivers voted to decimate Medicare while preserving tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans and largest multinational corporations. OARA President David Friesner said, “Who can afford an individual private plan now with pre-existing conditions? Our children and grandchildren certainly will not have the savings to cover the ever-rising premiums the House budget proposes.” More here: http://bit.ly/lcLT3d and athttp://bit.ly/lVCgAv.
Yesterday, the Ohio Alliance called together over 150 community members in Toledo for more straight talk on Social Security. The forum, addressed by Ms. Easterling; Virginia Reno, Vice President for Income Security of the National Academy of Social Insurance; and Maria Freese of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, is one of many state forums on Social Security this year.
Last Saturday, the California Alliance had some truth-telling of their own to do at a San Mateo forum. Rep. Jackie Speier (D) of California’s 12th Congressional District shared her own Social Security story, reminding attendees that the program is not just for retirees but also for survivors. When Rep. Speier was widowed in 1994 while pregnant with her second child, Social Security survivor benefits really saved her family. Jodi Reid, Executive Director of CARA, praised Speier for her stalwart support of Social Security and reminded attendees that other politicians like Senator Feinstein (D-CA) have not committed to preserving and strengthening the program. CARA has mobilized mass postcard mailings to Sen. Feinstein on this subject. More here:http://bit.ly/jCJQrx.
Singer Judy Collins to Sing, Speak at Alliance Conference; Scholarships Available
Help us mark our 10-year Anniversary at our upcoming Legislative Conference, Celebrating Our Past, Fighting for Your Future, on September 6 – 9, 2011 in Washington, D.C.! Grammy WinnerJudy Collins will sing and speak at the conference. Ms. Collins is drawn to social activism. She has a special interest in mental health, is a representative for UNICEF, and campaigns on behalf of the abolition of landmines, amongst many other causes. Information and registration forms for the conference have been mailed, or you may register online at http://bit.ly/hQro1V. Any questions, please contact Joni Jones, Event Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-637-5377.
The Alliance has created a Community-Based Scholarship Program to increase access to national conferences and conventions for our community-based members. Scholarships include: Waived conference/convention registration fee; a banquet ticket; and $1,000 to pay for travel to and from the conference/convention, lodging while attending the conference/convention, meals, snacks, local transportation, parking, tips, etc. Scholarship recipients must be individual members in good standing with the national Alliance; community-based members (not a member of a union that has affiliated nationally with the Alliance); and live more than 100 miles away from the conference site (Washington, DC). In total, 10 scholarships will be awarded. Applications must be received by July 15, 2011. For more information, please go to http://bit.ly/keqjT0 andhttp://bit.ly/myRzG2