October 04, 2016
Seniors, Community Leaders Rally Outside Rubio’s Office: Don’t Cut Social Security
AFL-CIO President Trumka Joins Alliance for Retired Americans members to Call Out Senator Rubio for Failing To Protect Social Security
TAMPA, FL – A coalition of retirees, community and labor leaders joined forces outside of Senator Marco Rubio’s Tampa office on Tuesday, asking the Senator to pledge to protect Social Security.
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka and Richard Fiesta, the Executive Director of the Alliance for Retired Americans, joined local retirees at a press conference calling on Senator Rubio to expand Social Security.
“We are proud to stand together — shoulder-to-shoulder for retirement security,” said Richard Trumka, the president of the 12.5 million-member American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO), the largest organization of labor unions in the country.
Following the press conference, the Florida Alliance for Retired Americans officers Bill Sauers and Barbara DeVane made a third attempt at getting Senator Marco Rubio to sign a pledge promising to expand, not cut social security. (Full text of pledge below.)
“Marco Rubio’s view that protecting retirees weakens us as a people is appalling,” said Rich Fiesta, the Executive Director of the Alliance for Retired Americans. “We are here to ensure that future generations have the same earned benefits that he and his family members have.”
“Together, the AFL-CIO and the Alliance for Retired Americans are working to protect Social Security and Medicare from politicians like Marco Rubio who want to dismantle our nation’s most successful anti-poverty program for seniors,” Trumka continued. “We’re not going to let anybody – anybody – cut Social Security or wreck Medicare.”
The Florida Alliance for Retired Americans has been crisscrossing the state, asking Rubio to sign a pledge to expand, not cut social security. Social Security is on voters’ minds as corporations have eliminated traditional pensions and workers must depend on the Social Security system to make ends meet.
Toni Van Pelt with the West Pinellas chapter of the National Organization for Women (NOW) spoke about the lack of retirement security for women. “Women are especially vulnerable to financial insecurity during their retirement years. After a lifetime spent working for lower wages than men, often in jobs without pensions or retirement savings accounts, many only have their earned Social Security benefits for support,” said Van Pelt. Nearly thirty percent of female beneficiaries over the age of 65 depend on social security as their only source of income.
Legislation introduced in the U.S. Senate that would “scrap the cap” is one of the solutions the Alliance is promoting. The bill, sponsored by Senator Schatz, would increase benefits, giving seniors a raise and require millionaires and billionaires pay their fair share.
“A dignified retirement for hard working Americans is a right we have fought to assure,” said Fiesta. “We are here to ask senator Rubio: will he stand with us and pledge to protect our earned benefits, or will he stand against us?”
“Marco Rubio has a zero percent voting record on retiree issues,” said FLARA President Bill Sauers, “and refusing to sign this pledge to sends a clear message about whose side he is on.”
The full text of the “Pledge To Protect Social Security” reads:
“More than 58 million Americans rely on Social Security checks earned through a lifetime of work. More than a retirement program, Social Security provides life insurance benefits to young survivors of deceased workers and disability insurance protection for workers and their families.
“I pledge to oppose every effort to privatize, cut benefits or raise the retirement age. I also pledge to expand Social Security so that every American can retire with dignity and respect.”