September 2015 Newsletter

September 2015 Newsletter


Summer is upon us and the board and I wish each of you the best for vacation and those precious times with family. We have been busy. We visited affiliates this spring and made 8 lobby visits to our political representatives. Our convention was an interesting opportunity to hear from North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper, who told us of his vision for the future of North Carolina as well as his view of our state’s current situation. MaryBe McMillan, Secretary-Treasurer of the NC AFL-CIO, spoke of the importance of showing up and organizing as well as the harm the General Assembly and the governor have done to seniors and retirees.

Our efforts to become financially independent have been moderately successful. Our spring efforts, which include the golf outing and a major raffle, raised close to $5,000.

In order to become a more effective advocate for seniors and retirees, we must enhance our financial footing.  My fellow officers and I, as well as the board, recognize how important this is and are working on ways to get it done.

I’m optimistic about the future of NCARA and I thank the entire membership for your support and confidence in reelecting me and treasurer Judy Coggins and Secretary Mary Montford.

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“FastTrack” and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)

“Fast Track” and the Trans-Pacific Partnership

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is an international trade deal involving negotiations among twelve nations

–the United States, Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore,

And Vietnam. The US administration wants “Fast Track “authority, which means that the Executive Branch can

Negotiate, out of the public eye, trade agreements which will be sent to Congress, which may vote only “yea” or “nay, “with no amendments or debate allowed! This is a dangerous proposition, to have no public comment on a deal that will affect millions of American workers and no Congressional hearings or debate on an issue of this magnitude.

When did the idea of a TPP actually begin, and how have other trade deals worked for the United States?  A proposed agreement began in 2005 as the Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement (TPSEP), but such contentious issues as agriculture, intellectual property, and debates concerning services and investments have caused the agreement to stall for ten years. Now with the possibility of fast tracking, labor organizations and other worker-related groups are pointing to what has happened in the past with international trade deals that were supposed to be for the benefit of the U.S. but did not live up to the hype.  Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts has been one of the major voices opposed to the TPP, citing previous deals that have resulted in the loss of millions of American jobs.  For example, she notes that NAFTA, CAFTA, KFTA (Korea Free Trade Agreement), and other trade pacts have been responsible not only for the loss of about six million jobs in the U.S.–among them 3.2 million alone lost due to trade with China, 60,000 lost to Korea, and 70,000 lost to Mexico–but that supporters of past agreements have said that the deals promised strong protections for workers; however, despite the promises, “these trade deals were just another tool to tilt the playing field in favor of multinational corporations and against working families.”

She said in an interview, “This deal would give protections to international corporations that are not available to United States environmental and labor groups.  Multinational corporations are increasingly realizing this is an opportunity to gut U.S. regulations they don’t like. They could make more money if they could beat down

Those regulations,” a reference to the part of the TPP agreement called the Investor-State Dispute Settlement process, which allows corporations to sue national governments in international forums to win settlements which cannot be appealed to a higher authority.

We as advocates of decent wages and working conditions for all workers, no matter where they live, cannot support a policy that does not strengthen labor and human rights, does not protect the U.S. from unsafe imports, and is not negotiated publicly. We realize that we must create good, solid markets and foster clean, safe working conditions in all places affected by a trade agreement, and we want future trade deals to create this standard for international trade which will prioritize raising wages and shared prosperity and put human

Beings before corporate profits. We are ready to stand with the President in negotiating not necessarily “free trade” but, more importantly, “fair trade” in the global economy.  We must not make the same mistakes we made in the past, which did not benefit the American worker but rather benefitted the corporate giants of the world.

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Expand state’s Medicaid, group in Greensboro implores McCroryA service is needed to view this article.

NCARA President, Bill Dworkin, spoke at the July 16th Medicaid Expansion Press Conference in GREENSBORO.  The gathering of 100 people at the Beloved Community Center was 1 of 6 events held from Greenville to Asheville calling on Governor McCrory to deliver a Medicaid Expansion plan.

According to NC Child reports that 27% of North Carolinians expect to benefit if the state expands Medicaid eligibility for families with children at home.  Dworkin states that “over 500,000 North Carolinians will benefit from Medicaid Expansion.”