Category Archives: Retirement Security

SAVE ACT

Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren is a sponsor of S. 2251, known as the SAVE Benefits Act, which would provide seniors and veterans a one-time payment this year of $581 to make up for not getting any increase in Social Security and veterans benefits. The criterion for determining the percentage increase, or lack of increase, is whether there is an increase in the cost of living (COLA—cost of living allowance), and the lower cost of gasoline was a huge factor in determining that there was a zero percentage increase in the cost of living. However, senior citizens generally do not drive as much as those who still work full time, so the lack of an increase has caused undue hardship on this group. How would the one-time payment be funded? Senator Warren and others who are demanding that Mitch McConnell bring this bill to a vote say that the cost would be paid for by closing a loophole that allows corporations to write off their bonuses to CEOs as a “business expense.

Southern Piedmont Retiree Meeting

IMPORTANT INFORMATION: PLEASE READ CAREFULLY

TO:               Southern Piedmont Retiree Club Members & Guests

FROM:          Bill Dworkin, President of the North Carolina Alliance for Retired Americans & Shirley Jackson, President of the Southern Piedmont Retiree Club

SUBJECT:      Invitation to meeting of the Southern Piedmont Retiree Club

DATE:           February 18, 2016

Dear Friend,

The Southern Piedmont Retiree Club would like to invite you to attend their February 18th meeting. The meeting is scheduled for February 18, 2016 starting at 11am. The meeting will be held at the IBEW Local 379, 1900 Cross Beam Drive, Charlotte, NC 28217.

A long-term goal of the Southern Piedmont Retiree Club is to become the voice for all retirees by engaging in important battles to protect and preserve programs vital to the health and economic security of older Americans. There is no cost to attend the meeting and refreshments will be available. Please come to the meeting with ideas of how to grow the Club in 2016, speakers of interest to you and any trips that you would be interested in. Please R.S.V.P. to Heather McLaughlin (heathermclaughlin43@gmail.com), 919-522-8996, as soon as possible.

Also, please feel free to bring any one else that is interested in protecting the economic security of themselves and their future generations. Guests can be union or non-union.

Sincerely,

Bill Dworkin, President

North Carolina Alliance for Retired Americans

Shirley Jackson, President

Southern Piedmont Retiree Club

 

Triangle At Large Meeting

TO: Triangle at Large Retiree Club members & guests

FROM: Mike Gravinese, President, Triangle at Large Retiree Club

SUBJECT: Invitation to meeting of the Triangle at Large Retiree Club

DATE: November 23, 2015
Dear Friend,

We would like to invite you to attend the December meeting of the Triangle at Large Retiree Club. The meeting is scheduled for December 2nd starting at 10am. The meeting will be held at 1408 Hillsborough Street, Raleigh, NC 27601.

A long-term goal of the Triangle at Large Retiree Club is to become the voice for all retirees by engaging in important political battles to protect and preserve programs vital to the health and economic security of older Americans. There is no cost to attend the meeting and refreshments will be available. Please R.S.V.P. to Heather McLaughlin (heathermclaughlin43@gmail.com), 919-522-8996, as soon as possible.

Also, please feel free to bring any one else that is interested in protecting the economic security of themselves and their future generations.

Sincerely,

Mike Gravinese, President
Triangle at Large Retiree Club

President

September 2015 Newsletter

PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE

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.”

$250 Payment to Social Security Recipients Voted Down By Senate

 

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) lost a bid on Wednesday to boost the income of millions of Social Security recipients and offset the elimination of the Social Security Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) for 2010.  His amendment calling for $13 billion to fund a one-time, $250 payment to seniors, veterans, and the disabled needed 60 votes to pass, but failed 47-50.  For a tally of the vote, go to http://bit.ly/bTH5iG.  The amendment was to be attached to legislation that would extend jobless benefits and COBRA health care subsidies.  There will be no COLA this year due to low inflation.  Edward F. Coyle, Executive Director of the Alliance, said, “The purchasing needs of seniors are unique, and often include medications needed to stay alive.  We insist that the Senate realize the importance of this $250 payment to struggling retirees.”  Sen. Sanders also said that the fight for the measure, which President Obama included in his budget, would continue.

Obama Calls for Reconciliation in Order to Pass Health Care Reform Quickly
In a health care speech by Barack Obama on Wednesday, the President called for an “up or down vote” that would leave Republicans unable to kill the bill through a filibuster.  The current Democratic plan is to have the House vote to approve the already-passed Senate bill, plus fixes, then have the Senate pass these fixes through reconciliation.  Under this scenario, only a simple majority in the Senate, rather than a super-majority of 60 votes, would be needed to pass health reform.  The President stated that he wants action within a few weeks, echoing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) call for an informal deadline of March 18.  Despite Republican criticism that a decision to bar the filibuster would be “met with outrage” by the public, Democrats shot back with claims that the same rules had been used five times during George W. Bush’s administration.  The Obama White House is still working to include bipartisan measures, and announced that they were exploring GOP proposals that include additional crackdowns on fraudulent medical charges and new rules for medical malpractice suits.  “We can’t just quit,” said Ruben Burks, Secretary-Treasurer of the Alliance.  “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to fix a health care system that is not benefiting millions of Americans, including many seniors.”

Alan Simpson Strikes at Seniors, Social Security, and Medicare
Former U.S. Sen. Alan Simpson sat down with the CNBC television network last week to discuss his post as co-chair of the President’s Fiscal Commission on the national debt.  Throughout the conversation, he leveled several attacks against seniors and senior advocacy organizations, accusing them of not caring “a whit about their grandchildren

President’s Budget Includes $250 Stimulus Payment for Social Security Recipients


President Obama’s Fiscal Year 2011 budget proposes a $250 payment to Social Security recipients.  The relief would come at a time when Social Security beneficiaries will not be receiving a normal cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) because of a formula that forbids adjustments during times of negative inflation.  “Without a COLA, far too many of America’s seniors will find it even more difficult to purchase basic necessities, heat their homes and pay for their medications,” said Barbara J. Easterling, President of the Alliance.  “We urge Congress to similarly work to provide much-needed economic relief to older Americans who are struggling to make ends meet during these difficult times,” she continued.  “The President’s budget proposal will provide Social Security beneficiaries with the equivalent of a 2% increase in benefits and will help greatly to bolster their financial security.”

As expected, the budget also calls for a Bipartisan Fiscal Commission that will address the growth of entitlement spending, including Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.  A plan to freeze non-security discretionary spending for three years to address the budget deficit would not affect those programs.  “We must watch this fiscal commission development carefully, so that the budget is not balanced on the backs of seniors,” said Edward F. Coyle, Executive Director of the Alliance. Other items in the budget are aimed at supporting seniors.  These include $3.3 billion for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP); funds to reduce Social Security backlogs; and money to help families care for aging relatives at home.  Retirement security initiatives include establishing automatic workplace IRAs, with employees being able to “opt-out” if they choose; doubling the credit for small employers starting a retirement plan; and providing a 50-percent match on the retirement savings of families that earn less than $85,000.

Recharging Health Care Reform
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), and President Obama all took steps this past week towards a revival of the floundering health care reform initiative.  Pelosi announced her plan to schedule a vote next week on a smaller bill, which would focus on a fifty-year-old exemption of health insurance companies from anti-trust laws. This vote is an integral part of her strategy to tackle items that would not normally be included in a more expansive bill.  This smaller bill would bear similarities to a section of the House health care bill which proposed ending the exemption for health and medical malpractice insurers, while granting the government more power to regulate anti-trust laws.  Pelosi’s decision came in the midst of a debate on the use of reconciliation, a procedural maneuver that would allow the Senate to amend and pass the health care bill with only 51 votes.  According to Reid, a reconciliation bill would first have to be approved by the House, where revenue measures must originate.  A vote in the Senate would then follow.  President Obama called on Republicans to support the reform bill.