The November 3 deadline for raising the federal debt limit is fast approaching, bringing with it the risk of a U.S. credit default if Congress fails to act. Democrats in Congress have drawn an early line in the sand, saying they will reject any effort by Republicans to cut earned Social Security and Medicare benefits as part of this fall's budget talks, according to Politico and a source familiar with the discussions. This means that Republican leaders in the U.S. House will likely have to rely on Democratic votes to increase the debt limit without any policy concessions.
After five years of secret negotiations, representatives from 12 countries came to an agreement on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) on Monday. If implemented, the deal would allow drug companies to lock in patent protections on critical medications for seniors, making it more difficult to get generics on the market. It could also open drug subsidy programs under Medicare and Medicaid to challenges in secret international tribunals. The Alliance has already begun focusing on plans to stop the TPP, including passing resolutions at the local level; preparing activists for the fight ahead; and educating members on the issue.
10/07/2015 - The APWU and USPS agreed to extend the 50-mile limit on excessing in a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) dated Sept. 28, signed by APWU President Mark Dimondstein and the USPS Vice President for Labor Relations. The original MOU, Minimizing Excessing, which was slated to expire with the 2010 contract, is extended until May 20, 2018, or for the term of the next Collective Bargaining Agreement, whichever is later.
“Excessing beyond 50 miles is devastating to our members and their families,” said APWU President Mark Dimondstein. “In the past, union members were frequently reassigned to facilities hundreds of miles from their homes. This MOU will prevent that. I consider it a significant accomplishment for APWU members in every craft.”
International trade ministers met this week in Atlanta and the Wall Street Journal reported that they continue to be divided over provisions related to prescription drugs and how long companies will be able to keep lower-cost generics off the market. Americans already pay the highest prices in the industrialized world for prescription drugs and if the TPP is passed the Alliance and other senior and consumer groups are deeply concerned that the situation will be worse.
“The Alliance team is closely monitoring this issue, and will take appropriate action to ensure that Alliance members’ voices are heard, as should anyone who relies on Medicare or prescription drugs,” said Robert Roach, Jr., President of the Alliance. “We know that free trade deals, especially when they’ve been negotiated in secret, often end up being a bad deal for older Americans and working people.”
09/04/2015 - Happy Labor Day to all Alliance members! The Social Security Administration's (SSA’s) new Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) issue paper and state fact sheets show how this vital safety net is protecting workers and their families in every community across America.
Released to coincide with Labor Day, the documents focus attention on disability protections that workers earn through payroll taxes. The average person receiving SSDI payments today paid into the system for 22 years before becoming disabled.
While still talking about the need to “save” Social Security by cutting benefits to retirees, this cycle’s crop of GOP Presidential candidates have been silent on whether they’d support a plan to privatize Social Security. In 2005, Democrats defeated a proposal by President Bush to allow individuals to invest in private accounts in lieu of Social Security – an idea which would have exposed decades of earned benefits to the volatility of the stock market while depleting the trust fund at a faster rate.
08/21/2015 - This week, Republican presidential candidate and Wisconsin GovernorScott Walker released a plan to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Sen. Marco Rubio (FL), who is also running for president, spoke about his own plans for the ACA. While light on specifics, Walker’s plan promises to turn Medicaid into a block grant program run by the states, potentially cutting health care for millions of seniors. Furthermore, many of the essential guarantees under the ACA, such as mandated coverage of preventive care and protections for those with pre-existing conditions who don’t have continuous health care coverage, would disappear.
08/17/2015 - For Employees Covered by the National Agreement
In June 2015 the CPI-W unadjusted Index (1967=100) rose to 696.431 after falling for five of the last nine months. No additional COLAs are due under the 2010 National Agreement. Future COLAs will depend upon the terms of a successor collective bargaining agreement.
08/14/2015 - Members of the Alliance are hosting more than 40 events today, August 14th, to celebrate and educate the public about the importance of protecting and expanding Social Security on its 80th birthday.
Together with Medicare’s 50th birthday events held in July, as well as Social Security anniversary celebrations held recently or on the horizon, the Alliance is holding more than 150 events in July and August to mark the two anniversaries. The Alliance is working with Social Security Works, a partner organization, to release new reports showing how important Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are to seniors in all 50 states: http://www.socialsecurityworks.org/resources/state-reports