|IAM Local Lodge 63 member Sam Beekman, right, was diagnosed with ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease, in 2013. He spoke to delegates at the 2015 IAM Retiree Conference about living with a life-threatening disease.|
Retired IAM members don’t just leave the fight to their working brothers and sisters when they call it a career.
Take it from the several hundred delegates of the 2015 IAM Retiree Conference in Las Vegas – they’re engaged in local IAM Retiree Clubs, attend trainings at the Winpisinger Center, volunteer for labor-friendly politicians and raise hell when Washington tries to step on working people.
“Your presence here shows you’re engaged with you union,” said IAM International President Tom Buffenbarger, who will become a retiree himself at year’s end. “Next year I will be sitting here as one of you and I look forward to it.”
The challenges facing the retirees of today, and tomorrow, are immense. Social Security remains under attack, there’s a looming tax increase on middle-class health insurance plans, and, thanks to a Republican Congress, it’s now possible to cut pensions for current retirees.
Former IAM General Secretary-Treasurer Robert Roach, Jr., who now serves as the president of the Alliance for Retired Americans, is fighting alongside IAM retirees on a host of issues.
“We never got the chance to object to the changes in the age limits for Social Security eligibility,” said Roach. “But they’ll have to talk to us in the future, because we are going to fight to protect your retirement security.”
Speakers, which included U.S. Rep. Dina Titus (D-NV), emphasized the importance of getting out the vote in 2016. The IAM has endorsed former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
“Be prepared to do something to secure your future,” said Buffenbarger. “Use your right to vote and use it for the right reasons.”
Retirees also learned Medicare best practices, tips on doctor’s visits and household safety, how to live with life-threatening diseases and the dangers of prescription drug abuse.