iMail for Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Alliance Demands Congress Override Bush Medicare Veto

President Bush today sparked outrage among retired Americans and working families after he vetoed Medicare legislation that would have expanded health care coverage for low-income seniors by stopping cuts in Medicare payments to doctors who care for the elderly.

The ‘Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act’, which halts a 10.6 percent cut in Medicare fees to physicians, is opposed by the Bush administration and many Republican lawmakers because it scales back subsidies to private Medicare Advantage providers.

“Through his misguided veto of the Medicare bill, President Bush is once again reflexively siding with the special interests of the big insurance companies, rather than with seniors struggling to afford quality health care,” said George J. Kourpias, President of the Alliance for Retired Americans and former IAM International President.

The House and Senate, who both passed the legislation by veto-proof margins, are expected to take immediate action to override the veto. Last week’s 69-30 Senate vote was marked by the return of Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-MA), whose presence helped Senate Democrats secure a veto-proof majority.

“This veto would prompt an exodus of physicians from treating Medicare patients and make it even harder for low-income seniors to afford their medical care – all in the name of preserving the excessive taxpayer subsidies to the Medicare Advantage programs run by large insurance companies,” continued Kourpias. “Grassroots activists with the Alliance for Retired Americans will demand that Congress acts quickly to override today’s veto.”

Greenhouse’s “The Big Squeeze” Examines Abuse of American Workers

“The Big Squeeze” by Steven Greenhouse is an almanac of abuses that confront American workers today. And it deserves as wide a readership within the American labor movement as can be generated.

Readers will not agree with every assertion made by Steve Greenhouse, the labor reporter for the New York Times. Nor will they support every conclusion reached in his book. And many readers will take issue with the policies he advocates in the final chapters.

But Greenhouse respectfully describes the challenges facing a broad range of workers by telling extremely compelling stories about individual workers. He explains why and how those challenges arose and documents them in a way that provided useful data points for his readers.

“The Big Squeeze” neither demonizes nor humanizes those whose policies become the abuses Greenhouse chronicles. Nor does the author applaud those who lead the fights to curb those abuses. This is a “balanced” book, a resource for those who care about American workers.

District 6 delivers for Local 1238 member

IAM District Lodge 6 in Des Moines, Iowa recently delivered a big victory for Local Lodge 1238 member John Ziemet, on right in photo, winning an $18,000 settlement for the 34-year member.

The Union filed a grievance and an Unfair Labor Practice against his employer, Kruse Warthan Auto Plaza, after Ziemet was unjustifiably terminated. During the investigation the employer realized that they had unjustly terminated Mr. Ziemet.

District 6 Business Representative Wayne Laufenberg, on left in photo, negotiated an $18,000.00 settlement for Ziemet. “It does pay to belong to the Union. It also pays to have good contract language like the ‘just cause’ provisions our members enjoy,” said Laufenberg.

EFCA Mobilization Gaining Momentum

Momentum for the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) continues to grow, with nearly 300,000 working Americans already signing postcards pressuring the new President and Congress to immediately pass the worker-friendly legislation.

The push for EFCA is part of the AFL-CIO’s Million Member Mobilization to get one million signatures supporting the legislation. The cards will be presented to the new Congress after the November elections in a ceremony at the U.S. Capitol.

The Employee Free Choice Act would enable workers to bargain for better wages, benefits and working conditions by strengthening their rights to form unions. After passing in the House of Representatives last year, Senate Republicans blocked a vote on the Employee Free Choice Act.

Click here to sign the petition supporting EFCA.