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Even After 50 Years Of Success, Politicians Are Still Trying To Destroy Medicare

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President Johnson signs Medicare into law. Image by the LBJ Library

Today, we celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Medicare, a critical lifeline for America’s seniors that is working. And thanks to the Affordable Care Act, that program will be solvent through 2030.

“Fourteen percent of Americans are over the age of 65. Thanks to Medicare, they have a high quality of life in retirement without sacrificing their standard of living or burdening their loved ones with medical bills,” said Richard Fiesta, executive director of the Alliance for Retired Americans. “Medicare is a success story. It’s improved and strengthened families, the U.S. health care system and the lives of older Americans and the disabled. We’re encouraging our retiree members to speak out to make sure that it is preserved for future generations.”

“Current and future retirees must be wary of those politicians who are seeking radical changes that would make it harder for seniors and disabled Americans to see a doctor or fill a prescription,” said Fiesta. “Telling our stories about the difference Medicare has made in families’ lives is important.”

But, just last week, we had a new reminder that Medicare, despite it’s success, is under attack by Republicans. Here in New Hampshire, Jeb Bush admitted that he wanted to “phase out” Medicare for future seniors. He even doubled down on his position after being challenged by a frustrated senior in Gorham (video here).

Jane Lang, Vice President of the NH Alliance for Retired Americans confronted Jeb Bush at a town hall meeting in Gorham, NH shortly after he announced his plans to “phase out Medicare.”

After the event, Lang and the NH Alliance for Retired Americans posted a statement:

“Medicare was created 50 years ago this month to ensure that older Americans, who are most in need of health care services, would not have to choose between a hospital stay and keeping a roof over their head.”

“Since then, all Americans have contributed to Medicare with the assumption that it would be there for them when they reached retirement age.”

“We will fight against any attempt to take away our earned health care benefits and make sure that older Americans know who is on our side, and who is not.”

Jeb Bush isn’t the only Republican that wants to end Medicare as we know it. Several, including Kelly Ayotte, tried to pass the Ryan budget, which would end the program as we know it, while at the same time increasing out-of-pocket costs for seniors.

Ayotte has voted three times for the Ryan Budget that would turn Medicare into a voucher program, which could rob over 450,000 seniors and soon-to-be seniors across New Hampshire of the benefits they’ve rightfully earned. [Vote 46, 3/21/13; Vote 98, 5/16/12; Vote 77, 5/25/11]

Every GOP presidential candidate wants to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which has helped to strengthen Medicare’s solvency for the future, while also saving seniors billions in prescription drug costs.

“As we celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Medicare as a successful program that hundreds of thousands of Granite Staters rely on for health care, it’s important to see what the Republican nominees for President have in store. Jeb Bush’s comments last week just adds another chapter to the long book of Republicans trying to destroy Medicare or turn it over to corporations. Nearly the entire Republican field supported Paul Ryan’s efforts to end Medicare as we know it. New Hampshire simply can’t afford Jeb Bush’s ideas to phase out Medicare,” said New Hampshire Democratic Party Chair Ray Buckley.

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Stand Up for Workers at Voters First Forum

Pro-Worker Visibility at NH Voters First Forum

This coming Monday, August 3rd, the New Hampshire Union Leader will be hosting the first Republican Primary (debate) Forum.  All the major players in the GOP Primary are scheduled to attend including Governor Scott Walker, Governor John Kasich, Governor Chris Christie, Senator Rand Paul, Governor Jeb Bush, and the list goes on.  Reportedly there could be as many as 16 candidates on the stage for this forum on Aug. 3rd, just days before the big official Fox News debate.

We want to show that in New Hampshire, workers matter! Many of these politicians are trying to make their career by attacking working families.  Slashing our rights, stealing our pensions, and gutting the programs we have paid into all of our lives.

Come join us for a pro-worker visibility and tell the world that attacking working families is not the road to the White House.

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New Hampshire AFL-CIO members and community allies will join the gathering of pro-labor & progressive voices outside the New Hampshire Union Leader Voters First Forum at St. Anselm College on Monday, August 3. The forum will feature comments by 14 GOP presidential primary candidates, including anti-worker Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker.

Monday, August 3, 2015 | 5:30pm

St. Anselm College, Manchester NH

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Seniors Group Speaks Out Against Jeb Bush’s Plan To Gut Medicare

Alliance For Retired Americans

Statement of Jane Lange, Vice President of the New Hampshire Alliance for Retired Americans regarding Jeb Bush Plan to Gut Medicare

 

“Jeb Bush has declared war on seniors.

“By going after their earned Medicare benefits, he is putting our health and economic well-being at risk.

“Medicare was created 50 years ago this month to ensure that older Americans, who are most in need of health care services, would not have to choose between a hospital stay and keeping a roof over their head.

“Since then, all Americans have contributed to Medicare with the assumption that it would be there for them when they reached retirement age.

“We will fight against any attempt to take away our earned health care benefits and make sure that older Americans know who is on our side, and who is not.”

NH Labor Leaders Speak Out Against Jeb Bush’s Outrageous Comments About Working Longer Hours

NH AFL-CIO President Glenn Brackett on Jeb Bush’s economy:
“A disaster for anyone not named Bush”
 

On July 8th, Jeb Bush made national headlines and nearly blew up Facebook with his comments that “people should work longer hours.”

(Read the full NH Labor News coverage here.)

Today, Glenn Brackett the newly elected President of the NH AFL-CIO talked with reporters about how outrageous Jeb’s comments were to real working families.

Glenn Brackett, New Hampshire AFL-CIO President said:

“This comment makes it as clear as day – Jeb Bush won’t stand up and fight for the middle class as president. He would continue to do things the way he’s always done them – he would put himself and people like him over everyday Americans… Gov. Bush is trying to explain his policy ideas away, saying that we need to cut back on part-time workers and blaming the Obama administration’s policies. But he’s leaving out key points here. That surge in part-time work? Well, that was caused by his brother’s recession. Right now we are adding more full-time jobs than part-time jobs in this economy And we’ve had a record-setting 64 straight months of private sector job growth under President Obama.

Now that we have that straightened out, let’s talk about what Bush – and the rest of the Republican presidential candidates are NOT proposing. Raising the minimum wage. Giving assurances that women are paid as equally as men for the long hours they already works. Protecting workers’ rights and safeguarding the retirement age for future seniors who have put in their fair share of long hours…

If Jeb Bush keeps this up, it won’t be hard for hard-working Granite State families to see that trusting another Bush with the American economy would be a disaster for anyone not named Bush.”

Jeb Bush was born with the silver spoon in his mouth and obviously does not understand what life is like for real working families.  Karen Ladd, high school teacher and member of NEA-NH State Executive Board explained how even having a full time job working as an education professional is not always enough.  

“I wanted to speak today because the first time I heard Jeb Bush’s comments this week, I actually laughed out loud. I laughed out of disbelief that someone running to be the leader of our country could say something so unbelievable. Something so far removed from the average person… I love my job, but Bush’s comment that workers should work more hours is just out of touch with the reality of everyday people like me…I know many teachers that have part-time jobs in addition to their teaching jobs because they aren’t paid enough as teachers to support their families. And the data backs me up on this. Americans work more hours than anyone else in the industrialized world… 

But beyond what Bush said, it’s what he’s not saying that makes it even worse. Bush’s economic plan seems to demand that the middle and working class work longer hours, while refusing to do anything to help them get ahead. He’s not supporting a federal minimum wage or championing paycheck fairness for women.”

Jeb Bush’s comments were offensive to working families.  Jeb opposes raising the minimum wage at the same time he is pushing to raise the retirement age before receiving Social Security benefits.  It is policies like this that have hurt our economy over the last thirty years and definitely the wrong direction for working families.

Brackett to be sworn in as new NH AFL-CIO President

Glenn Brackett NH AFLCIO

Concord – Glenn Brackett will be sworn in today as the new President of the NH AFL-CIO. The former Business Manager of IBEW Local 2320 was elected to a 4-year term, succeeding long-time President Mark Mackenzie. The NH AFL-CIO is the largest labor federation in New Hampshire, representing more than 26,000 workers in both the public and private sectors from more than 40 unions.

Brackett issued the following statement:

“I am very proud to take the reins of this great organization. Former President Mackenzie has done more than anyone I know to advance the cause of working men and women here in New Hampshire, and I look forward to carrying forward his legacy of progress and steadfast leadership.

Working men and women in the Granite State deserve leaders that will fight hard for their best interests in Concord and in Washington, DC. They deserve a President who will work with our allies to advance the cause of working people, but who will never back down from a fight when big corporations and politicians put profits ahead of people. And most importantly, they deserve an AFL-CIO that listens to its members and to workers across this great state, and that makes sure everyone’s voice is heard. Those are the values that I’m committed to upholding as President.”

Glenn is the outgoing Business Manager of IBEW Local 2320, where he recently led more than 600 local workers in a successful 130-day strike to secure a landmark agreement with FairPoint Communications, winning major compromises that benefited workers’ health, safety, and security. Glenn is a 1976 graduate of Gorham High School, and currently lives in Northwood with his family.

Statement of Outgoing President Mark MacKenzie on New Hampshire AFL-CIO Leadership Transition

A staple of organized labor in New Hampshire will be leaving office in the very near future.  The National AFL-CIO over-ruled the findings of the state federation Election Board and declared IBEW 2320 Business Manager Glenn Brackett as the newly-elected President of the New Hampshire AFL-CIO.

 Outgoing President Mark MacKenzie issued the following statement:

“I called Glenn to congratulate him, and wish him all the best. I am deeply grateful for the many opportunities I have had to stand side by side with New Hampshire’s working men and women in my 25 years of service as President of the New Hampshire AFL-CIO,” said President MacKenzie. “Because of our work, New Hampshire workers have safer workplaces, fairer pay, and stronger protections when they get injured on the job. Because of our work, New Hampshire remains free of deceptive “Right to Work” laws that hurt working families and destroy middle class jobs.”

MacKenzie added: “Leading the New Hampshire AFL-CIO has been a wonderful experience, and I want to thank all the people who have assisted and supported me along the way. I am tremendously proud of everything we accomplished during my time with the New Hampshire AFL-CIO, and of all workers and leaders who contributed to our victories and who kept fighting when we faced setbacks and renewed attacks on workers’ rights.”

“Our work goes on, and so does my 41 year commitment to the labor movement. I look forward finding new ways to engage.”

Mark S. MacKenzie has served as President of New Hampshire’s 26,000-member AFL-CIO since 1989, leading the state’s labor movement in both legislative and public arenas. Prior to his years of service with New Hampshire AFL-CIO, Mark served for 25 years as a professional firefighter for the City of Manchester, obtaining the rank of Captain. His last day in office is June 30.

Like many of us, labor is in Mark’s DNA.  Even though he will not be leading the NH AFL-CIO officially, there is no doubt that Mark will still continue to be the strong advocate for working families he has always been.

 

 

New Hampshire Alliance for Retired Americans Endorses Mann for State Representative

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The New Hampshire Alliance for Retired Americans has chosen to endorse Maureen Mann in the May 19 special election for State Representative in Rockingham District 32. Our mission statement states that we “strive for social and economic justice, and civil rights for all citizens to enjoy lives with dignity, personal and family fulfillment, and security. The Alliance believes that all older and retired persons have a responsibility to strive to create a society that incorporates these goals and rights and that retirement provides them with opportunities to pursue new and expanded activities with their unions, civic organizations and their communities.” 

As we have noted in our letter of endorsement to Ms. Mann, she epitomizes the values that we hold dear.

The New Hampshire Alliance for Retired Americans, representing more than 13,000 retirees, older Americans, and community activists throughout our great state of New Hampshire, endorses your candidacy for State Representative for Rockingham District 32, the towns of Candia, Deerfield, Northwood and Nottingham.

Your positions demonstrate a strong commitment to improve the quality of life for all New Hampshire citizens.  Your proven track record in the New Hampshire House and your unwavering dedication to economic and social justice have earned you the respect of your neighbors, constituents and our organization. 

We thank you for co-sponsoring HB 1555 during the 2014 legislative session.  This bill provides protection for seniors, disabled and impaired adults, making it a crime punishable by imprisonment to exploit them in any financial manner.   Your continued advocacy, leadership and ability to work across the aisle in the New Hampshire State House will ensure that quality of life programs will be around for current and future generations.  Your involvement in your community, including cooking and serving meals to Deerfield seniors, being a library trustee and helping to start The Forum, a newspaper that has for 10 years provided local news to the four towns in Rockingham 32, has helped to make this area a better place to live.

In closing, our members support your candidacy because you have proved that you will work to protect the rights of all our citizens and to safeguard our environment. If we can be of assistance, please contact Lucy Edwards, President of New Hampshire Alliance for Retired Americans.  We congratulate you on earning our endorsement.

Lucy Edwards, President                                            Jane Lang, Executive Vice President

Senator Bernie Sanders Rallies The Crowd At The NH AFL-CIO Convention (VIDEO)

Senator Sanders North Conway NH

Here it is the video you have all been waiting for, Senator Bernie Sanders just after announcing he official campaign for President addresses the delegates and friends of the NH AFL-CIO 2015 Convention in North Conway, New Hampshire.

If you already know who Senator Bernie Sanders is, then watch this video and you will fall in love with him all over again.

If you do not know who Senator Bernie Sanders is, then watch this video and see what his vision is for America.

  • A vision where healthcare is a right and everyone has quality healthcare provided to them
  • A vision where our children get a good high quality education and can get a college education without being saddled with hundreds of thousands of dollars in student loan debt.
  • A vsion where a single mother does not need to get food stamps to feed her son even though she already works full time.  Where workers are paid a living wage of $15 an hour minimum.
  • A vision where the government listens to the scientific community and starts to reverse the effects of global warming and leaving our planet better for our children and grandchildren
  • A vision where corporations pay their fair share in taxes and are no longer allowed to hide their profits in offshore accounts to avoid paying taxes.
  • A vision where a secretary does not have to pay a higher rate in her taxes than the CEO of the corporation she works for.
  • A vision where American workers are put first and corporate profits are put second.  Where Americans are buying American made goods.  Where American corporations are investing in the future of America by building new manufacturing facilities here in the USA.

Senator Sanders also spoke at length about the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the disastrous effects that NAFTA and previous trade agreements have had on American workers.

The speech is a little over 30 minutes long, but I promise you will hardly notice once Bernie starts rolling!

(Video Link: https://youtu.be/BNejWoktsOs)

Hundreds Protest Governor Walker At NH GOP Event In Concord

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The people of Wisconsin have known for many years now how Gov. Scott Walker feels about working families and specifically about unions.

“Scott Walker is politics incarnate having spent almost his entire adult life in elective office,” said One Wisconsin Now Deputy Director Mike Browne. “Take it from us here in Wisconsin, he’ll do or say anything to get himself elected. And once he does, he’ll think nothing of turning around and doing the opposite.”

They even tried to warn the good people of the Granite State to beware of Walker’s “Trail of Deceit, Cronyism, Corruption and Incompetence.

“New Hampshire voters are accustomed to vetting Presidential candidates, and we won’t stand for politicians pandering just to get elected,” Zandra Rice Hawkins, Executive Director of Granite State Progress. “While he is here, Walker will be pressed to state his position on major issues of the day and he will be held accountable for his recent actions catering to the delusional fringe of the Republican Party.”

This morning over 350 workers gathered outside of a NH GOP event in New Hampshire today to condemn Scott Walker’s anti-working family agenda and call for an apology following his recent CPAC comments equating working men and women with the terror group, ISIS.

“Today I’m joined by working men and women not only from New Hampshire, but from across our region, who are under attack,” said NH AFL-CIO President Mark MacKenzie. “They are under attack by politicians like Governor Walker who has put his own political and corporate interests ahead of working families. It’s these interests, not working people, who are the central agenda of his campaign for President. We’re calling on Governor Walker to apologize for his comments at C10559966_1411792929127380_6660353811694176751_nPAC comparing working people with the group ISIS. Whether it’s attacking the rights of workers or attacking their patriotism, Governor Walker has shown that he’s not on the side of working families and we know that working families won’t be on his side.”

“I’m a retired letter carrier and Vietnam veteran. I worked for 35 years with the US Postal Service after my time in Vietnam,” said New Hampshire resident Lew Henry. “My service, both overseas and here at home, allowed me to provide for my family and make a good life for myself. It’s a right that all workers should have and that all workers are fighting for. But when Governor Walker said that our fight for worker rights was the same as the terror group ISIS, he went too far. There are millions of former veterans currently working across our country today, and many of them union members. They fought hard to make this country a safer place, and they don’t deserve to be compared to terrorists. Governor Walker should apologize – not only for his un-American comments on ISIS, but for his repeated attempts to silence the voices of workers.”

“We’ve seen what Governor Walker’s priorities are: taking away the voice and rights of workers, degrading workers by comparing us to terrorists, and saying whatever he needs to in order to become President,” said Jeff Bourque, a New Hampshire public school teacher. “The people you see here today have a different agenda – we want a voice in our workplace, we want respect from our so-called leaders, and we want an apology from Governor for his comments and his actions.”

Walker’s widely publicized and condemned comments attacking workers came only days before he signed legislation into law aimed at stripping critical rights and protections from workers in Wisconsin. At the press conference and rally, New Hampshire and regional labor leaders and workers promised to hold Walker accountable for his words and actions throughout his Presidential campaign in the First in the Nation Primary state.

(This is a short video of the press conference)

RALLY 3-14-15: Tell Scott Walker Attacking The Middle Class Is Un-American

(Image by WisPolitics.com FLICKR CC)

(Image by WisPolitics.com FLICKR CC)

Governor Scott Walker is waging a war on working families in Wisconsin – and now he wants to take his anti-middle class agenda all the way to the White House.

10403517_1569337943317333_874964271976823317_nOn Saturday, March 14, Scott Walker is coming to New Hampshire to test the waters for a presidential primary run. But you know and I know that Governor Walker isn’t Presidential material – after all, this is the same politician who recently compared hard-working Americans to militant terrorists who have committed horrific crimes against humanity.

Working people and our community allies have a crystal clear message for Mr. Walker when he arrives in the Granite State: Attacking the middle-class is downright un-American.

Please join New Hampshire AFL-CIO, our labor partners and community allies in Concord on March 14 from 8:30-10:30 a.m. for a visibility action to hold Scott Walker accountable for his plans to lower wages and crush good jobs for American workers.

WHAT: Stop Scott Walker | Stand Up for America’s Middle Class Visibility Action

WHEN: Saturday, March 14, 2015, 8:30-10:30am

WHERE:Outside Concord High School, 170 Warren Street, Concord, NH

DETAILS: Concord High School is located on Warren Street between N. Fruit Street and Westbourne Road. Street parking is available in the area. We’ll have signs to share, or bring your own.

MORE INFO: Call New Hampshire AFL-CIO, (603) 623-7302 or email jstadtman@nhaflcio.org

You can sign up on the Facebook event page and find more information about the event and  meet-up location: https://www.facebook.com/events/889491181109164/

Don’t like Facebook? No problem! You can sign up with this user-friendly web form to get information and updates about the 3/14/2015 Stop Scott Walker action in Concord, New Hampshire:http://goo.gl/forms/gXpoHd893t

We’ll have signs to share – or bring your own. We hope to see you there!

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