The mission of the Alliance for Retired Americans is to 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.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

A chart with good news for Medicare

Read the whole article, some good news, some projections, lots of information.
And because much of this revision affected Part A (hospital insurance) – largely because of increases in projected productivity growth and decreases in projected inflation growth, both of which hold down non-physician provider payment updates – the Medicare Hospital Insurance Trust Fund is now expected to last 5 more years before exhaustion, until about 2030. This is the first major change in the esimate of the HI Trust Fund's exhaustion date since the ACA was passed, largely because most of the remaining Medicare slowdown in the preceding years occurred in Part D of the program, and revenue had come in lower to offset the slowdown that did occur.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Action at Senator Ayotte's office, July 11, 2014

Here we are, with other coalition members, back at Senator Ayotte's office again.  She won't meet with any of us, even though the New Hampshire Alliance for Retired Americans, Granite State Organizing Project and the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare represent over 100,000 New Hampshire citizens.  Why?!  

Saturday, July 5, 2014

New Hampshire Alliance joins other coalition members at the Amherst 4th of July parade!

The New Hampshire Alliance for Retired Americans, Granite State Organizing Project and the The National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare marched in the Amherst NH 4th of July parade.  Lots of waves and thumbs up for our senior safety net programs!

Sarah Jane Knoy of GSOP and Lucy Edwards of NHARA leading the way

Great banners and signs

Lucy Edwards, Jerry Connor and Jenny Kenny of the Alliance.  

Thursday, July 3, 2014

NH AFL-CIO News Release on the Harris v. Quinn Decision

Work with States and Consumers to Ensure a Strong Voice Will Continue

Concord, NH, June 30, 2014 - Today, the United States Supreme Court issued its decision in Harris v. Quinn. In a 5-4 decision drafted by conservative Justice Samuel Alito, the conservative majority of the Court dealt a blow to the partnership forged between the State of Illinois and homecare workers through their union, SEIU Health Care Illinois-Indiana (SEIU HCII). In a closely divided ruling, the conservative wing of the Court overruled the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals and held that the First Amendment bars Illinois homecare workers from adopting a fair share requirement (also known as ‘agency fee’) to ensure that everyone shares in the costs of the bargaining. The particular workers affected by this decision have a non-traditional relationship with their employer in Illinois and the court used the term “partial public employees” when referring to them. The workers are jointly employed by the state of Illinois and individual patients for whom they provide care.

This means that traditional public employees can continue to join together in a union and retain the right to negotiate a fair share contract provision.

This case was brought by the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, an extreme anti-worker group. It is the latest in a decades-long attack on the rights of working people to joint together to improve their jobs and the quality of services they provide.

While there are no such “partial employee” organized workers in New Hampshire, NH labor leaders agree that this is a about attacking workers’ rights.

“Any decision that infringes on the rights of homecare workers to join together and make decisions regarding their workplace is bad for the economy, bad for workers and the people they serve, and bad for America,” said Diana Lacey, president of SEIU Local 1984. “As our population ages, providing a stable, qualified workforce that meets the growing need for healthcare is critical to ensuring that New Hampshire seniors receive adequate care. Home care jobs are one of America’s fastest growing industries, yet the average wage for workers is around $21,000 a year.”

“This ruling to allow state-based challenges to the legality of agency fees skirts the question of whether these workers deserve dignity and basic rights on the job and exposes taxpayers to footing the bill for future challenges and litigation,” said Harriett Spencer, Coordinator for AFSCME Council 93.

"AFT-NH members want great neighborhood public schools that are safe welcoming and are fully funded. We want all public schools to have teachers who are well-prepared, well-supported, and who have manageable class sizes and time to collaborate,” said Laura Hainey President of AFT-New Hampshire. “We want our schools to be centers of our communities and to ensure that children and families have access to wraparound services to meet their social, emotional and health needs. We want curriculum that focuses on teaching and learning, not just testing, and that includes art, music and the sciences.”

“When workers can come together and negotiate for better pay, more benefits, and necessary training, turnover goes down, and our elderly receive better care,” said Mark MacKenzie, president of the New Hampshire AFL-CIO. “Ensuring that this workforce has a voice on the job and is not mired in poverty is the single best way to guarantee that seniors and people with disabilities can get safe, quality care in their homes.”

“New Hampshire’s workers will not be discouraged,” President MacKenzie continued. “We will continue to fight for improvements in our workplaces. The fate of workers cannot be decided by one Supreme Court decision. It will be decided at workplaces and industries across the country by those who get up every morning and make our country run.”

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

NH Deligation Asks CMS to Halt Medicare Part D Implementation

Hospice care is essential, cost-effective, compassionate care at the end of life.  Thank our delegation for working to smooth the process of getting the medications that help this service provide care for patients and families.  

New Hampshire’s entire Congressional delegation has added their voices to sign-on letters being circulated by Senators Rockefeller and Roberts (PDF) and Representatives Reed and Thompson (PDF), asking CMS to temporarily halt implementation of action that has left hospice patients without medications they need at the end of life.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Harris v. Quinn Decision Harms Millions of Low-Wage Workers

The following statement was issued today by Richard Fiesta, Executive Director of the Alliance for Retired Americans in response to the Harris v. Quinn Supreme Court decision:

“Today’s decision hurts millions of low-wage workers and the people they serve, often the most frail and vulnerable in America.

“All workers deserve a voice. Home health care workers’ right to a voice on the job took a wrong-headed hit today, and that harms the home health care that seniors and people with disabilities receive.

“Corporations, the Koch brothers and their extremist allies continue to pursue anti-retiree, anti-worker legislation in the states and in the courts. Instead of using the courts to take away the rights of working Americans like caregivers, we need to reduce income and wealth inequality and to enhance Americans’ economic security in both working years and in retirement.

“Fortunately, the Court upheld the right of other public employees to have a voice at work. That means they can continue to serve their communities and retire with dignity.”

[Most of these workers are women, it is not a good day for women in America!]