Home » Media Center » The Communicator » September 2018 Retirees In Action



It was never more important than now to be a well informed voter

In the post-Janus universe it is very important to stay with your union.

It is also very important to be an informed voter. We need to be informed on issues that affect our personal well being and our everyday lives: senior issues such as comprehensive, affordable health care, a stable well funded pension system, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

Feb2018AlbanyDentalEmbeddedSubrata Mukherhjee

This year is what they sometimes call a “mid-term” election, meaning it falls between presidential election years. Every election result affects us in one way or another and this year that is especially true. On the national level, we will vote for one of our two U.S. senators and for every member of Congress who will represent the state of New York. At the state level, we will choose our next governor, attorney general, state comptroller and every member of our state Legislature.

It is important to know where our elected officials at all levels of government stand on senior issues, labor issues and quality-of-life issues. We need to know how our elected representatives voted on these issues. Did they help us or hurt us?

Our elected officials owe it to us, as their constituents, to give us accurate and explanatory information when it comes to how they voted on bills. As retirees and seniors we have clout when we vote as a block for candidates who support retirees and are right on senior issues. In order to leverage that clout we must be registered and we must vote our self interests when it comes to retirees’ issues. We loose when we vote against our own self interests such as protecting our earned benefits.

Thursday, September 13, is the New York state and local primary in which voters choose their party’s candidates for the general election that will be held Tuesday, November 6. Primary elections are held when more than one candidate seeks the nomination to represent a party in vying for a specific public office.

Make sure you vote. “Bad things happen when good people don’t vote!”

The U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) reversed it’s previous position and decided this past June in favor of Mark Janus, instead of unions, making it possible for public employees to benefit from a union contract without paying dues or fees to support the union negotiating it for them.

This was the court’s first, and likely not its last anti-labor decision, as the majority of justices now is very conservative and not so concerned with workers’ rights. The U.S. Senate is weighing another conservative nominee for appointment to the court, and that could put our rights in further danger.

These are perilous times and, make no mistake, at the center of the bullseye are unions as well as our senior safety net. Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and comprehensive, affordable health care are all under attack in Washington by the current president and congressional majority.

The “Citizens United” SCOTUS decision put us at risk by allowing extremely wealthy corporations and individuals to use their deep pockets to elect and influence the politicians who make judicial appointments and legislative decisions. It is shameful that the billionaire CEOs and corporate special interests can manipulate a majority of justices on the highest court in the land to do as they want.

We are retirees, but we understand that if unions such as PEF with active members do not remain healthy and viable we will be adversely affected. The health insurance changes they negotiate are directly connected to our level of benefits (cost and level of coverage). As we age, quality, affordable health care is necessary for quality of life.

That is the practical side of the potential damage, but on the ethical, moral side of the issue is our hard work and the sacrifices we’ve made to build a better work environment to leave for those who follow us.

We were proud to retire knowing we were leaving behind a better situation. I do not want to see attacks on our union that minimalizes our hard work and sacrifice. So, now we must stand and support the work that needs to be done to stop the slide down this slippery slope.

As much as some of us do not like political action, it is politicians who put us in this mess and it is only through electing the right politicians that we can hope to survive. Please remain aware and cognizant of the positions and voting records of candidates. Sometimes what they do not say is as important as what they do say. Listen especially carefully to candidates’ positions and views on senior and labor issues. Most of all, vote!

A good example of a politician who says one thing and does something else is my congressman in the 23rd Congressional District. In April, the Alliance for Retired Americans analyzed and reported on congressional voting records on retiree issues including Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, pharmaceuticals, and comprehensive, affordable health care. My congressman had the worst voting record on retiree issues of all the 27 New York congressional representatives. He is an example of bad things happening, when good people don’t look beyond the campaign rhetoric and vote.

We need to elect candidates who are more aligned with our needs as retirees! We need to support and elect someone who will represent us and all of their other constituents, not just their big-dollar donors and special interests.

Retiring or Retired? Join PEF Retirees now!
Membership equals benefits. Contact PEF Retirees at 800-342-4306, x289. DON’T DROP NYSHIP AT 65!

Table of Contents – September 2018