Tuesday, November 27, 2012

New AFL-CIO Report Shows 1,061,501 Wisconsinites Could Be Harmed By Any Lame Duck Congressional Deal to Cut Social Security

Cuts to Medicaid could affect 437,310 children and 146,292 seniors in Wisconsin.


Leon Burzynski: "This is not just about my generation, it's about my kids and grandkids. Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid are American success stories and promises that we must protect for future generations. We must not leave future generations out in the cold."

Milwaukee, WI, 11/22/12 - According to a new report released by the AFL-CIO, 1,061,501 Wisconsinites could be negatively impacted if Congress attempts cuts to Social Security, including 146,516 people with disabilities and 77,143 children. Of the 1,028,272 Wisconsin residents who get their health care coverage from Medicaid, 437,310 children and 146,292 seniors could be affected if the lame duck Congress makes cuts to Medicaid benefits. Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid combined deliver $28.8 billion per year into the Wisconsin economy.

As the so-called "fiscal cliff" approaches, members of Congress have suggested cuts to benefits for Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, even while calling for renewing tax cuts for the richest 2%. If those tax cuts are renewed, the richest 2% in Wisconsin would receive an average of $32,600 in tax cuts, while the rest of Wisconsin taxpayers would receive an average of $1,350. The 2012 House Republican budget plan would cut federal support to Wisconsin's Medicaid program by at least $15.1 billion over 10 years.

Wisconsin working families have been mobilizing around the Lame Duck session and will continue calling on Congress to end tax cuts for the richest 2% and to say no to cuts to benefits for Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.

"We need to protect Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security benefits and other important programs that support our working families," said Wisconsin ARA leader, Leon Burzynski. "Retirees, people with disabilities and children shouldn't have to suffer because some in Congress want to give more tax breaks to the richest 2%. It's time for the richest 2% to pay their fair share and for our elected officials to strengthen programs that create jobs and rebuild the middle class."

Burzynski added, "This is not just about my generation, it's about my kids and grandkids. Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid are American success stories and promises that we must protect for future generations. We must not leave future generations out in the cold."

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

2013 COLA Announced: Federal Annuities Will Rise Next Year

WASHINGTON, DC – The National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association (NARFE) was pleased to inform its members today that federal retirees will receive a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) to their civil service annuities beginning in January 2013. Retirees in the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) and the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) will receive a 1.7 percent increase to their annuities next year, the same increase given to Social Security recipients.


“We at NARFE are pleased to hear that retirees will receive some relief from the rising costs of everyday goods,” commented NARFE president Joseph A. Beaudoin. “NARFE continues to support strong COLAs based on fair assessments of increases in consumer prices, including medical costs, to keep federal annuities in line with inflation.”


To trigger a COLA for 2013, the average CPI-W for the months of July, August and September of 2012 needed to rise above the 2011 average for those same months. It did, by 1.66 percent, which results in a 1.7 percent COLA for federal annuitants covered by both CSRS and FERS.


Under current law, COLAs for federal retirement annuities, as well as for military retiree annuities and Social Security payments, are determined in reference to the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W), which is calculated by economists and statisticians with the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The CPI-W is the current index used for measuring increases in the prices of consumer goods throughout the economy. It includes prices on all consumer goods, including food and beverages, housing, clothing, transportation, medical care, recreation, education, communication, and more.


“This is welcome news for retirees who have seen the cost of living continue to increase over the past year,” continued Beaudoin. “As Congress debates ways to avoid the ‘fiscal cliff,’ NARFE is prepared to oppose any changes to the COLA formula that would have an adverse effect on retirees.”


The new CPI-W figure for September 2012 was 228.184. The average CPI-W for the third-quarter of 2012 was 226.936. This is the new reference figure for determining the 2014 COLA.

Saturday, October 6, 2012


The APWU of Wisconsin Fall Seminar is underway. Some classes started as early as 8:30 this morning with APWU Officers and members coming from all over Wisconsin and Minnesota to Neenah, Wisconsin.

Classes today consisted of:

Class Title Instructor/s

  • All Level Clerk Steward Training - Willie Mellon/Marty Mater
  • Maintenance Steward Training - Troy Rorman
  • CSRS Retirement - Judy McCann
  • FERS Retirement - Judy McCann

Training Sunday Morning, October 7th:

  • NTFTs, PSEs, and Lead Clerks - Willie Mellon/Marty Mater
  • JCIM Training - Lyle Krueth
  • FERS Retirement - Judy McCann

There are about 60 members in attendance.

Click Here for photos on Facebook

Monday, September 24, 2012

Today’s GOP

Another Perspective

Donald L. Foley, National Business Agent, retired

Are you a Republican? Because your father or your mother was? Because you view yourself as conservative? First let me ask, are you an American with the values I believe are held by most Americans? Most Americans are possessed of a deep desire to see the world of our children a better place than the world we grew up in. Most Americans are compassionate; we often favor the underdog. We feel a dedication to the idea that all men and women are created equal and ought not to be trampled upon by the wealthy and powerful. We believe avarice is a vice not a virtue and that each of us deserves to be protected from the powerful and avaricious. We expect protection from exploitation of ourselves, our fellow human beings and our land. We expect government to spend our tax dollars wisely and to protect us; we want good highways, good schools, real and adequate public services. We have a belief that every human being has a right to a decent standard of living, and to receive assistance in achieving that, if needed. We believe that poverty is an evil that an enlightened society can alleviate, and that everyone deserves adequate health care.

If you believe these things, either take back the Republican Party from those who have commandeered it to serve only the wealthy and powerful – or admit that the “Grand Old Party” can no longer represent you. But whatever you do, don’t believe for a minute that today’s GOP is a conservative party representing ordinary American citizens.

Today’s Republican Party is not the party that put Dwight Eisenhower into the White House – nor Richard Nixon nor, even, Bush No.1. It is not a conservative, fiscally responsible party dedicated to American values.

It’s not your father’s GOP. The Republican Party has apparently abandoned its old role as the voice of conservatism in America. You remember, the Democratic Party was the “liberal” side of American politics; the Republican Party was the “conservative” side. Two sides of one coin. Well, in case you have missed it that coin is now held exclusively by the Democratic Party. The Republicans, on the other hand, have been taken over by a radical element fully supported and manipulated by the wealthiest individuals and corporations in the world. The GOP proclaims the supremacy of the individual, as if that could create a civilized world.

Certainly, the allure of the lone individual carving out a homestead, a settlement, a business on his or her own – demonstrating strength of character and the ability to take advantage of opportunities that accrue from freedom – is attractive. But most of us know that those who strike out on their own, without help from anyone often barely eke out a living, struggle just to survive and often fail miserably. Most of us recognize that there is, indeed, strength in numbers; that humans are social animals who value the support of our families and of society in general; that it was a communal effort of thousands of individuals who joined together to form America as a nation. We recognize that we do not want to live in a dog-eat-dog world, having to compete for every scrap we can wrest from someone less fortunate. But that is exactly what today’s GOP offers America.

Led now by Mitt Rmoney, the GOP advocates a radical perversion of traditional American values. He and the Republican party advocate radical individualism that would only protect the richest and most avaricious. They claim that the wealthiest Americans and the corporations they run should be set free of burdensome taxation and regulation – and that this “freedom” would benefit the entire country. Unfortunately, there is simply no evidence to support the propaganda.

When the wealthiest and their corporations paid the highest taxes ever in the four decades after World War II, the country boomed and produced a vibrant “middle class” composed largely of ordinary working class Americans. The GOP’s darling Ronald Reagan began dismantling that and the “middle class” has spiraled down since then to a point, now, where it may soon not be populated by any ordinary working class Americans. After George W. Bush’s famous tax cuts for the wealthy (the so-called “job creators”) the country only declined and our national debt grew exponentially. We ended the Bush years of radical trickle down economics and deregulated capitalism with the Great Recession of 2008-2009. One of the consequences of that economic collapse was the transfer of billions of dollars of wealth from the “middle class” to the wealthiest. We have yet to fully recover from the plundering of our wealth, struggling under GOP obstruction of every effort by President Obama to produce jobs and recovery.

Rather than pursue reform and recovery, GOP candidate Rmoney would continue, if not increase, the free ride for the wealthiest and their corporations on claims that “job creators” ought not be burdened with an “increase” in taxes. But, if decreasing the “job creators” tax burden were good for the economy, the GOP cannot explain why millions of jobs were lost from the economy during the Bush presidency and especially because of the Great Recession or why American corporations now sitting on more than $2 trillion dollars in unused capital are not “creating” jobs. In fact, neither Rmoney nor the GOP can rationally explain much. But then, maybe they don’t need to.

Maybe the GOP is right. Maybe American voters will be persuaded by lies and distortions of fact. Maybe the radical minority who support the GOP radical social issues will turn out enough votes to put Rmoney over the top, because that minority really does not pay attention to what really motivates the Rmoney GOP – more wealth for the wealthy.

But, if Rmoney and the GOP prevail in November, will you be prepared for their promises? Will you be prepared to see women denied all forms of family planning? Will you welcome the elimination of the school lunch program? The end of food stamps for poor people struggling to feed their families? The elimination of federal assistance for college loans and Pell Grants? The end of Social Security as a defined benefit program, converted to individual 401k Wall Street casino accounts? The end of Medicare as a defined benefit program, converted to individual health insurance shopping? Will you welcome the end to collective bargaining as unions become regulated out of existence? Will you be rewarded by the “I’ve-Got-Mine” GOP agenda? And, really, isn’t that what today’s GOP is all about? If you cannot make it on your own, tough shit. Roosevelt had the “Fair Deal” program to restore the economy, Johnson had the “Great Society” program to end poverty – today’s GOP has the “I’ve Got Mine” agenda for America.

Will you vote for all these things? Or will you vote to preserve fundamental American values and send President Obama back to the White House in the hope of seeing him move the country forward?

There are many things I had hoped for from President Obama that he has not done; there are many things President Obama has done that I find infuriating. But I will be working for his reelection and voting to return him to the White House. It is not merely the classic choice of the lesser of two evils; it is a matter of hoping to preserve what America is supposed to be about.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Statement by AFL-CIO’s Union Veterans Council on Mitt Romney Tapes

September 18, 2012

The following statement was issued today by James Gilbert, Director of the AFL-CIO’s Union Veterans Council and veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom, in response to recently-aired comments by presidential candidate Mitt Romney:

“Though unsurprising, Mitt Romney’s comments are shamefully disrespectful to all of America’s veterans and military families. The same 70,000 American troops currently serving in Afghanistan whom Romney neglected to acknowledge in his convention speech are a part of the 47 percent he says ‘should take personal responsibility and care for their lives’. U.S. Troops keeping us safe and serving in designated combat zones like Afghanistan – not required to pay federal income tax during that time of service – know far more about responsibility than Mitt Romney.

Romney’s ignorant criticism of government ‘entitlements’ show total disregard for the families of the more than 6500 American service members killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. As someone with a family member killed who leaves behind a wife and young child that receive survivorship benefits, this is personal for me as it is for many other veterans and military families.

Furthermore, these disgraceful comments show his lack of concern for the nearly 50000 Wounded Warriors who receive vocational and occupational therapy, the 8.3 million veterans in the U.S. that receive care at one of 152 VA Medical Centers or nearly 1400 community-based outpatient clinics around the country. The $11 billion cut to the VA in year one of the Romney-Ryan budget was enough to know just who he means when he says ‘my job is not to worry about those people.’”

Keri A. Shanks, Senior Secretary

AFL-CIO Media Outreach Department

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


Forward by Charles Breiterman from the Iowa Postal Worker Tabloid April-May 2012 Issue:

Below is an article by Frederick Douglass from the August 17, 1871 issue of his newspaper, 'The New National Era. “America had its cheap labor lobby back in 1871, and it has one today in the form of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Immigration Works and Bill Gates himself testifying before Congress for more H-IB visas. Frederick Douglass attacked the cheap-labor lobby's "fair-seeming phrases" immediately in the first sentence. We all know that today’s cheap labor lobby has similar "fair-seeming phrases" that I will not repeat here since they are all over the mainstream media. The issues that deeply concerned Frederick Douglass in 1871 are very relevant today.

"Cheap Labor" by Frederick Douglass

How vast and bottomless is the abyss of meanness, cruelty, and crime sometimes concealed under fair-seeming phrases. Take the one we have made the caption of this article as an illustration. Ostensibly the demand for cheap labor is made in the interest of improvement and general civilization. It tells of increased wealth and of marvelous transformations of the old and the worthless into the new and valuable. It speaks of increased traveling facilities and larger commercial relations; of long lines of railway graded, and meandering canals constructed; of splendid cities built, and flourishing towns multiplied; of rich mines developed, and useful metals made abundant; of capacious shops on every sea abroad, and of amply cultivated fields at home; in a word, it speaks of national prosperity, greatness and happiness. Alas! However, this is but the outside of the cup and the platter-the beautiful marble without its dead men's bones within.

Cheap Labor, is a phrase that has no cheering music for the masses. Those who demand it, and seek to acquire it, have but little sympathy with common humanity. It is the cry of the few against the many. When we inquire who are the men that are continually vociferating for cheap labor, we find not the poor, the simple, and the lowly; not the class who dig and toil for their daily bread; not the landless, feeble and defenseless portion of society, but the rich and powerful, the crafty and scheming, those who live by the sweat of other men's faces, and who have no intention of cheapening labor by adding themselves to the laboring forces of society. It is the deceitful cry of the fortunate against the unfortunate, of the idle against the industrious, of the taper-fingered dandy against the hard-handed working man. Labor is a noble word, and expresses a noble idea. Cheap labor, too. seems harmless enough, sounds well to hear, and looks well upon paper. But what does it mean?? Who does it bless or benefit? The answer is already more than indicated. A moment's thought will show that cheap labor in the mouths of those who seek it means not cheap labor, but the opposite. It means not cheap labor, but dear labor. Not abundant labor, but scarce labor; not more work, but more workmen. It means that condition of things in which the laborers shall be so largely in excess of the work needed to be done, that the capitalist shall be able to command all the laborers he wants, at prices only enough to keep the laborer above the point of starvation. It means ease and luxury to the rich, wretchedness and misery to the poor.

The former slave owners of the South want cheap labor; they want it from Germany and from Ireland; they want it from China and Japan; they want it from anywhere in the world, but from Africa. They want to be independent of their former slaves, and bring their noses to the grindstone. They are not alone in this want, nor is their want a new one. The African slave trade with all its train of horrors was instituted and carried on to supply the opulent landholding inhabitants of this country with cheap labor, and the same lust for gain, the same love of ease, and loathing of labor, which originated that infernal traffic, discloses itself in the modem cry for cheap labor and the fair-seeming schemes for supplying the demand. So rapidly does one evil succeed another, and so closely does the succeeding evil resemble the one destroyed, that only a very comprehensive view can afford a basis of faith in the possibility of reform, and recognition of the fact of human progress.

The trade of the slave-trader across the sea was a track of blood. Her wake drew into it a procession of hungry sharks to feast upon human flesh, diseased, dead, and dying. The slaves were literally stowed between decks, without regard to health, comfort, or decency. The great thought of captains, owners, consignees, and others, was to make the most money they could in the shortest possible time. Human nature is the same now as then. The Coolie Trade is giving us examples of this unchanged character. The rights of a Coolie in California, in Peru, in Jamaica, in Trinidad, and on board the vessels beating them to these countries, are scarcely more guarded than were those of the Negro slaves brought to our shores a century ago. The sufferings of these people while in transit are almost as heart-rending as any that attended the African slave trade. ". (Originally published in 1871)

Source: As printed in Salt City Post (PPA)

Military Veterans &Social Security Benefits

By:Bob Wood-Vice President, Milwaukee, WI Area Local APWU

There is a little known fact about additional Social Security benefits for those who served their county in the Armed Force

If you served between January 1957 and December 2001 you may be eligible for up to $1,200.00 per year of earnings credit -which can make a substantial difference in social security monthly payments upon your retirement.

You must bring your DD-2image14 to the Social Security Office and you must ask for this benefit to receive it!

Keep this article in your files and use it when you apply for Social Security down the road.

Social Security website:


Since 1957, if you had military service earnings for active duty (including active duty for training), you paid Social Security taxes on those earnings.

Since 1988, inactive duty service in the Armed Forces reserves (such as weekend drills) has also been covered by Social Security.

Under certain circumstances, special extra earnings for your military service from 1957 through 2001 can be credited to your record for Social Security purposes. These extra earnings credits may help you qualify for Social Security or increase the amount of your Social Security benefit.

Special extra earnings credits are granted for periods of active duty or active duty for training. Special extra credits are not granted for inactive duty for training.

If your active military service occurred...

From 1957 through 1967, the U.S Social Security Administration will add the extra credits to your record when you apply for Social Security benefits.

From 1968 through 2001, you do not need to do anything to receive these extra credits. These credits should automatically be added to your record.

After 2001, there are no special extra earning credits added to your account.


The information that follows applies only to active duty military service earnings from 1957 through 2001. Here's how the special extra earrings are credited on your record.

Service in 1957 through 1977:

You are credited with $300.00 in additional earnings for each calendar quarter in which you received active duty basic pay.

Service in 1978 through 2001:

For every $300.00 in active duty basic pay, you are credited with an additional $100.00 in earnings up to a maximum of $1,200.00 a year. If you enlisted after September 7, 1980, and didn't complete at least 24 months of active duty or your full tour, you may not be able to receive the additional earnings. Check with Social Security for details.

FYI: This benefit is not automatic; make sure you ask for it.

Source: The Hi-Lites (PPA)

Monday, September 17, 2012

Government of the People

Another Perspective Donald L. Foley - Maintenance NBA, retired

“. . . that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

– Implored by Abraham Lincoln, November 19, 1863, at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

. . . government of the people, by the corporations, for profit . . .

Sometimes images of the first RoboCop movie come to mind as I contemplate our circumstances today and what lies ahead. These images derive from one of the movie’s basic premises – that a corporation owned the city and operated its services. And, indeed, it was that for-profit corporate control that brought about the disastrous circumstances faced by the public in that dystopian future.

As we move further and further from Lincoln’s entreaty for the country, we desecrate the enormous sacrifices he sought to honor. As capitalist corporations exert more and more control of how society operates, the interests of the public diminish toward nothing. Today we continue to suffer the consequences of corporate capitalism gone wild. With the dismantling of the wise regulatory boundaries on the financial sector of private enterprise (under the unwise leadership of Bill Clinton) venture capitalists ran rampant – devising ever riskier tricks to serve their greed. Financial schemes became an industry unto itself. But the wealth with which the schemers gambled was not their own; it was house money, thus making the risk so much easier to take. And when everything fell apart – as a few predicted it would – it was as if no one was prepared for it. And, of course, the huge financial institutions that had not previously existed, but which were now “too big to fail” had to be salvaged. And when they were, because of the lofty position of those who had brought this all about, no one was truly held to account – no one, that is, but the public.

The public had made the grievous mistake of failing to pay sufficient attention. Clearly, then, it was all our fault. We had not demanded that the old regulations not be dismantled. We had felt comfortable investing money in the Wall Street casinos. We had accepted the staid advice that investments need no attention, just stay the course, get in for the long haul, investments always gain in the long haul . . . Really?

Thus, corporations and their dutiful servants gained enormous wealth while the rest of the world suffered, and continues to suffer. The collapse of the economy in late 2008, early 2009 was the greatest transfer of wealth that may have ever occurred. It transferred enormous amounts of public wealth into the hands of the Wall Street casinos and, thus, into the pockets of those who run the casinos. Those who gained so much have never been required to restore to the rest of us what we lost, not the wealth, not the jobs, not the personal independence, not societal equilibrium. While 99% of the American citizenry continue in the downward spiral that started in the 1980's and have fallen precipitously since late 2008, the wealthiest are doing quite well. The large corporations – not your Mom and Pop small businesses, but the real corporations – are now sitting on more than two trillion dollars excess capital. Since corporate capitalists have suffered little and gained tremendously from the economy’s collapse, does it not stand to reason that it should be they who spend that wealth to improve our economy? No, not according to the capitalists, not according to Republican politicians – no, the wealthy have no debt for the havoc they wreaked.

Instead, what passes these days for public policy debate is a narrative created by the so-called “conservative” think tanks with an ideological imperative to dismantle government in service to the public and to replace it with a government in service to corporate capitalism. There is nothing truly conservative about this. It would dismantle our American democracy. It would place greed as the chief motivation for policy, instead of public good. That narrative spews its venom through legislative initiatives written by ALEC and promoted in state legislatures and through political propagandizing protected and encouraged by the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision. That narrative seeks to turn ordinary Americans against their own government, to convince them that government ought not protect public interests because that inhibits capitalist enterprise, and to convince them that – because government is the enemy – their neighbors who work in public service, government jobs are also the enemy. This is why the Republican Party has chosen to target public sector employees (and, of course, their unions) as being over compensated and leeching taxpayer money for extravagant benefits and pensions. And, apparently, that narrative is succeeding – judging by the result in Wisconsin’s recall election, in which 37% of union labor households voted for Governor Walker! All around the country public employees, their wages, their benefits and their unions are under attack.

Do you really believe that is because the Great Recession of 2008/2009 was caused by the excesses of public employment? Do you really believe it was the teachers, the fire fighters and police officers (nearly 70% of state and local public employees) who brought down the economy? Do you really believe simply continuing to pay for public service as we have for generations is preventing the economy from moving forward? If so, then you have accepted the radical corporate capitalist Republican Party narrative. But the narrative has nothing to do with reality. (See the report Some Basic Facts on State and Local Government Workers, October 28, 2011, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, www.cbpp.org)

Once the public accepts the idea that the government and public employees are to blame for the nation’s woes, it should be an easy sell to convince them that private enterprise should assume control. Wisconsin has already passed laws to sell off public assets to private enterprise. After all, what good is an asset if the wealthiest cannot make a profit off it? Take health care, for example. The United States provides lousy medical service to its population in a system dominated by for-profit insurance companies, who have only recently been required to use 80% of their revenue for actual medical services. That leaves 20% to pay for overhead – including substantial profit. Compare that with the U.S. Government Medicare system. Medicare operates at a 4% overhead, expending 96% of its revenue for actual medical services – sorry, no profit.

But, again, reality has little sway these days. Unless the American public quickly realizes neither government nor we, the ordinary citizens of this country, are the enemy, corporate capitalism will continue its relentless drive to control America. And we will truly become a government of the people, by the corporations, for profit.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Statement by AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka on Chicago Teachers Strike

September 10, 2012

Chicago’s students, teachers and educational support staff – in fact, the entire city of Chicago -- deserve a school system that works for everyone.  That is what this strike is about, and that is why the AFL-CIO wholeheartedly supports the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU).

We are all united in support of a collectively bargained result that ensures educational success for every student in Chicago. Chicago schools require change and reform, but those changes will only work for the students if they are done collaboratively and reflect the input of the teachers and paraprofessionals who actually do the hard work of education.

We’ve been monitoring this situation closely and in close touch with the AFT, the parent union of the CTU. No one wants to strike.  And teachers recognize the enormous financial strain facing the district and the city. But right now, Mayor Emanuel’s proposal does not provide the elements necessary to ensure success for Chicago’s students or educators. We’d like to thank Chicago’s educators, Jorge Ramirez and the Chicago Federation of Labor, who are working together to ensure a successful school system for every child.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Call Your Senator Today

The Senate will take up the Bring Jobs Home Act tomorrow. This bill—S. 2884—would stop allowing corporations to deduct their moving expenses when they offshore good American jobs to other countries.

Call your senators now at 888-659-9401 and tell them to vote YES on the Bring Jobs Home Act tomorrow. Even if you already have called, your senators need to hear from you again.

The vote on this measure comes as news continues to trickle out about Mitt Romney’s tenure at Bain Capital, when companies it managed outsourced good jobs abroad.[1]

And this week, a new report showed Romney’s tax plan would create even more incentives for corporations to ship jobs overseas.[2]

Romney is not the only politician, though, who has been on the wrong side of job creation for working families. Politicians continue to support measures that reward corporate CEOs and leave the rest of us to take the hit.

Now they have a chance to move toward a comprehensive plan to stop outsourcing and create family-sustaining jobs in the United States. This not only must include passing the Bring Jobs Home Act but should also:

  • Tax U.S. corporations’ overseas income the same way domestic income is taxed, so they do not shift income and jobs overseas just to lower their tax bill;
  • Make sure trade agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership are fair and benefit working families—not just multinational corporations;
  • Stop currency manipulation by our trading partners; and
  • Bar companies that send call center jobs overseas from receiving federal grants and tax breaks.

Please call your senators today at 888-659-9401 and ask for their support for the Bring Jobs Home Act.

[1] www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2012/07/

[2] www.americanprogressaction.org/issues/2012/07/hanlon_outsourcing.html

Source: AFL-CIO

Alice in Dairyland Showcases Flavors of Wisconsin Fairs and Festivals

MADISON – Are you ready to “Taste Wisconsin” this summer? Wisconsin’s fairs and festivals season is here. This brings a bounty of delicious foods and flavors to tempt your taste buds, everything from protein packed food “on-a-stick” to a sweet treat or two.

Rochelle Ripp, the 65th Alice in Dairyland, will be traveling the state highlighting the Wisconsin agricultural flavors that can be sampled at Wisconsin fairs and festivals. 

“Wisconsin has a variety of foods and flavors we are known for – cheese, sauerkraut, specialty meats, cherries and berries and a whole lot more,” said Ripp. “Wisconsin agriculture has something for everyone.”

For example, it wouldn’t be a fair without something “on-a-stick”. A favorite is a pork chop on-a- stick, served up by the Wisconsin Pork Producers Association. One pork chop serving is a great way to get protein into your diet. One chop has more than 20 grams of protein and can be paired with some great Wisconsin cranberry chutney or horseradish.

Fresh or fried, these bite-sized squeaky treats are a hit! Cheese curds are a fair and festival favorite. Cheddar or mozzarella, Wisconsin has over 600 varieties, types and styles of cheese to enjoy. It takes ten pounds of milk to make one pound of cheese. A gallon of milk weighs about eight pounds, so that’s just a little over one gallon of milk.

What starts in a field quickly transforms into a light snack over a stove or in a microwave – popcorn. Toss in a little Wisconsin butter, sprinkle with a bit of salt, or flavor with cheese or maple syrup, and you have a treat that is sure to make your mouth ‘pop’ this summer. There are two types of popcorn – snowflake and mushroom – which are named because of their shape. Snowflake popcorn is what we find at fairs and festivals; mushroom popcorn is used with flavorings because it is a sturdier type.

You haven’t been to the fair until you’ve had your cream puff. The Original Cream Puff® is a summer staple at the Wisconsin State Fair. The cream puff shell is filled with dairy goodness. In 2011, the Wisconsin State Fair Park Dairy Bakery sold 355,478 cream puffs and set a Guinness World Record for the “World’s Largest Cream Puff,” weighing in at 125.6 pounds! New this year, the State Fair cream puff box will feature the Something Special from Wisconsin™ logo.

Maple sugar cotton candy is a fun, fluffy finale on your taste buds. Made from pure, natural, granulated sugars tapped from our Wisconsin maple trees and sugar bushes, this is a sweet reminder of summer fun. Marathon County claims the title as the highest maple syrup producing county in Wisconsin.

“I encourage you to get out and ‘Taste Wisconsin’ at the fairs and festivals this summer,” concluded Ripp. “Buying Wisconsin products is a great way to support our local farmers, communities, economies, and our Wisconsin way of life.”

Alice in Dairyland is Wisconsin’s agriculture ambassador. She travels over 40,000 miles each year to spread the word about our diverse agriculture industry. Alice in Dairyland can be reached by writing to Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP), 2811 Agriculture Drive, PO Box 8911, Madison, WI 53718. You can schedule Alice for an upcoming event by contacting the Alice in Dairyland Program at 608.224.5115 or by e-mail at DATCPAlice@wisconsin.gov. To learn more about Wisconsin’s $59 billion agricultural industry visit her travel blog at www.wisconsinagconnection.com/alice or become a friend on Facebook (Alice Dairyland), follow on Twitter (Alice_Dairyland) or LinkedIn (Alice in Dairyland). 

APWU of Wisconsin 2012 Fall Seminar

Make your plans now to attend the APWU of Wisconsin Fall Seminar to be held in Neenah, WI.


Holiday Inn Riverwalk

Neenah WI

123 E Wisconsin Ave

October 6 & 7, 2012

Hotel Rate:  $77

920-725-8441 Toll free 800-725-6348


Reference the APWU of Wisconsin

Hotel Cutoff: September 13, 2012


Click Here for Directions to Hotel

Click Here for Seminar Registration Form

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

USPS default on Aug. 1 appears likely

The cash-strapped U.S. Postal Service is within weeks of defaulting on a legally required $5.5 billion payment into a heath benefits fund for future retirees.

So far, it appears House leaders have no intention of preventing that from happening — they have postponed any action on relief measures until at least fall.

(FULL STORY)    Source: Federal Times

Thursday, July 12, 2012

"Don't Take Away New Medicare Benefits for Seniors"

The following statement was issued today by Leon Burzynski, president of the Wisconsin Alliance for Retired Americans, in response to the U.S. House voting to repeal the Affordable Leon Burzynski2Care Act:

"The U.S. House shamefully voted to take away Medicare benefits that are helping seniors in Wisconsin better afford to see a doctor and fill a prescription."

"Wisconsin retirees are upset that, in voting for repeal, Reps Duffy, Petri, Ribble, Ryan, and Sensenbrenner chose ideology and partisan politics over seniors' basic needs.  We are pleased that Reps Baldwin, Kind, and Moore stood up against the powerful special interests in support of a law that is helping workers and retirees across our state.

In Wisconsin, over 59,000 Medicare beneficiaries have already saved a total of $37,919,307.00 on their prescriptions. Also in Wisconsin, 647,617 seniors have received free, life-saving tests for chronic diseases. 

"Retirees worry about their children and grandchildren, and are happy the law allows young adults under age 26 stay on their parents' health insurance.  Seniors are glad to see working families finally protected from the greed and outrageous business practices of the insurance companies."

"This was the 33rd vote in Congress to repeal this law, a law that in the past two years has been approved by both houses of Congress, signed by the President, and upheld by the Supreme Court. It is time to move on. Political gamesmanship will not help a single retiree, worker, or student live a better, healthier life."

The real truth is that seniors have already and will continue to benefit from the Affordable Care Act.  For a complete list of the benefits available under the ACA, visit the website 'Seniors and the Affordable Care Act'.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Durbin again asks for new USPS audit regarding consolidations

U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) has sent a letter to Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe urging him to adhere to a provision – included in the Senate Financial Services and General Government Appropriations passed last month by the Senate Appropriations Committee – that would require the Postal Service to conduct a new audit that shows cost savings before moving forward with plans to close or consolidate facilities that were recently found to be efficient.

 See Full Story  (Quincy, IL News)

Friday, July 6, 2012

Romney Working To Eliminate The US Postal Service

Mitt Romney and his economic advisors like Kevin Hassett have a clear message in how a Romney administration would address the US Postal Service. It’s fairly simple they would eliminate it.

See Full Story  (New Hampshire Labor News)

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Watch Your Mail, Tell Your U.S. Representative: Stop H.R. 2309, Vote NO!

APWU News Bulletin 16-2012, June 19, 2012

A bill that would destroy the Postal Service — and our jobs — could be voted on in the House of Representatives in July, and APWU President Cliff Guffey is calling on union members to send their legislators a message: Vote NO on H.R. 2309!

To help APWU members send the message to Congress, the union will be mailing a brochure to the homes of union members in the coming days. President Guffey is asking all recipients to sign the postcard included in the brochure, affix a stamp, and mail the card to their U.S. representatives.

“GOP House leaders are trying to round up support for the bill,” Guffey said, “so we must take action immediately.

“Please ask your House member to oppose H.R. 2309 — or any similar bill — and to support legislation that addresses the cause of the USPS financial crisis without slashing service and punishing workers,” he said.

Full Story

Friday, April 27, 2012

New Social Security, Medicare Projections No Excuse for Radical Changes

Reacting to new reports on the health of the Social Security and Medicare Trust Funds, Alliance Executive Director Edward F. Coyle warns retirees to be wary of politicians who would use these reports as, “political cover for radical changes that would put seniors at risk while enriching Wall Street and the big health insurance companies.” Social Security, according to its Trustees, has a $2.7 trillion surplus, enough to fully meet the demands of a growing retiree cohort through 2033. With no action from Congress, it would cover most benefits through 2086. The Alliance supports an effort by Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) to significantly boost the Social Security Trust Fund by requiring the nation’s highest wage earners to pay Social Security taxes at the same rate as middle class workers.

The Trustees report for Medicare noted that its Trust Fund, which covers hospital care, can fully pay benefits through 2024, and cover most benefits through 2085. Coyle noted that the 2010 Affordable Care Act set in motion several bold steps to lower Medicare costs through greater emphasis on preventive care and eliminating subsidies to private insurance companies. These approaches, Coyle said, are in stark contrast to Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s proposals to raise the eligibility age, reduce benefits, and radically change Medicare in a way that generates even greater profits for health insurance companies. To learn more, visit http://bit.ly/I6lFk9.

Source: Alliance for Retired Americans

May 8 Primary Voter Guide

With the May 8 recall primary elections less than two weeks away, we wanted to be sure that you had the necessary information to cast an informed ballot at your local polling location.


You can look up your polling placeVote May 8 1 and check to see if you are a registered voter by visiting https://vpa.wi.gov/. Early voting is now underway in all six recall primary races. You can cast an in-person absentee ballot until the close of business on May 4 at your local municipal clerks’ offices.

Remember, you do NOT need a state issued ID to vote and can register to vote in-person on the day of the election. For more information on how to register to vote visit http://www.wisconsinvote.org/.

Vote May 8 2There are two statewide primary elections being held on May 8. One for the office of Governor and one for Lieutenant Governor. There are also primaries in four Senate Districts. Republicans are running fake Democrats in all six primary races so it is important to know the facts about the candidates before heading to the polls.

The Wisconsin State AFL-CIO has made the following endorsements:

• Lori Compas - Senate District 13
• John Lehman - Senate District 21
• Kristen Dexter - Senate District 23
• Donna Seidel - Senate District 29
• Mahlon Mitchell – Lieutenant Governor
• Kathleen Falk – Governor

The above candidates are committed to fighting for worker rights, education, health care and a fair economy. They will work to advance the needs of working class and middle class Wisconsinites – not out-of-state millionaires and billionaires.

Cast your ballot on Tuesday, May 8 and mark your calendars for the general election which will be held on Tuesday, June 5.

Source: Wisconsin State AFL-CO Blog

COPA Money Comes Back to Wisconsin

APWU of Wisconsin receives COPA Funds from National for distribution in upcoming elections.

La Crosse, WI -  APWU of Wisconsin (APWUWI) State President Steve Lord announced at the APWUWI Executive Board meeting recently that the State has received checks from your COPA contributions for distribution to “Labor-Friendly” candidates in the upcoming elections.

Checks were received for Wisconsin Legislators as follows:

  • Rob Zerban – Candidate for First District Congressional District $1,000.00
  • Gwen Moore – Congresswoman 4th District $5,000.00
  • Jamie Wall – Candidate for 8th District Congressional District $2,500.00
  • Pat Kreitlow – Candidate State Senator District #23  $2,500.00
  • Tammy Baldwin – Candidate for U.S. Senate (Herb Kohl vacant position) $5,000.00
  • AFL-CIO Recall Effort – $10,000.00

Pictured Below:


Wisconsin AFL-CIO President Phil Neuenfeldt (right) accepts a check for $10,000.00 for the upcoming Recall Efforts in Wisconsin. The COPA check was presented to Neuenfeldt by APWUWI President Steve Lord and APWU Central Region Coordinator Sharyn M. Stone.

Photo by: John E. Durben

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

BREAKING NEWS! Senate Vote on Postal Bill

(Note: Received in a recent e-mail.)

The United States Senate has Passed the United States Postal Service Bill "21st Century Postal Service Act of 2012" (S1789) by a vote of 62-37.

The Amendment voting results (as I have it) are recorded as either withdrawn, passed, or failed, are posted below.

(R) McCain #2001 Management substitute amendment WITHDRAWN

(D) Tester #2056 Amendment to modify the process of closing or consolidating Post Offices and Postal Facilities. PASSED

**(R) Coburn #2060 Amendment to provide transparency, accountability, and limitations of government sponsored conferences. (not germane to bill) PASSED

(R) McCain #2033 Amendment to establish the Commission on Postal Reorganization (in HR 2309) FAILED

**(D) Wyden-(D) Feinstein #2020 Amendment to require the Postal Service to consider the effect of closing or consolidating a postal facility on the ability of the affected community to vote by mail and to provide Post Offices and Postal Facilities to protect the ability to vote by mail. PASSED

**(R) Coburn #2058 Amendment to alternatives to Post Offices. PASSED

(R) MaCaskill-(D) Merkley #2031 Amendment to prohibit the closing of a rural Post Office unless certain conditions are met and to establish a 2 year moratorium on the closing of rural Post Offices. PASSED

(R) Coburn #2061 Amendment to require retirement eligible employees of the Postal Service to retire. FAILED

(R) Snowe #2080 Amendment to improve, sustain, and transform the United States Postal Service (closures) PASSED

(D) Udall #2043 Amendment to strike the limitations on changes to mail delivery schedule, with an offset. FAILED

**(D) Durbin #2082 Amendment to improve, sustain, and transform the United States Postal Service (closures) PASSED

(D) Akaka #2034 Amendment to replace provisions that would be financially devastating to thousands of Postal workers and Federal employees who were injured on the job and who receive compensation from the OWCP. FAILED

**(D) Bennet-(R) Blunt #2047 Amendment to establish citizen's service protection advocates in each state with respect to facility closures. PASSED

(R) Corker #2083 Amendment negatively impacts six day delivery and Collective Bargaining FAILED

**(D) Mikulski #2003 Amendment to prohibit the USPS from closing any postal facility without certification from the Governor of the state in which the Postal facility is located. WITHDRAWN

(D) Akaka #2049 Amendment to clarify consultative rights of Postmasters and Supervisors FAILED

(R) Paul #2025 Amendment to end the mailbox use monopoly FAILED

(D) Manchin #2079 Amendment to improve, sustain, and transform the USPS (closures) FAILED

**(R) Paul #2026 Amendment to provide merit pay for the PMG and limit the authority of the USPS to award bonuses WITHDRAWN

**(D) Bingamin #2076 Amendment to require that state liaisons for states without a district office are located within their respective states. PASSED

(R) Paul #2027 Amendment to close Post Offices in the Capitol complex PASSED

**(D) Cardin #2040 Amendment to prohibit the closing of a Postal Processing Plant if the nearest Postal facility is more than 50 miles away. WITHDRAWN

(R) Paul #2028 Amendment to establish a pilot program to test alternative methods for the delivery of Postal Services. FAILED

(D) Carper #2065 Amendment to provide for temporary authority to adjust the first class mail stamp rate. WITHDRAWN

**(R) Paul #2029 Amendment to require the USPS to take in consideration the impact of regulations when developing a profitability plan. PASSED

(D) Carper #2066 Amendment to limit the compensation of executives of the Postal Service PASSED

(R) Paul #2039 Amendment to eliminate Collective Bargaining FAILED

(D) Casey #2042 Amendment to maintain current delivery time for market dominated products for 4 years. FAILED

(R) Paul #2038 Amendment to end the Postal Service monopoly on First Class Mail and mailbox use WITHDRAWN

**(D) Landrieu #2072 Amendment to determine the impact of certain Postal Facility closures or consolidations on small businesses PASSED

(R) DeMint #2046 Amendment to cut union income FAILED

**(R) McCaskill #2030 Amendment to improve FECA PASSED

(R) Coburn #2059 Amendment to allow the USPS to close unprofitable Post Office Facilities. WITHDRAWN

**(D) Pryor #2036 Amendment to express the sense of the senate to place a moratorium on Postal Facility closures and consolidations until enactment. PASSED

**(D) Rockefeller #2073 Amendment to clarify retirees cannot be required to enroll in Medicare. PASSED

**(D) Rockefeller #2074 Amendment to ensure the Postal Service Health Benefits Program be comparable to the FEHBP PASSED

(D) Schumer #2050 Amendment to maintain door to door delivery point services PASSED

**(D) Tester #2032 Amendment to limit the pay of Postal Service Executives. PASSED

(D) Warner #2071 Amendment to require reporting regarding retirement processing and modernization. PASSED

I hope the above information has been helpful.

Sam Wood www.swfloridaapwu.org

President - Southwest Florida Area Local / APWU

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


On Monday April 9, 2012 the Wisconsin State AFL-CIO COPE committee met to conduct interviews with candidates for governor, Kathleen Falk, Tom Barrett and Kathleen Vinhout.

After the interviews the COPE Committee passed a motion to endorse Kathleen Falk for Governor in the May 8, recall primary. The endorsement represents the required two-thirds vote of committee members voting. In addition the Committee passed a motion to endorse the Democratic winner of the primary for the June 5th general election.

Tony Vanderbloemen
Greater Green Bay Labor Council

Friday, March 23, 2012

Medicare bill would hike costs to federal workers

Four Republican senators have introduced legislation designed to improve Medicare, but with federal employees paying a price.

CLICK HERE for complete story


Obama, Romney Differ on Plan to Cut Medicare, Medicaid

Barack Obama and Mitt Romney sharply disagreed this week on a budget proposal by U.S. House Republicans that would dramatically change Medicare and Medicaid while lowering taxes on corporations and wealthy Americans. The GOP presidential candidate praised it as “bold and exciting,” while a White House spokesperson called it, “a recipe for destroying Medicare as we know it… it is not a plan that this President could support.” MD/DC Alliance president Frank Stella spoke at a Tuesday rally against the plan, and Alliance Executive Board member Bill Cea is joining Vice President Joe Biden today at an event in Florida to highlight the Administration’s opposition. Read some of Biden’s remarks explaining what’s at stake at http://bit.ly/GIY9Ws.

“Under the proposal, seniors would be given vouchers to either buy health coverage in the costly private insurance market, or purchase it from a Medicare program that would be made more expensive by the exodus of younger, healthier retirees,” said Ruben Burks, Secretary-Treasurer of the Alliance. The plan would also cut spending on Medicaid and turn it over to cash-strapped states, jeopardizing the only way over 70 percent of seniors are able to afford long-term or nursing home care. The budget plan, authored by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), was approved by the House Budget Committee on Wednesday and is expected to be voted on by the full House next week. Also, on the same day that Romney endorsed the Ryan plan, one of his top economic advisors, Greg Mankiw, was forced to apologize for a joke he shared on his blog about deporting seniors to lower Social Security and Medicare costs. For the Alliance’s latest fact sheet on the Ryan budget, go to http://bit.ly/GKlJVx.

Source: Friday Alert – Alliance for Retired Americans

What Wisconsin Will Recall

Eleni Schirmer | March 19, 2012

In the year since the uprising against Governor Scott Walker’s attacks on public unions, employees, and services, the outrage of Wisconsin’s citizens has been compressed into a single word: recall. But some are discussing what next, if the recalls are successful. Will they be enough to take Wisconsin forward?

While spring bursts into Wisconsin, things look bleak for Walker. After investigations of illegal activity in his administration during his 2002-2008 service as Milwaukee county executive, including 15 felony charges against former staff, Walker has opened a legal defense fund in his name, something elected officials may do only if they are being investigated for a violation of law. While the specifics of the “John Doe” case are not yet public, Walker’s opening of the defense fund suggests he is implicated in the charges.

It doesn’t look much better for Walker’s collaborators. Last week Republican Senator Pam Galloway of Wausau resigned, preempting her upcoming recall election and surrendering the Republican majority in the Senate. The Senate is now split 16-16 between the parties.whatnext

An independent judicial oversight body filed a complaint about Walker supporter and Supreme Court Justice David Prosser’s outburst last summer. He choked an opposing justice during heated discussion about the constitutionality of Walker’s law to strip collective bargaining rights. A panel of appeals judges will file their recommendations, ranging from reprimand to replace, with the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

Feet on the Ground

While political elites fight these battles on an elevated stage, the people of Wisconsin continue to organize with their feet on the ground. A large coalition of activists has worked, without the initial support of the Democratic Party, to launch recalls of four Republican senators and key Walker allies. Fatigued by only moderate success in last summer’s Senate recalls, Democratic leaders seemed wary about attempting recalls again.

But citizens in these districts were not so easily discouraged. A group of constituents from the Dodge County area, for example, didn’t agree with Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald’s claims that his district was too Republican for him to be recalled. A local area photographer and writer, Lori Compas, gathered friends and neighbors. Not only did she successfully collect enough petition signatures to trigger a recall, she has decided to take on Fitzgerald in the election herself.

In response to a lawsuit filed by the immigrant rights group Voces de la Frontera, the League of Women Voters, and the Milwaukee chapter of the NAACP, a circuit judge issued a permanent injunction against Walker’s voter ID law, declaring suppression of the vote a primary threat to democracy. A movement led by Native American rights activists and environmentalists won a key fight against an aggressive mining bill that would destroy sacred land in northern Wisconsin.

These fights and victories are among the many ways Wisconsin’s activists and community members continue to struggle for justice.

Recall What?

For unions, recalling Walker is fundamental for long-term survival. His Act 10 eliminated collective bargaining, removed fair-share dues deductions, and required 51 percent of eligible members in every bargaining unit approve a union’s recertification every year—a major task in itself. The law threatens the basic sustenance of unions.

Thus far the challengers to Walker, to face off in a Democratic primary May 8, are Kathleen Falk, former county executive of Dane County (Madison); Kathleen Vinehout, a state senator; and Secretary of State Doug LaFollette. Two others are seriously considering running: Tom Barrett, mayor of Milwaukee and Walker’s opponent in the 2010 governor’s race, and Peter Barca, minority leader in the state assembly. The recall election will be June 5.

Falk earned the early endorsement of the state’s major unions. Of the current candidates, she has issued the strongest statements about the need to restore collective bargaining rights. Other candidates have not made pledges to restore collective bargaining, and have in fact distanced themselves from pro-union stances, in what they see as an attempt to increase their statewide electability—which places increased strain on the relationship between unions and Democrats.

Though Vinehout’s background as a rural Wisconsin farmer makes her appealing to more moderate voters, she has a progressive streak, including a fierce defense of the state’s public health care plan. Barrett, who has already lost in a statewide election to Walker once, is a weak supporter of labor at best, and will likely build his campaign on opposition to unions. This mirrors Walker’s own efforts to paint Falk as an undemocratic stooge of big labor. Democrats are in the wary position of both needing unions for support and needing distance from unions for widespread appeal.

The “union issue” is a critical one: how much is the recall about unions? And, more broadly, how much is the recall about justice for the people of Wisconsin? Removing Walker is necessary for the basic survival of workers, but removing him does not in itself guarantee improved conditions. After all, Democratic Governor Jim Doyle, Walker’s predecessor, imposed plenty of his own cuts to workers and public services.

To Endorse, or Not

One union, the 2,700-member Teaching Assistants’ Association, Local 3220 AFT at the University of Wisconsin, is hotly debating this question. At TAA’s membership meeting February 23, members voted to adopt a set of criteria necessary to endorse a recall candidate. TAA would not endorse any candidate who doesn’t state an intent to repeal all of Act 10—which would mean not only reinstating collective bargaining rights but also restoring cuts to wages and benefits (about a 9 percent pay cut) and cuts to public services. These cuts include removing 53,000 people from BadgerCare, the state health care program, and $1.6 billion in cuts to public education.

While Falk has declared she will restore collective bargaining rights, she is less aggressive about restoring the cuts to workers, calling on a need for “shared sacrifice.” Yet Falk has issued no call for closing corporate tax breaks, instituting a millionaires tax, or other means to create more evenly distributed wealth. She has bragged about bargaining concessions from her employees when she was Dane county executive, including at a meeting with TAA members. Under the recently passed criteria, the union could not endorse her campaign or any other’s.

This poses a serious strategic question: Does TAA stand for its greater vision or does it bend to the urgency of the current situation? The public feeling about the recall is so strong that many TAA members want to abandon any criteria for endorsement in order to support the pro-union candidate. The resolution will be re-voted on.

The debate has sparked discussion among the ranks of other unions who are concerned about the early endorsement of Falk. While the need to remove Walker cannot be overstated, many are concerned that recall alone is not enough. Removing him does not guarantee the restoration—much less expansion—of public services funding. Restoring cuts to wages, benefits, and public services may seem like demanding the impossible, but many TAA members argue that, after all, these funding levels existed just one year ago.

Though “recall” has rhetorical power, it doesn’t adequately describe the outrage at injustice that spurred last year’s mobilization, and it cannot sustain the energy, creativity, and solidarity that fueled the fight. Nor does it capture the demands for alternative solutions: closing Wisconsin’s corporate tax loopholes, increasing jobs, expanding public education and affordable health care, and bringing back the high-speed rail plan thwarted by Walker.

Pushing the envelope is a particular strength of the TAA, which led the initial charge to occupy the Capitol in February of last year. Members want to push candidates to reconsider their priorities, reminding the people of Wisconsin it’s not simply who we are fighting against but what we are fighting for.

Update: When TAA members revisited their resolution on March 20, they voted to rescind it—but also voted down a proposal to endorse Falk.

Eleni Schirmer is a member of the Teaching Assistants Association.

Source: Labor Notes

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Wisconsin Seniors Saved $38 Million With Health Reform

Average senior who hit donut hole saved $639 per year due to drug discounts

Madison, WI – Over 59,300 Wisconsin participants in the Medicare Part D prescription drug program saw their drug costs reduced by $38 million due to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2011, according to new statistics from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). This is an average of $639 per participant. Nationally, 3.6 million Americans who hit the donut hole saved $2.1 billion, or an average of $604.

The donut hole is a gap in the 2003-passed national drug program and without the correction by the ACA, seniors who had drug costs between $2,900 and $7,600 would have had to have paid 100 percent of the amount in that gap. The ACA provides a 50 percent discount on brandname prescriptions drugs and a 14 percent discount on generics within the gap, and by 2020 the donut hole will be closed completely.

“I’m thrilled to see the statistics bear out what we’ve been hearing from seniors across Wisconsin – that health reform is making prescription drugs more affordable,” said Leon Burzynski, President of the Wisconsin Alliance for Retired Americans.

Over half of Medicare enrollees made less than $22,000 in 2010, and enrollees in general spend a disproportionate share of their income on health expenses. This means the ACA drug discounts are benefiting Medicare enrollees even more as a percentage of their income.

The ACA is more commonly known as health insurance reform. Besides the donut hole drug discounts, ACA also offers many preventive services for seniors without co-pay or deductible and also extended the solvency of Medicare due to fighting waste and fraud and focusing on preventive care.

The original release from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services can be found at http://www.dhhs.gov/news/press/2012pres/02/20120202a.html. County and zip code-specific breakdowns of the information can be found at http://www.cms.gov/Plan-Payment/. More on the Affordable Care Act at www.healthcare.gov.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Letter From Senator Ron Johnson

Recently I contacted our Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson regarding legislation affecting Postal and other Federal Workers. It is strongly apparent that he is walking lockstep with our favorite Representative from California Darrell Issa. Perhaps those Postal and Federal employees who voted incorrectly in the last election may want to save this letter and read it again while you are at the ballot box? (If that is supposed to be my average salary – where are the rest of my checks?)

John Durben, Editor APWU of WI

Read Letter…

Thursday, January 19, 2012

2012 APWU of Wisconsin State Convention

Hi everyone,

Here is the info I have so far for the APWU of Wisconsin Convention. I will be asking some of you to be on committees which may influence the date you will arrive. Also, there will be an Executive Board meeting on the morning of the 26th. Please register for the convention and hotel as soon as possible to make planning easier. I will also mail this info to all locals.

See you soon,

Steve Lord President

APWU of Wisconsin

Convention Registration

Hotel Registration Information