The Retiree Advocate: August 2015
Welcome to the August 2015 issue of The Retiree Advocate, the monthly newsletter of the Puget Sound Advocates for Retirement Action (PSARA).
In This Issue:
- March, 2016 ADVOCATE
- Climate Change Is Violence…NOW
- Puerto Rico’s Debt Crisis: The Cost of Being a US Colony
- What’s Next in the Fight for Fair Trade?
- What’s Wrong with Europe?
- "Secret Memo": Primary Election Bad News for Developers and Landlords
- Initiative 735 Urges Congress to Amend the US Constitution
- Frank Irigon Receives National Award
- In Memory of Edie Koch
- Celebrate and Organize
On April 1st, Senator Michael Baumgartner (R-Spokane) cancelled a meeting of the Washington Senate Commerce and Labor Committee which he chairs. Since April 1st was the legislative “cut-off” deadline, that means that the equal pay, paid sick days, and minimum wage bills heard in his committee are essentially dead for this year.
Starting in 1961, and approximately every 10 years since then, U.S. Presidents have convened White House Conferences on Aging(WHCoA) to address federal policy and program issues for the next decade. A number of important laws and programs grew from seeds planted at these Conferences, such as the 1965 Older Americans Act (OAA), Medicare, Medicaid, and Supplemental Security Income.
On April 1st, Walmart associates around the country will start earning a minimum of $9/hr. In some states that means an increase of $1.75 per hour, as we know the federal minimum wage is only $7.25/hr. Then early in 2016, minimum wage at Walmart will go up to $10/hr, essentially the federal minimum wage that President Obama is proposing.
Sine die literally means to adjourn without assigning a day for further meetings or action. The Washington State Legislature had their regular session sine die, but the work is not done.
From 1-3 pm on Wednesday, April 29, at the Greenwood Community Senior Center, 525 N. 85th, Seattle, Mark McDermott, Chairperson of PSARA’s Education Committee, will lead a workshop entitled “Making the American Dream Real for Everyone”. It is an interactive economic justice workshop that educates and inspires attendees to take action to reclaim a more just and secure economic future for all.
Electing Seattle City Councilmembers by district had failed in three previous attempts, so it was no sure thing when it ran on the November 5, 2013 ballot. The ballot sponsors were an eclectic group, but most of the funding (about $200,000 of $296,000 raised) was contributed by the main sponsor, Aurora Avenue businesswoman Faye Garneau.
PSARA member Vivian Lee was honored at the annual Black Press breakfast saluting 50 Women Trailblazers and Role Models for Equal and Civil Rights.
Imagine going almost three years without a raise. As you struggle to support your family, your boss refuses to negotiate a new labor agreement with you and your fellow workers. Managers fire the most vocal ones and threaten to do the same to the rest.
A large crowd listened and participated in the forum: “Social Security: Why It’s Not Broke and How We Can Expand It” held on February 23. Nancy Altman, Co-director of Social Security Works, a national advocacy coalition, pointed out that an important difference between the Great Depression and the modern-day Great Recession was that Social Security made it possible for seniors to continue to receive modest incomes.
Why should it be a surprise? The Obama administration, negotiating a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Korea three years ago, made the usual promises – trade agreements bring jobs and prosperity! Really? The results are in. Recent data show that the U.S. trade deficit with Korea since the start of the FTA has ballooned by $12 billion. That translates to a loss of 85,000 jobs, mostly pretty good jobs in manufacturing.