Alliance for Retired Americans Friday Alert – October 3, 2014

Thousands of Alliance Members Join Tele-Town Hall Calls with Candidates
More than 6,000 Alliance members dialed in Monday night on a tele-town hall conference call with Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC), with several of the activists asking Sen. Hagan questions. Seniors advocate Jon “Bowzer” Bauman of the musical group Sha Na Na and North Carolina AFL-CIO President James Andrews also spoke on behalf of Sen. Hagan during the call. “I will vote against turning Medicare into a voucher program every day of the week, if that’s what it takes,” Sen. Hagan said.

On Wednesday, more than 7,000 Alliance members joined a tele-conference call with Charlie Crist (D), who is running to replace incumbent Rick Scott (R) and become Governor of Florida again. Florida Alliance President Tony Fransetta noted on the call that when Charlie Crist was Governor, he cut property taxes for seniors. Crist also signed a law that gave Floridians a paper back-up on electronic voting machines, making voting more transparent and secure. During the call, Crist referred to skyrocketing energy costs under incumbent governor Scott and said that he would stop the rates from rising so fast.

This afternoon, Alliance members are having their third tele-town hall call of the week, with Mary Burke (D) – who is running against incumbent Scott Walker (R) to become the next governor of Wisconsin. In 2011, Walker signed into law a highly controversial bill to eliminate collective bargaining rights for public workers in Wisconsin. The signing came after weeks of protests at the Wisconsin state capitol.

Koch Sisters Video Refutes Misinformation about Social Security
The Koch Sisters recently released a new YouTube video. Karen Koch talks about how the Koch Brothers, Charles and David, are creating a media narrative that Social Security is going bankrupt and why that’s not true. She said that Social Security and Medicare are valid, wonderfully working and well- run programs and that they are not going bankrupt. She took the Koch brothers to task for creating a false narrative because they don’t like the programs.

“Our friends in the AFL-CIO have come up with two very effective surrogates to counter the other Kochs’ message,” Alliance for Retired Americans President Barbara J. Easterling said. See the sisters’ video at If you wish to take part in a boycott of the Koch Brothers’ products, go to

Koch Brothers, Walton Family Get Several Spots near Top of Richest Americans List
Forbes magazine came out with their annual list of the 400 richest Americans on Monday. The Koch brothers were tied for 4th and 5th. Their combined wealth is around $84 billion. Six members of the Walton family, heirs to the Walmart fortune are on the list. Christy Walton, the richest woman in the U.S. and the world, ranks 6th with $38.2 billion in net worth. Jim Walton ranks 7th at $36.6 billion; Alice Walton ranks 8th with 35.2 billion; S. Robson Walton ranks 9th with $35.2 billion. Two other Waltons also made the list – a notable presence given that Walmart employees are well-known for being under-paid (

“It is sad that some of the people who have the most are using their wealth and power to keep other people down,” said Alliance Secretary-Treasurer Ruben Burks. “Walmart clearly has the assets to provide much better wages and benefits to their employees.”

Pennsylvania Alliance Members Speak as Part of Minimum Wage Campaign
Monday was a statewide Day of Action sponsored by the Raise the Wage PA Coalition ( Pennsylvania Alliance members joined allies and spoke at five of the  “Raise the Wage” minimum wage events across the state. One of the events was outside the Wyomissing, Pennsylvania Wal-Mart (coverage at The activists’ goal is to raise the minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 statewide.

“If we increase wages for millions of low-wage workers making less than $10 an hour, that will mean more revenue for the Social Security system, and likely a rosier financial picture for its future,” explained Wayne Burton, President of the Pennsylvania Alliance. “The minimum wage today is lower in terms of constant dollars than it was in 1968.”

Activists Collect 500,000 Petitions in order to Keep Social Security Offices Open
On Thursday, a coalition including the Alliance for Retired Americans, Social Security Works, Daily Kos, the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), and other allies demonstrated against the closing of Social Security field offices across the country. The rallies were held in Columbus, Ohio; New York City; Oakland, California; and Washington, DC. The coalition has gathered more than 500,000 signatures on a petition that states, “Help stop future Social Security office closures!” Speakers at the events demanded that Congress provide funding to stop future closures and re-open the offices that have closed. American Postal Workers Union President Mark Dimondstein was among the speakers in Washington. Alliance activist Diane Fleming told her story about how she has relied on Social Security, and the Southeast DC office nearby, for information about her benefits. Photos from Washington are at

“Congress has cut fourteen of the last sixteen SSA budget requests. And now, these cuts are being felt, as the Social Security Administration is forced to shutter dozens of field offices around the country,” said Alliance Executive Director Richard Fiesta, who also spoke at the DC rally.

In Case You Missed It: Wednesday was International Day of Older Persons
The United Nations proclaimed Wednesday, “International Day of Older Persons,” noting that the population of those over 60 is expected to reach 1.4 billion by 2030. The UN’s 2014 theme is Leaving No One Behind, Promoting a Society for All. “Older persons make wide-ranging contributions to economic and social development. However, discrimination and social exclusion persist. We must overcome this bias in order to ensure a socially and economically active, secure and healthy aging population,” said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon of South Korea.

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via Friday Alert.


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