January 22, 2015

Our Conventions Get Better and Better

The Texas Alliance for Retired Americans held its state convention in Austin on January 20. Delegates came from Austin, of course, plus Corpus Christi, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio. Many of the delegates were retirees from different unions, but a goodly number were community activists. The 48 participants made it the largest convention so far. The speakers and the general enthusiasm made it the best!

All three officers were re-elected by acclamation. In fact, one enthusiastic delegate motioned to double all our salaries. It passed unanimously before someone announced that the officers don’t get paid anything anyway, so the vote doubled zero! Gene Lantz is President, Tony Padilla is Secretary, and Elaine Jones is Treasurer.

Here are some of the Vice Presidents selected at the convention: Barbara Rojas representing community activists, Jim Rivers representing the Communications Workers, Lewis Fulbright representing the Postal Clerks, Cleaburn Zwernemann representing the Teachers, and Brenda Warner representing the Auto Workers. Other Vice Presidents will be selected by other organizations showing support for the Alliance. A few vice presidents are also chosen to make sure that every section of Texas is represented on the Executive Board. Click here for some photos of the caucuses,

The convention spent very little time on business, but focused instead on the tremendous challenges that Texas retirees are facing. The Employee Retirement System that is supposed to provide pensions for state workers, is around $7.5 billion in the hole! In fact, many many pensions are underfunded, and the federal agency supposedly guaranteeing pension benefits, or at least part of them, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, is also underfunded. As organizer Judy Bryant told the convention, it is no secret that top Republicans in the U.S. Congress intend to undermine Social Security, and retiree health benefits. We are particularly alarmed because they want to privatize Medicare.

The Alliance convention was a good launching spot for our next action, “Retiree Day” at the State Capitol on February 17. Contact Judy Bryant (see below) to arrange transportation to Austin.

Before July 30, we will be stirring up as many public actions as possible in defense of Medicare. July 30th is its 50th birthday. The Texas Alliance intends to help set up actions all over the state and hereby solicits input from everyone who wants to save the right to retire in America!

-Gene Lantz, President

PLEASE contribute any amount, or make a monthly pledge, to Texas Alliance for Retired Americans by clicking here.

Sign our petition to Dallas Mayor Rawlings asking him to stop pushing to privatize the school district.

We’re also still gathering petitions for health care implementation in Texas. Sign that petition at:

http://afl.salsalabs.com/o/4055/c/1254/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=4684

Contact Gene Lantz at labordallas@sbcglobal.net

Judy Bryant at 214-729-0063

facebook: Texas Alliance for Retired Americans

Twitter: @Tx4TARA

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