June 03, 2015

Texas Needs More Leadership

As always, most of our Dallas Chapter meeting was concerned with actions of the past, future, and present. But this time we also took the time to discuss the need to develop ourselves and others as leaders. American workers and retirees are under attack today as never before in our lifetimes. The right to retire is assailed by corporate bosses.

To save our right to retire, we have to repeat what we did to win the right to retire in the first place: organize. The Texas Alliance for Retired Americans has a pretty good system for organizing retirees. First of all, we look for existing retiree groups and add them to our network. Secondly and probably most important, we form our own chapters which are open to everybody who supports the right to retire — young or old, union members or not union members, rich or poor – anybody that can help. The Dallas chapter is a wonderful example of a fighting unit of the retiree uprising that is needed today.

But how do we improve our efforts and train new organizers to start more retiree organizations? The best training is on-the-job training. People who undertake a task learn more from it than they ever will from abstract study. President Franklin D Roosevelt said, “It is common sense to take a method and try it: if it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something.”

Nevertheless, a statewide leadership training effort can help a great deal, too. Our Dallas chapter members took a short survey to see what kind of training would be best. A short version of the survey is on line and everyone is invited to add their ideas. Click Here for the survey.

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Activists at our Dallas meeting participated in the “National Call-In Day” to try to stop “Fast Track” and the latest unfair trade deal. We called 1-888-804-8311. The operator asked us for our zip code, then connected us to our U.S. Representative’s office where we registered our opinions. Some of us made the point that the “Fast Track” package being considered would cut Medicare $700 million to pay for another program called Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA). TAA is money for the many workers who lose their jobs because of unfair trade! There’s a video about it at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_QzXKr3jktk. Bob Cash of Texas Fair Trade Watch told us about the $700 million and also that unfair trade would hurt seniors by letting pharmaceutical companies charge whatever they want for prescription drugs!

Next, we reviewed our successful fundraiser on May 29. Judy Bryant had some photos that she projected onto the wall. Several people commented about how much fun they had and what a good effort it had been. Judy thanked the many who helped.

But we can’t dwell on our past successes for long, because we have important work ahead. A large Texas delegation is going to the national Legislative Conference in Washington DC on July 7-10. Several of us are arranging our transportation to go to the Statewide Conference at 4 PM July 16 at the Sheraton in downtown Austin.

Our public Medicare events on and around the 50th anniversary, July 30, are especially critical since Congress is trying to privatize and “voucherize” Medicare so insurance companies can take it over. So far, we have events in Austin July 25, Dallas July 30, and Hurst July 23. We’re looking to set up even more events.

Dallas Chapter President George Nolan summed up our entire attitude: “It’s action that count!”

–Gene Lantz, President

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

Take our leadership training survey by clicking here.

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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