It is the goal of this local to represent every member to its fullest; to protect your rights as an individual and as a worker and to ensure your safety on the job. This local will do everything within its means to further the principles of the United Steelworkers: that all members are treated fairly, paid justly for their work and afforded the respect and dignity they deserve. This local is here to serve you and I am honored to serve as your president. Kevin McKelvey President local 2227
U.S. Sen. Sanders, Rep. Peter DeFazio introduce bills to strengthen benefits.
Washington, D.C. (Mar. 7)
Leo W. Gerard, President of the United Steelworkers (USW) today released a letter supporting today’s introduction of legislation by U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) cosponsored by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) to strengthen Social Security by making the wealthiest Americans pay the same payroll tax that nearly everyone else already pays.
Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) introduced the companion bill in the House. The legislation is titled: ‘Keeping Our Social Security Promises Act of 2013.’
“The United Steelworkers is proud to stand with you and support this vital legislation to protect the integrity and longevity of our nation’s retirement system,” Gerard wrote. “Your bill will make Social Security fully solvent for the next 75 years and do so without having to take the damaging actions some have so callously called for; such as raising the retirement age, or cutting modest benefits that often are the difference between a retirement lived in dignity, or one lived in fear and poverty.”
Sen. Sanders announced the bill at a press event in the U.S. Capitol, saying: “Social Security is the most successful government program in our nation's history. Through good times and bad, Social Security has paid out every benefit owed to every eligible American.” He added: “The most effective way to strengthen Social Security for the future is to eliminate the cap on the payroll tax on income above $250,000 so millionaires and billionaires pay the same share as everyone else.”
Reid said of Sen. Sanders’ legislation: “His legislation should make people think twice before assuming that the only way to strengthen Social Security is to take away benefits that seniors have earned, or raise taxes on the middle class.”
Under their legislation, those with yearly incomes of $250,000 or more would pay the same 6.2 percent payroll tax already assessed on those who earn up to $113,700 a year. Applying the Social Security payroll tax on income above $250,000 would only affect the wealthiest 1.3 percent of Americans, according to the Center for Economic and Policy Research.
Since it was signed into law 77 years ago, Social Security has kept millions of senior citizens, widows, widowers, orphans, and the disabled out of poverty. According to Sen. Sanders, it is the most successful government program in our nation's history and has not contributed to the federal deficit.
Republicans Plan to Cancel Health Insurance Benefits
Republicans in Congress have announced their intention to repeal the new health insurance reform legislation, and all of its benefits for senior citizens, people with pre-existing conditions and children.
The GOP wants to vote to rescind the benefits provided under the Affordable Care Act before President Obama’s State of the Union speech in January.
U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., provides on his website a description of the new law’s benefits – benefits that Pennsylvanians would lose if Republicans successfully repeal the Affordable Care Act. Sen. Casey’s account is accurate for other states as well, with the only difference the number of people who would suffer if the GOP succeeds.
For example, the Senator notes that the new law already has provided two important benefits, the small business health care tax credit and the health insurance program for people who have pre-existing conditions and who have been denied health insurance.
In addition, the senator’s website notes that beginning in January, Medicare beneficiaries will be able to get an annual wellness visit.
A comprehensive guide to the law’s benefits for Pennsylvanians, which applies residents of all states, also is posted on the Senator’s site. It notes, for example, that the new law, according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, will provide coverage for 32 million uninsured people while reducing the federal deficit by $143 billion over the next decade. And it notes that the law empowers the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and state insurance commissioners to review new plans that announce egregious premium increases.
These are just some of the benefits that Republicans seek to deny Americans, while, at the same time, increasing the national deficit.
Kevin: As I reported earlier they say Health Care doesn't matter. Take a moment and watch this video and tell me different.
The story of Travis Turner, the son of a Steelworker brother, will touch your heart. And remind you why the Affordable Care Act is hope delivered.
When Travis Turner was 9 months old he was diagnosed with a rare form of liver cancer and almost died. His father, Craig, is a member of USW Local 7248 in Ohio, and the family had good, union-negotiated health care through work.
But just three months later, while fighting for his life in the intensive care unit, Travis was kicked off his father's plan because the cost of the baby's care had reached the $1 million cap set by the insurance company. Now, at age 7, Travis is a happy, healthy first-grader. And thanks to the Affordable Health Act championed by President Obama, he's back on his family's insurance.
Watch Travis' inspirational story then help spread the word.
Vacation Issue Resolved
There has always been an issue with respect to eligibility for the $250/week Vacation Bonus as called for in the contract when one retires. Note actual Basic Labor Agreement language below:
A vacation bonus of $250 per week will be paid to Employees for each week of vacation taken from work in the ten (10) consecutive calendar week period beginning with the first full week following the calendar week containing New Year's Day.
At question was whether a member had to return to work, say following a five week period of vacation, prior to retiring in order to be eligible for the weekly bonus. Early on there was some confusion between the Parties, with the Company sighting the operable phrase in the above language, “vacation taken from work” to mean that if you did not have a clock ring-in with a few hours or so on your card, after vacation and prior to commencing retirement, you would be ineligible for the bonus payment. So we advised members to return to work for a few hours following vacation.
Well, that matter has now been clarified by IR and Payroll... A member does not have to have “time worked on his/her card” (ring-in/ring-out) for some length of time, but rather the retirement date has to simply be AFTER the vacation period. As long as the pension effective date is subsequent to the end of the vacation period, members will be eligible for vacation bonus for each week of vacation taken with no need to return to the plant.
USW Local 2227
1301 Philip Murray Road West Miflin, Pennsylvania