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IBEW Members Tells Congress: Don’t Bargain Away Our Future


November 9, 2012


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The election may be over, but for Cincinnati Local 212 Assistant Business Manager Charlie Kenser, the fight to protect middle class retirement security has just begun. On Nov. 8, Kenser joined concerned union members and retirees rallying outside Sen. Rob Portman’s office to ask the senator not to put Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid on the chopping block before the end of the year.

Some corporate CEOs and elected officials are calling on Congress to support a “grand bargain” in its post-election lame-duck session, which could slash vital retirement and health benefits for working families, while maintaining tax breaks for the top 1 percent.

Says Kenser:

It would be disastrous if they went ahead with something like that. It’s not what the American people voted for.

And the numbers bear him out. Election night polling shows that 73 percent of voters see protecting Medicare and Social Security as more important than deficit reduction. And 64 percent favor maintaining the financial health of these programs by increasing taxes on the rich.

 The Cincinnati rally was just one of more than 100 events held Nov. 8 calling on elected officials not to bargain away working families’ retirement benefits.

In Binghamton, N.Y., Local 83 helped organize a downtown rally, working with community and faith leaders to tell on Rep. Richard Hanna to protect Medicare and Social Security.

Business Manager G. Leonardo Yanez says his members, most utility workers, know how harmful raising the retirement age would be.

Says Yanez:

Our message is: Don’t cut it, we need it.

Yanez said more than 100 Local 83 members are in New York City and Long Island, working on Hurricane Sandy recovery.

An open letter from union, civil rights and progressive leaders that appeared in the Washington Post Nov. 8 asks Obama and Congress to:

[H]eed the will of the voters in the lame duck and focus on rebuilding the middle class and strengthening our economy by investing in jobs, not cuts. We will forcefully oppose any budget deal that puts working families and economic recovery in jeopardy.

Click here to tell Congress to protect our future.