November 24, 2018
NYS Alliance for Retired Americans Delegation Attends ARA Convention in Las Vegas
Robert Roach, Jr. and Joseph Peters, Jr. Re-elected as Alliance Leaders
The Alliance’s 2018 National Membership Meeting took place in Las Vegas, Nevada on Tuesday through Thursday of last week. On the first day, Robert Roach, Jr., who has been President of the Alliance since September of 2015, was re-elected to a four-year term. Prior to joining the Alliance, President Roach served as the General Secretary -Treasurer of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM). In addition to thanking members, President Roach told those in attendance to speak truth to power and urged a return to civil discourse in America.
Joseph Peters, Jr., who has been Secretary-Treasurer of the Alliance since September of 2015, was also re- elected to serve four more years. Mr. Peters was previously an international representative of the UAW, having served more than ten years as regional director of UAW Region 1 in Michigan.
Jo Etta Brown of Nevada was re-elected Executive Vice President of the Alliance. Three non-union members were re-elected to the Community Advocacy Network (CAN) Board: Dr. Joseph Boffa of Massachusetts; Gail Dietrich of Nevada; and Jean Dobashi of Hawaii. Julie Horwin of Arizona, a retiree from the National Education Association (NEA), was newly elected.
National Meeting Includes Several Distinguished Speakers
Pulitzer Prize winner David Cay Johnston, a well known investigative journalist and expert on taxes and pensions who had a long career with The New York Times, addressed members and stressed that the government has been run “by and for the wealthy” over the past forty years. He said that unions are needed now more than ever to protect our hard-earned pensions, change the tax code and reduce income inequality.
Nolan Harrison, Senior Director of Former Player Services of the National Football League Players Association, spoke of the union’s role in protecting the interests of professional football players and retirees and also took questions on a wide variety of topics.
Alliance Executive Director Richard Fiesta reviewed the Alliance’s 2018 advocacy and electoral work. Renowned author Nancy Altman, an expert on Social Security and pensions and the President of Social Security Works, noted the champions of Social Security who will be in the next Congress. Ms. Altman recently published her third book on the history and importance of Social Security.
Additional notable speakers in Las Vegas included labor leaders Robert Martinez, Jr., International IAM President, and Rusty McAllister, Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the Nevada AFL-CIO. Richard Trumka, President of the AFL-CIO, and Liz Shuler, Alliance Executive Vice President and Secretary-Treasurer of the AFL-CIO, sent videotaped messages.
A special intergenerational panel featured 100-year-old legendary Illinois Alliance board member Bea Lumpkin; Lakesia Collins, an organizer for SEIUHCIIMK (Health Care Illinois- Indiana- Missouri- Kansas); and Andrea J. Fonte Weaver , Founder and Executive Director of Bridges Together.
New York State Alliance President Barry Kaufmann served as Resolutions Chair during the meeting, and dozens of Alliance members shared their personal stories on video in a booth set aside for growing the Alliance’s story bank.
Resolutions Address Improving Social Security Benefits, the Right to Vote and More
Ten resolutions were passed at the convention. They included resolutions to:
- Improve Social Security benefits
- Address Social Security office closings
- Advocate for Medicare for all
- Negotiate prescription drug prices
- Address income inequality
- Improve voting accessibility
- Oppose the Government Pension Offset and the Windfall Elimination Provision
- Remove the barriers that prevent people with disabilities from accessing facilities and services
- Protect pensions
- Take on racial injustice and human inequality
If any NYSARA Member would like a copy of any of the resolutions send an e-mail to request them.
Workshops on Advocacy Issues held
Work shops on “Alliance 101” an introduction to the Alliance for new members, “Achieving Retiree Power” on what resources are available, “Bring Events to Life with Images” on best practices for capturing your actions and publishing them, “Issues Affecting Retiree Power” on the issues that we need to address after the midterm election, “Flexing Retiree Power Through Advocacy” providing a primer on best practices for district lobby visits, “Tell Your Story; Change the World” including components of telling your story and organizing the stories of activists, and “Building Retiree Power: Membership and Alliance Planning” setting goals for the year and creating a game plan to assert retiree power in New York State.