Terrible UAW contract

I just read my PWW and your coverage of the negative aspects of the new UAW contract was bad. You did not report on how retirees will not get their health benefits from GM anymore but from the VEBA account, and you did not report on how the UAW administrators, who are in charge of the VEBA, will see their stock portfolios rise if they do not give retirees the health benefits they need. This is a travesty. I am very, very interested in this because I have a father who is aged and sick and was in the UAW for 31 years. He will be drastically affected.

The contract also specifies that new hires will not be placed in a “defined” pension but a 401(k). This will causes problems for current retirees and people soon to retire because money will not longer be flowing into the defined pension account for them. The result: there will no longer be enough money to pay for current retirees and soon to be retirees. It is exactly the same thing that will happen to current Social Security beneficiaries and soon-to-become Social Security beneficiaries, i.e., there will not be enough money flowing into the Social Security Trust Fund, if President Bush has his way. This is what is happening in New Jersey for state government workers. My sister put in over 30 years with the state government, but Gov. Corzine’s plan to take new state employees out of the defined state pension plan and place them into 401(k)s will lead to a gigantic shortfall of monies for current retirees in the near future.

If I can’t count on you to report what working people should now for the “fight back,” I was thinking that perhaps I should cancel my subscription to the paper. Please report thoroughly, in your next issue, the negative aspects of the UAW contract.

Gary De Santis
Hamilton Township NJ

As a relatively new subscriber I have to say that I am disappointed in your coverage of the recent and extremely brief UAW strike. While your coverage is very perky and positive, I would rather hear the truth about the strike and its outcome. Frankly, the strike was showboating, and the resolution far from a win for labor. Have you people “drunk the Kool-Aid?” While I know that to come out against this outcome could cost you politically with the UAW, have you thought about the cost to your credibility by covering this event as a win for labor when it so clearly was not? I didn’t subscribe so that you could be added to the list of news outlets that I do not trust.

Michael Moriconi
South Bend IN

SCHIP action

MoveOn.org asked its members to write letters to the editor about Republicans cutting child health insurance for low-income children. MoveOn sent my letter to the New York Times, yet somehow I doubt that it will get printed. But there is one newspaper that prints what’s really on people’s minds: the People’s Weekly World!

I remember stories growing up about the evil empire, the so-called “red menace.” My parents were, of course, referring to the Soviet Union.

Little did they know there was a red menace right here in America — and they’re called Republicans.

I can’t believe that the Republicans would seriously entertain cutting children’s health insurance for low-income needy children. And I can’t believe any honest American would support them in this endeavor. Has everyone gone mad? Why is it so hard for people to care for each other? What have we come to as a nation?

Matt Parker
New York NY

Cutting Medicaid to pay for war?

I just found something in USA Today that deserves the attention of PWW. A flaw laced in a $120 billion spending bill for the imperialist war and occupation in Iraq threatens to cause many poor and/or disabled Medicaid recipients to be unable to obtain prescription drugs in the month of October. This means that people in need of pain medication will have to make do with their pain. People who have mental disorders could also fall off their meds, relapse and land right back in a mental hospital. The list of effects goes on.

Patrick McColloch
Allen TX

Free the Jena 6

I’m urging this in my e-mails. Please protest to your Members of Parliament and the U.S. ambassador in London to free the Jena 6. Racism wherever it takes place is a threat to freedom everywhere.

William Herbert Ronksley
London, UK

Good memories

I would like to thank you for the write-up on Moe Fishman (PWW 8/17-24). He was one of my mentors in the late 1940s at the Joint Anti-Fascist Refugee Committee, as a young Black woman starting out in the world and trying to become a “secretary” when that was unheard of at the time. He recruited me as his assistant when he was an accountant there. I was out of touch with him because I thought he left New York. Again, thank you for the article and the wonderful memories it brought back.

Bess Lumpkin Slifkin
Mesa AZ

ARA: anyone can join

In her otherwise excellent report on the Alliance for Retired Americans legislative conference (PWW 9/15-21), Denise Winebrenner Edwards left the mistaken impression that the ARA membership is limited to union retirees.

Although it is true that the ARA is proudly pro-union, and that union retirees make up the bulk of the membership, the organization includes thousands of activists whose background has been in community struggles against racism, for democratic rights, and around issues ranging from affordable bus fares to affordable housing, from better garbage collection to adequate funding for the public schools.

The ARA has consciously reserved slots in its national leadership for community activists, and is reaching out to the community in many ways, building coalitions, lending support to community struggles, and actively seeking to expand its community-based membership.

Any man or woman, retired or not, from labor or the community, can find a rewarding political home in the Alliance for Retired Americans. And by the way, people of any age can join.

Will Parry
Seattle WA
Will Parry is president of the Puget Sound Alliance of Retired Americans.