Categories
Statements

RE Supports Rail Workers

Immediate release allowed

December 5, 2022

We Support This Country’s Rail Workers Right to Strike For Safer Working Conditions and Paid Sick Leave!

An Official Statement from Radical Elders

On December 1st the U.S. Senate voted to deny rail workers their democratic right to strike and to side again with some of the most powerful robber barons in US history, the seven Class 1 freight railroads.

For elders, the protection of railway work and its workers is essential. For Radical Elders, that social importance is enhanced by the political importance of these workers’ fighting for the right to strike over safety and paid sick days.

Radical Elders understands that, for seniors, the agreement represents the continuing abuse of a vital part of this country’s frontline workforce. Biden and Congress are carrying out the will of rail companies at the expense of those who put their lives at risk each day to get us food, water, medicine, clothing, fuel and vital equipment. The rail-based supply line is crippled after lay-offs of over 20 percent of the workforce between 2019 and 2021. These supply-line disruptions have sent prices soaring, forcing many elders to choose between some of these basics and paying their rent or mortgage and face a potentially life-threatening winter.

We should all be rallying to honor the work of rail workers and protect their security. It’s clear that President Biden and the Congress aren’t going to do that.

Eighty Democratic and Republican Senators approved President Biden’s rail contract agreement that does not contain any paid sick days for overworked rail workers, fails to address the companies’ unfair points-based attendance policy, and does nothing to improve the federal government’s oversight of the dangerous Precision Scheduled Railroading (PSR). The Senate failed to pass an amendment to guarantee the seven sick days the House passed in a separate bill Wednesday or the 15 paid sick days rail workers demanded.

“Because of PSR, our members are forced to work more hours, have less stability, suffer more stress, and receive less rest. The ask for sick leave was not out of preference, but rather out of necessity. No American worker should ever have to face the decision of going to work sick, fatigued or mentally unwell versus getting disciplined or being fired by their employer, yet that is exactly what is happening every single day on this nation’s largest freight railroads” Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees of International Teamsters (BMWED)

“This agreement,” President Biden said, “is a big win for America, a great deal for both sides. What was negotiated was so much better than anything they ever had.” The “big win” agreement calls for a 24% pay raise over 4 years (below the inflation index) and one personal day per year.

Four unions, representing the majority of the 110,000 U.S. rail workers, who handle a third of all freight, voted against the contract and oppose this week’s Senate vote: BMWED; The Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen; The Sheet Metal, Air & Transportation Workers (SMART); and the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Iron Ship Builders, Blacksmiths, Forgers & Helpers: “Congress should not have to intervene. The railroads should provide paid sick leave to its employees. They have the money to do it, and it literally would cost them a penny of every dollar of record profits to provide it. It’s only 2% of what CSX, NS and UP spent so far this year in stock buybacks. It’s literally nothing to them, yet they refuse to provide it.”

Rail workers have a strict points-based attendance policy forced upon them with no relief from either the U.S. Department of Labor or OSHA: “Workers say that they have been pushed to their physical and mental limits on the job, where they are expected to be on call 24/7 — sometimes working for weeks at a time with only one day off per month — and face a strict points-based attendance policy that quickly leads to penalties.”

Instead of the federal government using the power of the President, the Secretaries of Labor, Transportation and Commerce and the Congress they have given in to every move the rail robber barons have made to increase profits by cutting the workforce, failing to modernize and maintain equipment and rails and violating safety rules. Trying to force one worker crew on trains up to 4 miles long and PSR, have resulted in more deadly accidents across the country.

We should all unite in solidarity with rail workers and their unions to force Biden to extend President Obama’s 2015 Executive Order 13706, requiring federal contractors to provide employees with seven paid sick days annually, to cover up to now excluded rail workers. The struggle over PSR, points-based attendance continue as does the need to abolish the 1926 Railway Labor Act, which substitutes bargaining, arbitration and mediation for strikes to resolve labor disputes and for the revolutionary reform of public/worker control of rail and all transportation.

Radical Elders is a U.S.-based national organization of elder activists committed to fundamental social change. It practices democracy and intentionality.

Our website:

https://radicalelders.net

Our email:

info@radicalelders.net

Categories
Information

Audits reveal millions in Medicare Advantage Over-charges

Pretty shocking stuff published in Naked Capitalism and of importance to every elder in this country.

From Naked Capitalism

Categories
Uncategorized

Jeff Perry Presente!

Radical Elders joins so many others in mourning the death and celebrating the remarkable life of Dr. Jeffrey Perry: life-long revolutionary, scholar, analyst and leader of RE.

Jeff joined our ancestors yesterday, September 24, 8:45 am Eastern/U.S. time.

Many of us in RE met Jeff in the Puerto Rican Socialist Party. He later was a postal worker and union organizer/activist in the Post Office while he obtained his degrees including the Doctorate from Columbia University.

During his prolific life, he wrote on a wide variety of subjects but his major theme, the one he constantly returned to, was racism: the folly on which it was based and the importance of centralizing it in all our struggles in this country. He wrote and lectured on that theme extensively and he spoke frequently about it within RE, helping make it one of the principles on which we organize.

We continue that organizing, thinking of him and being inspired by his life of commitment. He will always be “presente” for us!

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Uncategorized

The FACTS on Covid

Categories
Information

Covid IS an elder disease

From January of 2020 to last month, June 2022, 1,005,236 people have died from COVID in the United States.

Of that number, 936,323 were over the age of 55.

That’s 93 percent!

COVID is an elders’ disease. Now what???

Categories
Statements

ON THE ONGOING COVID CRISIS

A Statement by Radical Elders

Radical Elders denounces the criminally negligent response to the ongoing threat to the lives and survival of all vulnerable people posed by the continuing COVID-19 pandemic as the latest Omicron variants infect more than 100,000 new people in this country every day (a number that because only counts reported positive tests could be actually ten time as high when unreported positives, and untested infected people are added in).

We demand a fundamental policy change now!

There’s a reason why the US, the world’s richest country, has had the highest death rate from the pandemic of modern industrialized nations.

The U.S. government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic has always been driven primarily by capitalist concern for the economy and a focus on how favored companies could make money off of it while ignoring the threat posed to the 100 million or so Americans particularly vulnerable because of age, poverty, reliance on mass transit, inadequate or non-existent medical insurance, and the many medical and physical issues related to those conditions.

Rules regarding mask-wearing, which public health experts know should still be worn in all enclosed spaces, have been dropped to exploit the ignorance of some potential voters and benefit capitalist employers more interested in profit than public health. Free PCR tests — the only tests that can assure that a person is not infectious before associating with others— have ended — replaced with quick antigen tests that are often falsely negative when infected people have no symptoms, giving millions daily the deadly, false illusion people are free of the virus, not contagious and are safe to go to work, school or get on public transit.

People, including many in the service industries, are being forced to return to in-person work situations without adequate protections and measures designed to prevent virus spread. Such actions are almost certain to produce Omicron infection.

Eldercare facilities, housing the most vulnerable people, are still plagued by absent or inadequate protection measures and have long been among the leading situations for virus spread.

The country’s prisons cram two million people into cages, denying them tests and vaccines, in a situation perfect for disseminating disease, which then gets spread to guards and visiting relatives who in turn deliver the virus to their families and the world outside the prison walls.

“This threat to elders, among whom African Americans, Latinos & Native Americans have the highest infection and death rates, must end immediately.”

We demand:

*  That beginning immediately, this threat to the elderly and other vulnerable populations end and public health policy going forward be founded on concern for society’s vulnerable, not on professed concerns about the economy, profits or the political demands of people who selfishly only care about their own convenience and don’t care about those who are at risk in society. 

* That PCR testing, rapid tests, Covid vaccinations and N-95 masks all be made available free in all public spaces — train stations, schools, churches, workplaces, libraries, town halls, health care centers, etc.

* That the Medicare program be immediately expanded by a national emergency health crisis executive order to cover the health care of people of all ages, and that this expansion then be extended not just while Covid continues to spread, but permanently.

Put simply, we will not accept being ignored or neglected at this time of health crisis.

We demand the means to protect ourselves from this killer epidemic.

Radical Elders is a U.S.-based national organization of elder activists committed to fundamental social change. It practices democracy and intentionality.

https://radicalelders.net
Categories
Announcements

June 28 video

 

This is the video of our June 28 gathering. Two hours in length. This is a Youtube video.

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Statements

Free Mumia!

On July 3, journalist/activist and Radical Elders member Mumia Abu-Jamal will have been caged by the state for more than 40 years with thirty years spent on Death Row, after a thoroughly corrupt trial and after a demonstrably racist judge misinformed his mainly white jury they could not individually find him not guilty. The majority of these four decades he has been held in solitary confinement, with no hope of parole. Since his unconstitutional death sentence was overturned he has been a victim of multiple government efforts to execute him in prison through neglect and denial of medical care. Through it all, Mumia has maintained a posture of principled outspoken opposition to all oppression and a refusal to buckle under the unspeakable pressure brought against him.

We Radical Elders, an organization whose founding conference was addressed by Mumia, demand that he be immediately freed given the corrupt prosecution and appeal process that sent him to prison and has kept him there. We want Mumia to be present at our next gathering.

We call on all movements for justice and change to join the world, July 3 and demand Mumia’s immediate release.

Categories
Meetings

Oct. 27th Meeting

This is a video of the plenary portions of the October 27 gathering of elders to discuss where we are and what we might do. It picks up right after the pre-recorded welcome by Mumia Abu-Jamal.