UAW Local 848-Retirees Corner

< Back to UAW 848

Come Join Us!

Local 848's Retirees hold their covered-dish luncheon at 11 AM each Second Thursday at the union hall. Everybody who retired as a union member, and their spouses, are invited. We usually hold a short discussion of retiree issues before we enjoy our meal.

The union local supplies the main course.

Local 848's retirees are active in our union local. We also participate with the UAW Area Council and with the Texas Alliance for Retired Americans.

Retirees have a lot of problems that we can solve if we work together. Please join us!



For updates on Texas retiree issues, click here.

For a look at Local 848's past, click here.

Please see our NEW website -

click here to go to the retiree section.

Retiree Meeting - December 13, 2012

We Teach History

By: Gene Lantz

One never knows what enriching experience might be had at a UAW Local 848 retiree luncheon. On January 10th, our regular 2nd Thursday meeting, we found out that Trini (Mrs Rudy) Vaquera had come from Crystal City, Texas, where militant Chicanos carried out an insurrection in the early 1970s.

Trini was nice enough to share some of her story with us. She was born into one of the poor Chicano families on the “wrong side of the tracks” in the tiny agricultural town of Crystal. Anglos owned all the land and controlled all the politics. The Mexican Americans who, long ago, had been proprietors, worked in the fields for long hours and low wages. Trini’s own mother would be gone throughout the spring and summer months, because she had to follow the harvests all over the western half of the United States.

But Trini managed to get an education and then went home to become a schoolteacher in Crystal. Around 1971, a young radical named Jose Angel Gutierrez roused the Chicanos of Crystal to become active politically. They swept all the local elections. Jose Angel became the County Judge, the highest office of Zavala County. A young high-school student was elected to the school board. His name was Roberto Alonzo, and he is currently the Texas State Representative serving the part of Dallas that includes our union hall.

Anglos were horrified at the uprising in Crystal, and it inspired a movement for political activism throughout the United States. Since then, it has been the subject of a dramatic play and a public television documentary.

Trini did not know it, but one of the early union organizers who tried to organize the Del Monte spinach cannery in Crystal was Pancho Medrano, a UAW International Rep who got his start in our union.

Among the retirees listening in our audience on January 10th was Dan McGrew, whose father was an organizer for the United Mine Workers in legendary Thurber, Texas. He, too, has fascinating stories.

A person can learn a lot at our monthly retiree meetings. And the food is terrific, too!

Trini & Rudy Vaquera

Retiree Meeting - December 13, 2012

Retirees Have a Great Christmas

By Gene Lantz

“Fall on your knees, O Hear the Angels Voices!” the thrilling soprano voice rose through the union hall and inspired our Local 848 retiree meeting with love and Christmas. Actress and singer Karri Atchley of the Actor’s Guild union was our guest singer at the regular 2nd Thursday luncheon on December 13. She sang two traditional Christmas song before ending with a bang on “O Holy Night!”

Even though retirees were threatened with major cuts in ongoing fiscal negotiations, it was all peace on Earth and goodwill to men. Several retirees performed for videos showing their support for Walmart employees who are trying to organize during these hard times.

Chairman Gene Lantz, who is also the President of the Texas Alliance for Retired Americans, encouraged seniors to attend the Alliance’s state convention January 5th in the AFL-CIO headquarters in Austin. As always, we acknowledged birthdays and anniversaries before having our drawing for door prizes. Lunch was headlined by turkey and ham, supported by wonderful side dishes brought from home.

Retiree Meeting - October 11, 2012

Retiree Power Growing

By Gene Lantz

While most meetings of all kinds are gradually losing participants, Local 848’s monthly retiree meetings are reversing the trend. The mailing that we did in September brought more people to the October 11 meeting than we have had in some years. Additionally, more V-CAP money is flowing into UAW coffers. During the meeting, Frances Smith volunteered to head a committee that will investigate whether or not there is anything we can do to improve the number of new retirees and spouses that choose to continue participating with their union.

From the mailing, a total of $15 in new monthly pledges to V-CAP were returned to our hall. During the October meeting, V-CAP retiree rep Wallace Manuel collected another $12 in monthly pledges. Doesn’t sound like much? Figure that $27/month equals $324/year. Prior to the time that Local 848 became the only aerospace local with paycheck deduction for V-CAP, our total amount raised came only from the annual sale of UAW Region 5 cruise tickets. The October increase alone will, over the coming year, raise more than 8 times as much as we raised from 2012 cruise tickets!

We are always glad to get the latest union news, but all of the news at our October meeting was not good. President Romeo Munoz announced the untimely death of Region 5 Director Jim Wells as of September 27. He said that the region is in the process of electing a replacement, and that Gary Jones of Oklahoma, currently the Assistant Director, had been nominated. “Gary is a great leader,” Munoz said.

The sale of the Jefferson Plant, which we have dreaded for the past two months, occurred on October 5th, according to a letter from Triumph Aerostructures. Management said that the consequences had not been fully determined and that, “we are committed to keeping you informed.” Presumably, the only way that jobs can be saved is if Triumph manages to come to an agreement with the new owners.

President Munoz then talked about the great importance of these elections.

UAW 848 Benefits Coordinator Craig Melton brought more bad news. He said that Triumph expects to raise the cost of health care for a number of our retirees next January. Older retirees would not be affected, but those who became eligible to retire after January 1993 and were still not eligible for Medicare (age 65) would face a stiff increase in health care costs. For example, a retiree with over 30 years of service would have to pay $455/month and a spouse would have to pay $618 under the company’s plan. Melton said that UAW experts are going over all the figures, but that those certain retirees might need to start thinking about another health care provider.

On the upside, retirees had a great time visiting and getting caught up . Bill and JoAnn Palmore announced their 50th wedding anniversary to a round of applause. The retirees who helped with the last mailing were hailed, as was our very inventive Executive Board member Mable Jones. We had barbecue and a great luncheon!

Retiree Mail-Out - September 14, 2012

Retirees Reach Out

Seven of Local 848's finest retirees voluntarily gathered at the hall on September 14 to stuff and mail over 1,200 letters to Vought/Triumph retirees. Charles Edick, Gene Lantz, Joe and Linda Silva, Gary Underwood, and Harrold and Pat Zoch put in a long six hours on the project.

The letters congratulated the retirees on receiving their annual union-negotiated bonus and asked them to fill out a blue card for a monthly pledge to the UAW V-CAP program. It is true that retirees and all members can make individual contributions, but the monthly pledges actually raise a lot more money. A simple pledge of $5/month, for example, adds up to $60/year!

Since Local 848 became the first and only aerospace union to negotiate a pension deduction program, we've raised about 6 times as much per year as we ever raised before! It would be easy to envision raising far more money if a larger percentage of retirees were participating.

The blue cards are always available at the hall, but the last three questions are difficult and unnecessary. Local 848's V-CAP Rep, Billy Brown, is going to try to get the cards simplified.

The text of the letter is below:

September 14, 2012

Dear union brothers and sisters,

You'll be glad to know that those who retired from Vought received their union-negotiated September bonus. Even though troubles are always with us, your union is working hard to keep the jobs in Grand Prairie and to continue doing our best for retirees.

You and your spouse are always invited to the retiree luncheons every 2nd Thursday at 11 AM. You are welcome to bring a covered dish, but the local union pays for the meat. We always have a great time with old friends, and we catch up on information that concerns us. We also plan outings and get discounts.

There is a lot that you can do to help. Local 848 has a pension-deduction program for our V-CAP political program. If you read the papers at all, you already know how important it is that we be able to fight the political attacks against retirees. If you can contribute, please fill out the enclosed card the best you can. The only vital information is your signature and the amount you would like to give per month. The last three blanks of the UAW card have been a problem for some folks. Just put "848" where it says "local," ignore the one about "Int'l Area Council" and put your clock number, if you have it, where it asks for your "Pension File or Retirement No." Please call us at 972-264-2431 with any questions. Send the card as soon as you can to the union hall, 2218 E Main, Grand Prairie, TX, 75050.

Come on to the next retiree luncheon, October 11. Bring your spouse. We'd be so pleased to have you!

In solidarity,

Gene Lantz, Retiree Chairman
Billy Brown, V-CAP Representative
Romeo Munoz, UAW 848 President

Retirees Gary Underwood, Joe Silva, and Harrold Zoch
help stuff, address, and stamp envelopes for the retiree V-CAP mail-out.

Retiree Meeting - August 9, 2012

Retirees Will Make a Difference

Local 848’s International Rep, Wendell Helms, addressed our August retiree luncheon on the 9th. He began by reminding us how widely we are appreciated in the UAW: “You are the only aerospace union in the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico to have V-CAP checkoff!” Because retirees from Triumph can have V-CAP donations deducted from their pensions, we raise much more political money than similar locals.

Helms went on to talk about the importance of retirees in the political equation. He said, “Talk to your grandkids. They listen to what you have to say!” He added, “This new generation needs you. They need your wisdom. They need your knowledge!”

Helms said that President Obama and the Democrats have earned our support. “The first bill that he signed was about women’s equality,” Helms said. “He stands for working people. He stands for the poor.” On the other side, Helms said that the Republican-sponsored budget would cost every retiree $6,000 per year in Medicare and Medicaid coverage.

Billy Brown, Local 848’s V-CAP Rep, congratulated the retirees on the great job we’ve done in politics so far, but added, “It’s now time to roll up our sleeves, because now is when we really go to work.” During the question and answer session, Wallace Manuel rose to say, “You’re right, it’s time for the seniors to step up!”

And Local 848’s seniors are stepping up. On suggestions from the Executive Board, the group projected doing a mailing to all retirees with a target date of September 14. We will push even harder to raise political money through V-CAP by selling cruise tickets and urging seniors to sign up for the checkoff program. We will continue to look for ways to apply our telephone skills to get better political participation. We will reach out to our own members and, while doing so, we will set an example for all Texas retirees.

The meeting wasn’t all serious. We joked around during the drawing and birthday celebration. We had a great lunch of fried fish and dishes that we brought from our homes.

Retiree Meeting - July 12, 2012

Fight for Those Who Fight for Us!

Local 848 V-CAP Rep Billy Brown told our retiree chapter, "These people we're endorsing are fighting for us!" at the July 12 monthly luncheon. Brown profusely thanked the retirees for the work they are doing in collecting V-CAP money and supporting labor's candidates.

The days when retirees could stand aside and let everybody else do the political work are all over. Local 848's retirees show a tremendous lot of insight and even more enthusiasm as they discuss the latest developments. There were no motions passed at the July meeting.

The retirees had barbecue and some delicious homemade side dishes. Danny Hazelip's garden added a lot of fresh home grown vegetables to our table.

Retiree Meeting - June 14, 2012

Retirees Eat Good!

Anybody remember the last time they ate homemade fried pies? How about garden fresh tomatoes? Homemade red beans and cornbread? Local 848 retirees had all these things, a bunch of other homemade dishes, even more sweets, and fried chicken at their June 14th 2nd Thursday monthly meeting. Just be there by 11 AM on July 12th, or any 2nd Thursday, to join the fun.

Mable Casey brought a big sackful of presents honoring the men for Fathers’ Day. Charles Edick recited his own poem in honor of Flag Day. President Romeo Munoz gave us a summary of the May 29th primary election. He said that our union had done an outstanding job, but will be working hard again for the July 31st runoff.

Retiree Chairman Gene Lantz encouraged members to volunteer to telephone our own members before July 31st. He also encouraged all retirees over 65 years old to vote by mail. Applications are easy to get by calling county election offices or the Texas Secretary of State. Also, we have some applications at the union hall.

Our local union retirees are leaders among all union retirees, and union retirees are the best voters in America. Local 848 tries to be the best of the best!

--Gene Lantz

Retiree Meeting - May 10, 2012

Retirees Pitch In

Local 848's retirees are strongly involved in the 2012 election campaign. They have to be, because they have a good idea what would happen if labor's candidates falter this year.

The Republican-dominated House of Representatives has passed a budget that would deal out cuts for retirees and working families while serving up even more tax cuts for the wealthy. Fortunately, they haven't been able to get it past the Senate or the President, but they would if they could win the 2012 elections.

When retirees show up for our weekly get-out-the-vote (GOTV) effort, they are not ordinarily required to run in and out of cars and door-to-door. Rather, they drive the cars and let younger people do the running. One thing that retirees are especially good at is calling people on the telephone, and our program of calling our members from the hall is in full swing.

Most political observers believe that the runoff races in July will be of great importance, especially in Congressional District 33, where our union hall is located. Eleven Democrats registered for the primary, but only two of them will slug it out in July.

Retiree Meeting - April 12, 2012

Local 848 Retirees Recognize Old Friends

On April 12, Brother Joe Silva rang out a special welcome for three men who were attending their first retiree luncheon. Silva was one of the "mighty 65" dedicated unionists who were fired for union activities during our 1984-85 fight with LTV management. He said that William Palmore, John Holmes, and Sammy Matthews had been good fighters within the plant while Joe Silva and the other firees were standing outside.

Holmes and Palmore were NC Machinists in the high bay area and members of the infamous "F Troop" of union supporters. They wore red buttons with white "F's" on their hats. As far as is known, the meaning of "F Troop" was never revealed. Union members tried just about everything in that long, dreadful, but successful fight for union dignity.
The retirees heard a special presentation in song from Civil Rights Committee Chair Johnnie Welch. She wowed them with the old gospel song, "Just a Closer Walk with Thee." The retirees then chowed down on a delicious barbecue luncheon.

Retiree Meeting - March 8, 2012

Union Is Critically Situated

By Gene Lantz

UAW Local 848 is in the center of one of the most important congressional districts in Texas. Congressional District 33 takes in most of Southeast Fort Worth and Southwest Dallas plus a strip in between that includes our union hall and the Triumph plant. Our speaker, Marc Veasey, is presently a Texas Rep from District 95 in Ft Worth and is one of five announced candidates for this special district.

Veasey says that Texas Democrats suffered from the Republican-dominated redistricting process. Even though 79% of the new Texans in the census were “minority” people, they received only 25% of the four new congressional districts created! The only so-called “minority” district is our District 33. Veasey was endorsed by the Tarrant County AFL-CIO.

He said that the biggest issue in the elections will be jobs. The extended jobs crisis is bad for everybody, but it’s even worse for the Latinos and African Americans living in CD33. Another issue of special interest to our retirees is voter suppression, because so many older people may find it much harder to vote in the near future because of Republican-backed changes in election laws.

President Romeo Munoz asked Veasey several pointed questions and was pleased with the responses. Veasey is proud of his 100% pro-labor record in the State House, and expects to carry it on in the U.S. Congress. He will continue his Labor Steering Council. He told the retirees, “I don’t play any games. I’ve always been for labor. 100%!”

Retiree Was UAW in 1942

By Gene Lantz

Dan McGrew, a regular at Local 848’s retiree luncheons, was with the United Auto Workers at a Lockheed facility in Dallas’ Love Field in 1942. He brought his October pay stub to the March, 2012, meeting. It showed that he worked 81 hours and his Lead Man pay was 85 cents per hour. He paid $1.25 in union dues.

He left Lockheed when he was drafted into the Army Air Corps. He flew 35 bombing missions, including two over Berlin! In 1948, he started work at Temco, which was at that time the eastern part (Building One) of what we now call the Triumph Plant. Before he was on the job for two hours, the tool crib attendant signed him up for UAW Local 390. Local 390 became part of 848 in a three-way merger in 1962. Dan worked as a “fluid mechanic” in hydraulics until he finally retired April, 1982.

Unions have been an important part of Dan McGrew’s life since he was born 95 years ago in Thurber, Texas. Thurber is the only all-union town in Texas history. The United Mine Workers organized every worker in the town, even delivery boys! After oil replaced Thurber coal, they continued to make bricks there. Their bricks, clearly marked “Thurber” may still be seen around Texas. Dan keeps three of them as reminders of his father’s days in the Mine Workers Union. At our March luncheon, he showed people a photo of his father with his first car in 1907 and another picture of his dad, Lee McGrew, with Mine Worker leaders in Fort Worth. One of the assembly is the legendary leader of the Mine Workers, John L. Lewis!


Retiree Meeting - February 9, 2012

Local 848’s February meeting, like all of those since September, was well attended and upbeat. We decided to send our retiree chairman, who is also the President of the Texas Alliance for Retired Americans, to a national retiree conference. Bad news was next.

Whoever is in charge of health care premiums and pension payments at Triumph has apparently made a number of serious blunders. In their February pension statements, several retirees at our meeting noticed that major deductions had been made in error. Several reported that their health care deduction had risen by $85, which is an unfortunate part of the union’s 1992 contract, so nothing can be done for them. But other retirees, even those who retired before that contract, were being unfairly penalized in their February pensions. Local 848’s Benefits Coordinator, Craig Melton, had told us that a good many retirees in North Texas and even in other states were ringing his phone off the hook to complain. Melton hopes that all the discrepancies will be fixed by the March payments. Meantime, retirees who suspect that their pensions have been reduced illegally should write down their names, clock numbers, and the amounts being deducted as monthly health care costs and send it to him at the hall. The address is 2218 E Main, Grand Prairie, TX 75050.

There was no panic. It is a testament to Craig Melton and to UAW 848 that our retirees fully expect the union to make sure that they are not taken advantage of.

The retirees then went on to celebrate Valentine’s Day. Mabel Casey had prepared presents for everyone for the occasion. We acknowledged our birthdays and anniversaries, had our door prizes, and then cleared the way for a short but very serious discussion about voter suppression.

Texas politicians are trying to take away voter rights through unfair redistricting and with a new “Voter ID” law. Both of these efforts are being reviewed by federal authorities before being put into effect. The National Alliance for Retired Americans is calling for all of us to join the fight against voter suppression, and the Texas Alliance is already working on plans.

Local 848 retirees older than 65 were asked to use the Texas vote-by-mail system, to learn how it works, and to recommend it to other people who are over 65, disabled, or who will be out of their home county on election day. Each of those categories of voters are allowed to vote by mail. The “Voter ID” law does not affect the laws on voting by mail.

Linda Silva, who is already well versed on voting by mail, helped explain the process to our retirees individually.

Retiree Meeting - January 12, 2012

AFL-CIO Speaks to Retirees
Local 848’s Retirees had a lot more than barbecue and good fellowship at our January 12 meeting. We also absorbed words of wisdom from the leading union leader in Dallas County, Jim McCasland. McCasland started with words of appreciation for the struggles of our retirees and others who made America great. He said, “Your generation created the middle class in America. You have taught me all I know!”

Right now, the challenges of the present and future may seem even more important than the battles behind. McCasland said, “You, as union retirees, are the last bastion of defense for all the retirees in America.” The organized section of the working class, which has recently shrunk to as low as 10%, McCasland said, is defending everybody. We are the only ones capable of defending workers in today’s situation. He re-stated, “The 10% organized are protecting the 90% who have no unions.”

Jim McCasland assessed the current situation bluntly, “Class warfare is what’s going on today.”

In the question and answer session, retirees wanted to know why promises are being broken and many of them do not have the health coverage or other benefits that they earned. Brother Joe Hill said that when he retired, he was told, “You have insurance for the rest of your life.” Only two years later, he was hit with cuts. Nadine Keenum asked why Medicare is not paying for our necessities. Ed Reach had some choice words to say about Republican candidate Ron Paul, “…who wants to take us back to the 1840s.” He listed some of the things we have enjoyed because the government has stopped the corporations from taking away everything. Wallace Manuel said, “Unions are doing better today because there is hope.”

McCasland responded to the questions. He said that Voter ID continues to be a big issue for retirees because Republicans are actually trying to limit our voting rights. He said that Texas redistricting is the biggest issue today. “Thank goodness for the Voters Rights Act of 1965,” he said. The Supreme Court is trying to decide whether or not the Texas districts comply with the Act. Said McCasland, “The rich in America have fought all our lives to keep us down and with no power. There truly is a divide in America between the 1% and the 99%.”

Our speaker said that retirees are already doing the right thing by going to meetings and speaking up for the truth as we see it at every opportunity. “Just being at this meeting shows you are on track to do the right thing,” he said.

Retiree Meeting - December 8, 2011

2012 is Full of Opportunities

The coming year will be “full of opportunities” according to Jim Rivers, Legislative Director for Communications Workers of America Local 6201 in Fort Worth. He spoke at Local 848’s retiree luncheon on December 8th. Rivers began with a brief look at the world situation. He said that there were strikes and protests going on all over the world, and that they were caused by the same problems that we have in America. Among those problems are efforts to undermine or get rid of retiree benefits.

Rivers said that the main problem in America is jobs. If people don’t have jobs, then payroll taxes won’t be collected and social programs like Social Security and Medicare will face tough times. But on our side of the fight, we have the numbers, Rivers said. “Look at Egypt! Look at the size of their mass outpourings,” he told the retirees. Rivers said that big American corporations are sitting on $2 trillion that could be invested in important projects and good jobs. “If corporations won’t do it,” Rivers said, “the government should step in!”

The Communications Workers leader then went over the last couple of national elections. Americans won big in 2008, eh said, and excellent pro-labor legislation resulted. In 2010, we lost mightily, and working people have been under attack since then. The upcoming election year holds great promise, but people need to get involved and then work on getting everyone else involved, he said. Retirees responded to Brother Rivers with a few piercing questions and then a mighty round of applause.

At the same meeting, retirees decided to start having stretching opportunities before our 11 AM starting time. We also decided to make name tags available to everyone when they come in so that we can get to know one another more easily. By a big majority, the retirees decided that 11:15 AM is the cutoff to get tickets for door prizes. We welcome latecomers, but they won’[t get a ticket for prizes.

As a special treat arranged by Financial Secretary Dale Johns, Christmas poinsettias were added to our usual door prizes. Also thanks to the Financial Secretary, the main courses of ham and turkey were delicious!

Lupe Gomez with her poinsettia

Retiree Meeting - November 10, 2011

Retiree Meetings Just Get Better

Local 848's retirees continued to improve their attendance at the November 10th luncheon. They were especially glad to welcome their Sergeant at ARms, James Lambert back after an injury had kept him away for several months.

Former State Legislator Chris Turner spoke on the importance of Veterans' Day. During the Q&A session, he also filled the retirees in on important developments concerning Voter ID laws and redistricting.

Chaplain Gene Cates led a special presentation on Veterans' Day, then our many veterans came forward to receive the local's new sew-on patches and statements honoring veterans. Because there were too many veterans to fit in one picture, they were photographed as World War II veterans, Korean era veterans, and then all the more recent veterans.

Retiree meeting in progress                                                        Veterans - Korea                                                                        Veterans - WWII

Retiree Meeting - October 13, 2011

Vought Retirees Get Flu Shots

The October 13th retiree luncheon happily acknowledged the success of the Vought Negotiating Committee on getting the company to offer free flu shots to retirees for the first time in several years. Retirees can go in the Flagpole Gate, where the guards will tell them where to park and issue a temporary badge. Then they go into the medical clinic to get their free shot.

The retirees were inspired by the "Occupy Wall Street" movement and decided to explore the possibility of creating their own banner that would proudly proclaim "We are 99%." The "99%" indicates those of us who are not bankers nor wall street speculators.

Brother Joe Silva said he was glad to hear that Local 848 is keeping up with the auto companies on collecting retiree dues and V-CAP donations, but he believes we can do much better. Local 848 retirees encourages all retirees to make sure they their monthly pension statements reflect a $2 donation for union dues. If not, they should contact the local at 972-264-2431 and get a card sent out to them.

Brother Gene Cates volunteered to get us a benefits expert for our November meeting. The Medicare open enrollment period runs until December 7th, and the Alliance for Retired Americans offers a way to evaluate plans at this wet site: Hopefully, we will be able to unsnarl all the changes in government health care benefits. In November, we will celebrate Veterans Day and Thanksgiving. Turkey and ham will be the main dishes. A big turnout is wanted and expected.

After the meeting, several of the retiree activists gathered in our conference room for a conference call with the Alliance for Retired Americans in Washington DC. They decided on a press conference defending Social Security at Congressman Jeb Hensarling's Dallas office on October 27.


Below is a picture of the banner:


Retiree Meeting - August 11, 2011

Retirees Support V-CAP

Local 848’s retirees heard V-CAP rep Billy Brown at our regular 2nd Thursday retiree luncheon. Brown said that Local 848 is the top political fund raiser in UAW aerospace, and that the retirees have helped tremendously. We are the only aerospace union that has negotiated the ability to have small donations taken out of our pensions by Vought. Even though most of the donors only give $2 or $3 per month, it adds up very well. Of course, the two retirees who give $25/month help even more!

Brown went over the origin of the Volunteer Community Action (V-CAP) program. It came about after the government prohibited unions from participating in politics. They had to set up political committees that raised and spent their own money, so that no dues money ever goes to candidates, no matter how much they may help us or how badly we may need their help. Locals raise money by selling raffle tickets, but the biggest and most reliable source of political funds comes from payroll or pension deductions.

Since the pension deductions program is so vital, retiree activists agreed to meet at the hall at 10 AM on August 18 to do a mailing to all our retirees. Everybody is invited.

Local 848 activists will be selling V-CAP “Cruise” raffle tickets everywhere over the next few months. Retirees started in July!

Retiree Meeting - July 14, 2011

Retirees Take Action!

At our July 14 luncheon, Local 848’s retirees held a rousing discussion of the attacks against Social Security and other retiree benefits, but we didn’t stop at talking!

Wallace Manuel sold V-CAP cruise tickets. Local 848 retirees have an edge on all the other aerospace locals because we are the only ones that get small donations taken out of their pension checks. Consequently, we tend to raise more money for union political action than other locals. Manuel told the retirees, “We in America know that money talks and the other stuff walks.” An effort will be made to reach out to retirees by U.S. mail before the first of September, because many more retirees might be helping us raise political money.

Joe Silva pointed out that unscrupulous politicians are calling our Social Security an “entitlement” instead of what it is, our money that we deposited out of our own paychecks. “Our trust fund for Social Security is not any part of the federal problem,” he said. He added that politicians who call it an “entitlement” are guilty of a “bald faced bold lie!”

During the discussion, retirees refuted the “entitlement” lie and several other nonsensical excuses that politicians are using to try to take away the workers’ rightful benefits. Social Security is not insolvent. Even if it were, it would be easy to fix by requiring rich people to pay on it beyond the present “cap” of about their first $106,200 of annual earnings. Under today’s production methods, there is more than enough wealth being produced to provide for decent retirements. This country, despite all the lies, is not poor.

Neal Sloan encouraged everybody to participate in telephoning their Senators. He actually helped several retirees make the calls from our hall. Ed Reach brought pen and paper to every retiree, and a good number of them finished two letters, one for each Senator, before leaving.

Some of the letters were short and hard-hitting, such as this one from Mable Jones: “I ask you not to raid our Social Security to give others a tax break.”

Gene Cates wrote longer letters, and included this: “I am a lifelong Texan. 76 years old. I was one year old when they created Social Security. Have never seen a Senate that has had enough guts to try to remake the Social Security fund. We haven’t had a raise in two years. Make no doubt about this -- the Social Security fund is solvent.”

After a good period of discussion, socializing, and political action, we chowed down on fried chicken and delicious covered dishes brought from our homes.

Unionists Spreads the Word on Fair Trade vs "Free Trade!"

The President of the Dallas AFL-CIO, Nancy Hall, expects to come to Local 848's September 21 meeting to explain why everybody must oppose the so-called "Colombia Free Trade agreement."  She recently returned from a fact-finding trip there sponsored by the National AFL-CIO. More about the trip

President Bush is hoping to pass yet another "free trade" pact, this one with Colombia, before he leaves office. Nancy Hall can explain exactly why all legitimate U.S. and Colombian workers' organizations are dead set against it. She also drives home the importance of political activity by workers in the United States if anything good is going to happen.

On August 20, Hall took her message to the airwaves on the "Workers Beat" program that is presented 8-9 AM every Wednesday on KNON radio, 89.3 FM and






Dallas Retirees Cooperate to Win Health Care Reform

 Congresswoman Johnson accepted a tribute from Maralyn Hamaker

Retirees from all over North Texas cooperated to celebrate Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson's lifelong commitment to health care reform at the Alliance/AFT hall in Dallas on August 21. The bills for the event were shared by members of the Retired Members Committee of the Communication Workers of America, Alliance/American Federation of Teachers, United Auto Workers Local 848, and Jobs with Justice.

The event was chaired by AFT leader Judy Bryant. Aimee Bolender, President of the Local, welcomed the group. Gene Lantz showed the 11 minute introductory video for the Alliance for Retired Americans and conducted a discussion on the importance of organizing for such legislative goals as the Employee Free Choice Act. Congresswoman Johnson gave a thorough analysis of the need for health care reform and how to accomplish it through Congress. Some of her comments were recorded for the "Workers Beat" radio program that is presented from 8 to 9 AM every Wednesday on KNON radio, 89.3 FM and

Sister Maralyn Hamaker, a retired teacher, then gave a short tribute. Congresswoman Johnson answered questions from the audience and made herself available for individual interaction.

Major Victory for Raytheon Retirees As Court Orders Health Benefits Restored


Retirees of Raytheon Missile Systems scored a major victory recently, as a U.S. District Court in Arizona ordered the company to restore health care benefits to them and their dependents. The ruling came on a class action lawsuit filed by International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) Local 933 on behalf of all IAM retirees who have worked at Raytheon since 1990, after they found health benefits slashed. In a case which will set legal precedent for other workers whose benefits are unilaterally terminated by their employers, the corporation must do more than recommence coverage for employees who were eligible under collective bargaining agreements made between 1990 and 1999. It must also reimburse the hundreds of retirees who were forced to pay premiums out of pocket while the lawsuit was pending. "This is not just a victory for Raytheon employees, but for all retirees," said George J. Kourpias, President of the Alliance for Retired Americans and former President of the IAM. "When workers fight for fair agreements and make sacrifices to continue receiving these benefits into retirement, they deserve the affordable health care they have been promised."   

Labor Day "Biggest Ever!"

Brother Jim McCasland, Financial Secretary of the Dallas AFL-CIO, announced that the Labor Day breakfast was the biggest ever with a crowd approaching 500! Jobs with Justice had added 12 religious and community leaders to the many unionists in attendance.

The main speaker was Senate Candidate Rick Noriega, who began by thanking the people who served the food at the union-organized Sheraton Grand Hotel in Irving. To download photos from the event, click here. Double click on the photo you want to get it full-sized. Then right click on it and select "save picture."

Other photos came from the Tarrant County picnic and the Dallas Democrats' free picnic. Both were successful events.

Rick Noriega exchanged greetings with theologian Dr. Joerg Rieger

Jobs with Justice activists promoted the Employee Free Choice Act

Here, State Representative Lon Burnam signs the postcard/petition

Spanish language reporter Luis Lara interviewed Nancy Hall about her trip to his home nation, Colombia

A high point of the Dallas breakfast came right at the beginning with the eloquent prayer by United Way's labor liaison, Charles Whitaker. It was also read on KNON radio, 89.3 FM, on Wednesday, September 3. A reprint is below:

Lord God, our creator, thank you for this assembly of unionists and allies. Thank you for this movement where we can travel to distant destinations and be called Brother or Sister by a fellow union member we have never met. Father, bless those that are here today, but are not sure exactly why they are here. Enlighten them Lord, help them to understand the need for working people to have the right to come together collectively.

Lord, we pray for those separated brethren that are dedicated Union members but choose not to belong to this council.

We pray for a revival of united unionism, a coming together of working people, a rededication to principles of fairness and justice in the workplace. God, thank you for our brave and enlightened forebearers. Help us never forget those men and women that were labeled socialists, communists, just because they wanted a better life. They were condemned because of their language, they were condemned because of their color, they were condemned because of their poverty, they were condemned because they organized, and they were condemned by another class of people that didn't wish for them to succeed.

Lord, bless and hold close to you those that are working today. Bless those Americans that keep this country going. In spite of what politicians may do, in spite of injustices they encounter, in spite of harassment they receive, thank you for the American worker. And, Father, we pray for the day when women in the workplace are compensated fairly for their work.

Lord, we even pray you touch the hearts of those that would prefer this meeting to be unlawful. We are reminded of your proverb, "The Lord is far from the wicked, but he hears the prayers of the righteous." Lord, make us righteous in your service; help us through your spirit to render unwavering dedication to you. We pray for your guidance as we serve you and as we serve others.

John Kennedy said, " ... history will be the final judge of our deeds ... " Lord, let us leave a legacy for our children and grandchildren, a legacy that leaves for them a Labor movement intact.

Lord God, Bless those men and women in our military. Gird them with wisdom and might so they are able to endure the great hardships they face. Please Lord, keep them safe and bring them home.

We have been given the duty of taking care of your Earth Father. What wondrous beauty you have brought. Help us to take no more from it than we give back.
Lord, you are a miraculous God. We know hard work is required of us this November, but a miracle here and there would certainly be appreciated. Bless and guide our endorsed candidates this fall. Keep them in your will and the will of the people.

Father, bless the hands that prepared this food and bless those that work today to serve us. When they return home today to their families, Father, let them be able to say; "I was treated with dignity and respect today by my fellow Brothers and Sisters.

And Lord, help me to remember to pray more in private than in public. All this we pray in your Holy name. And all the people said, "Amen."