Meeting in Columbus, Ohio on 4/9/13, the 300 delegates to the Ohio Alliance for Retired Americans (ARA) greeted the president’s announcement that his proposed budget would propose cuts to Social Security with outrage!

A proposal that Ohio ARA support a petition against the Ryan budget was changed to a petition defending Social Security from any cuts. That resolution was adopted unanimously.

“Nobody likes that Ryan budget,” stated Keith Bailey, IUE retiree from Dayton, “but we aren’t anyone’s pawn. We don’t care who proposes it, if they want to cut the most successful federal program in our nation’s history, that didn’t add one penny to the deficient, then we’ll stand up together and tell them---No Way!”

The resolution opposing any cuts to Social Security also stated that the cap on Social Security taxes, now at $113,000, should be eliminated, so that the wealthy pay their fair share.

President Obama’s budget proposal, which contains proposals to cut cost of living (“Chained CPI”) adjustments to seniors receiving Social Security has been greeted with anger by retirees, unionists, and other democrats. It was announced that ARA, AARP and other retiree groups had dropped off petitions opposing those cuts, signed by over 2 million, at the White House earlier that day.

“Retiree security has become a misnomer,” said Norm Wernet, Ohio ARA President. “Unfortunately, the president’s proposal feeds into the lie being pushed by corporations and Republicans in congress that Social Security is part of the problem. It isn’t! We’ve paid into Social Security, just like we’ve paid into our pensions. The president has done many good things, and we support them, but his proposal to cut Social Security would hurt retirees and retiree security and hurt the entire economy. We will oppose any proposal that does that!”

Ohio AFL-CIO President Tim Burga thanked the delegates for helping defeat Senate Bill 5, the GOP backed bill that would’ve curtailed public worker’s bargaining rights in the state. The effort was led by a huge labor-led coalition. “That fight,” Burga stated, “was forged through struggle and powered by unity!”

“We are faced with a series of new, difficult struggles even coming off the massive victory, defeating SB 5 this past year.”

“The New Deal created a huge and prosperous middle class, but all those gains are now under attack by corporations and Republicans in congress, being led by outright lunatics,” Burga stated. “They’ve worked overtime, one day, one bill, one election, one court case and one issue at a time, to undermine every gain working people have made in the past century of struggles.”

“These attacks,” Burga said, “are a result of a federal government that has implemented globalization on corporate terms, making working people pay for it all. When Reagan fired the traffic controllers it set the tone. Then NAFTA cost us over a million good paying jobs, deregulation allowed financial corporations to raid worker’s pensions, social programs were cut. The only way we can fight them is though developing strong unity and reaching far outside our ranks for allies.”

Burga cited the next big struggle, this time against a right wing proposal for a so-called “right-to-work” initiative sponsored by Tea Party elements. While a real danger, Burga pointed out that “it gives us the opportunity to talk with millions we otherwise wouldn’t be able to speak with about the tremendous benefits of belonging to unions.”

He stated that the Ohio AFL-CIO has set up a dozen phone centers already and is planning 17 regional meetings to build the fight against that reactionary proposal.

“We need your help again,” he called. “We are over a million strong and we speak for the interests of the 99%. The polls are against us now, as they always are at the beginning of our fights, but with your help we’ll beat this back also and build a new society we all can be proud of!”