Retirees

Local 201 Retiree’s Column

By KEVIN D. MAHAR

President Local 201 Retirees Council

FIRST SOME GOOD NEWS

     Double thanks are in order as Nicholas (Nick) Kalogeros sent Local 201 a check for $50 as a donation for sending him the Local 201 Newspaper.  Then Nick sent another $50 as a donation to the Local 201 Retirees Council!  Nick sent a letter saying that he religiously reads the 201 News and thanks the Local for the work done on behalf of retirees.  Nick is 90 years old and worked in Wilmington and said to say hello to all his friends. We certainly give double thanks to Nick for his most generous gifts. 

DON’T FORGET OUR ANNUAL CHRISTMAS PARTY DECEMBER 3, AT NOON AT THE PORTHOLE PUB: ENJOY LYNN’S INFAMOUS COMEDIAN BOB SEIBEL

THEN SOME MORE GOOD NEWS

     First of all you should know that starting January 1, 2014 your Social Security will INCREASE BY 1.5 PERCENT.  So that’s something to look forward too.

SOME INSURANCE INFORMATION

     You should have received a letter stating what your insurance information is and stating that the annual enrollment for those over 65 lasts until December 7, 2013.  If you have any questions on this please feel free to call me, Kevin, on 781-367-7822.  Also, if you are in the 4 GE insurance plans, the rates went up from $117.50 per month to $123.50 per month. Again, call me if you need help.

HERE IS SOME BAD NEWS

     For your information my policy is that I get permission before I use a person’s name in my column.  Here is a rotten story that should not have happened.  Steve Feizidis worked as an all-around in building 69 for over 28 years.  Steve, like many others, found his pension check, his wonderful pension for 28 years for $692.27, was short by $42.00 and he now was going to be receiving $646.00 a month.  This was without any notification whatsoever.  Steve called the Help Line and was told that the state of Massachusetts required the additional tax.  It gets worse. Steve for years had been prescribed by his doctor on pravastatin to manage cholesterol problems.  Steve had regularly paid $10 for a 3 month supply.  Now in November when he got his 3 months supply he was charged $67.46.  Steve and I called Silver Script on a conference call so we both could hear what the explanation was and we both were told the prices went up.  We both complained about the huge percentage increase.  I called Senator McGee’s office and we now will find out how or if this was approved.  More on this story in future columns when we will report all information we learn

 

LOCAL 201 RETIREES COLUMN
BY KEVIN D. MAHAR
PRESIDENT OF LOCAL 201 LOCAL RETIREES COUNCIL

THERE WERE A COUPLE OF MISPRINTS IN MY LAST COLUMN

     It was my 19th GE Annual Meeting as an advocate for GE retirees.  In that time we have received 3 pension increases and two 13th checks. Of course this was with the support of our Union.
     If you Google on the computer alpha GE 2013 Annual Meeting Transcript you can read the entire transcript or, if you Google GE 2013 Annual Meeting podcast, you can listen to the entire meeting.   After reading or listening, you’ll understand how we have to persevere and fight on for better pensions and benefits.
     When I spoke, I asked for a moment of silence for the tragedy in Boston.  I told Jeff Immelt that just like the Hoyts in Boston, the father who pushes his son in a wheel chair in the marathon every year, we’re going to keep pushing for pension improvements.  Also marathon related, Jerry Powers has run Boston for 31 years and has run with our t-shirt that says “GE Retirees deserve a cost on living increase in out pension.”
     We will carry on our fight for justice and fairness for those long service retirees who receive GE pensions that are so bad they qualify for public assistance in housing and other benefits from taxpayers.  At the same time GE pays Jack Welch a retirement benefit of over 9 million dollars a year.  Any thinking person has to know there is something wrong with that picture.  
     Giving Jeff Immelt a 6 million dollar bonus while taking form salaried employees  their entire life insurance,  post 65 benefits and drug benefits for those not age 65 by Jan. 2015 is the biggest slap in the face to everyone at GE that I have ever seen in my 51 years being associated at GE.    
     Thanks so much for Dennis Rocheleau, he was our shinning star at the 2013 Annual Meeting and really told Jeff Immelt and the entire board of directors what they have caused in broken promises to retirees.
     What you can do to help: send any donation to GE Justice Fund, 47 Tennessee Avenue, Albany, NY, 12205.

 

 

LOCAL 201 RETIREES COLUMN
BY KEVIN D. MAHAR, PRESIDENT
LOCAL 201 RETIREES COUNCIL

                                                 MY 19TH GE ANNUAL MEETING
     Our 201 delegation consisted of myself and Susan Strauss, Jeff Darling, Gerry Nastasia, his wife Carol, and Tom Sullivan and his wife. There was a respectable union picket outside the convention center led by Jerry Beckham and Owen Humphrees from IUE/CWA Local 761 in Louisville. Keith Baley-represented the International as a retiree representative, Ted Kehul came from Milwaukee IAM , Local 301 Floyd Milick from the drafters union, flew in from Schenectady. Ron and Mary Flowers, represented the Erie, Pa. UE Local 506. Ron is president of RAGE (Retirees At GE). Of course our 201 was there for every step of the picket line with our signs.   
     Our union contingent comprised the largest group of attendees at the shareholders meeting with about 27 people picketing on behalf of and advocates for retirees. The GE staff and security made up the rest of the audience along with the Board of Directors.  In my nineteen years of representing the union at these meetings, this was, by far, the smallest turnout I have ever seen.  

                                                  I SPOKE FOR BILL FREEDA  
    
Bill Freeda had had an accident so I spoke in his place about the terrible GE practice of what is called “phantom dividends” which is a practice whereby senior GE executives are permitted to collect dividends or dividend equivalents on shares of GE stock they do not own currently, and may never own.

                     RON FLOWERS DESCRIBES HARD TIMES FOR GE RETIREES
     Ron Flowers spoke eloquently at the microphone about the difficult financial situation most GE retirees now find themselves in.  Those long time retirees are hurting greatly economically and really need a large structural increase in pensions and benefits.  As a matter of fact there are many long term GE retirees who are eligible for federal housing subsidies because of the low income from the GE pension plan, which means they are being supported by the taxpayers.   Ron said we need substantial structural increases of our GE pension plan with the greatest increases being paid to those retired the longest.  
     Then Ron pointed to the announced layoffs in Erie and, in very clear language, called it a betrayal of GE’s promise to keep locomotive work in Erie. Ron asked GE to keep their promises to the people in Erie by keeping those dedicated jobs where they promised to do so.
     He also received lots of applause for talking about the changes in insurance which eliminated life insurance and post 65 insurance for those salaried employees who are not 65 by January 2015.  I called this change in my column the most dastardly act I have ever seen in my 51 year history of GE and compared that letter by John Lynch to the sneak attack at Pearl Harbor.  In other words, this attack on benefits at GE came about without any warning of any kind and to add insult to injury was followed up with a 6 million dollar bonus to Jeff Immelt.  I guess he got as a bonus the money that those benefits could have provided to employees, employees who after many years of service have had their benefits taken away. 

            A GREAT ALLY IN THIS FIGHT FORMER NEGOTIATER FOR GE
                                                     DENNIS ROCHELEAU
    
Those of you who have been around at GE for many years should recognize his name because for over 30 years Dennis Rocheleau was the chief negotiator for GE at contract time.  We will spell out in detail in later issues of the 201 News his eloquent speaking about the taking of the life insurance and post 65 benefits away from salaried employees who are not 65 by Jan. 2015. If you have the ability to listen to the podcast, Dennis gave this speech during the question and answer period in the last part of the podcast.  I hope you can listen to this.
 
FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO HAVE A COMPUTER YOU CAN HEAR THE ENTIRE PODCAST AT;   http:///www.ge.com/investor-relations/ir-events/203-annualmeeting-shareowners

 

 

PUT IN A BOX:

IUE-CWA Local 201
RETIREES COUNCIL
MEETING NOTICE

Tuesday, May 14, 2013 – 2 PM
(2nd Tuesday every month)
St. Michaels Hall
Elmwood Ave.
Lynn MA

                                                    Agenda:

Report on GE Annual Meeting
Treasurer’s Report
New Business

Kevin D. Mahar, President
Tom Donegan, Treasurer

 

 

 

 

 

LOCAL 201 RETIRE’S COLUMN
By KEVIN D. MAHAR
President Local 201 Retiree Council

SENATE NO. 1366 / HOUSE NO.2763

     These are the bills I talked about in my last column.  These are the bills which would exempt $12,500 from Mass. state taxes for those over age 60.  This certainly is a very modest amount.  In my research I have found about 20 states that reduce the amount of state taxes on private retirement income.  We have met with the Legislative Committee of Local 201 and discussed this problem.  As far as I am concerned this is a big problem when in Massachusetts the top 5 pensions over $200,000 a year pay no Mass. state taxes, as well as nearly 300 pensions of over $100,000 which again pay no state taxes.   This problem in my opinion is a matter of tax fairness. 
     When the Governor tries to increase taxes on the private pensions he should take into account that all State, Federal, County, Municipal and many other quasi governmental agencies such as MBTA pensions, Massport pensions and I am sure others that we cannot seem to find out about, don’t pay state taxes.  So how many of those pensions are over $100,000 and do not pay state taxes?  Is it any wonder that thousands of people take other states as their residence to increase their pensions by lowering their state tax rate. 
     The Governor should take a page from the President and everyone who receives more than $50,000 or $60,000 in pension income should pay a graduated increase while those under that amount should pay 0 in state taxes on retirement income. What a difference that would make and even perhaps make up that income from the high rollers.  I believe that if we ever could get that question on the ballot it would fly with the citizens big time.  Sort of like the marijuana question won.  I imagine this as a state wide question: do you approve of your retirement benefits exempt from state tax as others are already exempted?  What a ballot question!  I would give odds on that passing if anyone would bet me on this.


FOR YOUR INFORMATION, PLEASE PASS ON

SENIOR CIRCUIT BREAKER TAX CREDIT

2009             2010             2011           2012

Maximum credit    $960.00         $970.00         $980.00      $1000.00

Single                       $51,000         $51,000         $52,000      $53,000   

Head of House       $64,000         $64,000         $65,000      $67,000

Married Jointly      $77,000         $77,000         $78,000      $80,000

Married filing separately is not eligible for the credit

Max. assessed value of principal residence in Mass can not exceed

                                 $788,000      $764,000       $729,000    $705,000  

For 65+Homeowners: Amount by which property tax paid

And 50% of water and sewer fee

Exceed 10% of total income up to the maximum credit allowed

For 65+Renters: Amount by which 25% of annual rent

Exceeds 10% of total income up to the maximum credit amount

     To receive this refundable credit you must file Massachusetts Income Tax Return with Schedule CB attached for each year eligible.  For more information contact the Massachusetts Department of Revenue, 1-800-392-6089
www.mass.gov/dor

     If I can help, call me, Kevin Mahar, at 781-367-7822

 

 

 

LOCAL 201 RETIREES COLUMN
BY KEVIN D. MAHAR
PRESIDENT LOCAL 201 RETIREES COUNCIL

COME TO OUR MONTHLY MEETING TO LEARN WHATS GOING ON

     At our monthly meeting we had a lively discussion about the Governor’s proposed tax plan which included an increase of state taxes from 5.2% to 6.2% among many other features of the Governor’s tax plan.  The feelings were very strong about this. There are hundreds of state pensions over $100,000 per year and the top 5 receive over $200,000 per year pensions and, as unbelievable as this may seem, THEY PAY NO STATE TAXES ON THEIR OUTRAGEOUS PENSIONS! 
     Of course this is in many ways counter productive because this definitely causes people to change their residence in order to gain a tax preference.  For example, if you had a residence just over the line in NH, that would mean a 5.2% increase in your pension because your GE pension is not taxed in NH.  Many of us remember the tax break the elder President George Bush got when he listed Texas as his residence rather than Maine when everyone knew he really lived in Maine and still does. 
     Again this year a bill has been filed in the House of Representatives and the Senate requesting that $12,500 be exempt from state taxes.  Call Senator McGee at 617-722-1350 and Rep. Steve Walsh at 617-722-2430, and Governor Deval Patrick at 617-725-1100, or whoever your Representive and Senator is in Massachusetts and tell them you want to have your pension benefits treated the same as theirs.

THERE ARE 6 PROXY QUESTIONS AT THE GE ANNUAL MEETING

     Since most people now vote on-line for the proxy questions we don’t ask you to send them to us.  However, this is a short explanation of each question.

1.      The Proposal: The Board of Directors is requested to consider voting a cessation of all Executive Stock Bonus Programs, and Bonus Programs.

2.     This is an interesting proposal because it was put in by Dennis Rocheleau who for many years before he retired was the chief negotiator for GE. His proposal is for term limits for board of directors.

3.     Helen Quirini used to sponsor this proposal for many years.  AN INDEPENDENT CHAIRMAN FOR THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS

4.      RIGHT TO ACT BY WRITTEN CONSENT:  This proposal topic won majority shareholder support at 13 companies in a single year.

5.     EXECUTIVES TO RETAIN SIGNIFICANT STOCK:  Adopt a policy requiring that our senior executives retain a significant percentage of shares acquired through equity pay programs until reaching normal retirement age.

6.     MULTIPLE CANDIDATE ELECTION:  You will have to read this one.

 

PUT IN A BOX:

IUE-CWA Local 201
RETIREES COUNCIL
MEETING NOTICE

Tuesday, April 8, 2013 – 2 PM
(2nd Tuesday every month)

St. Michaels Hall
Elmwood Ave.
Lynn MA

 

                                                    Agenda: Financial Report

Discussion about GE Annual Meeting
Discussion  of how our Pensions are MA State Taxed
New Business

Kevin D. Mahar, President
Tom Donegan, Treasurer

 

 

201 RETIREES COLUMN
BY KEVIN D. MAHAR PRESIDENT
LOCAL 201 RETIREES COUNCIL

CVS CAREMARK SHOULD PAY EVERYONE WHO CALLS THEM
IF THE TIME THEY HAVE TO WAIT FOR AN ANSWER IS UNREASONABLE

     Maureen Kidney is the widow of our old friend Joe Kidney.  You may remember Joe, who was a very active union steward in maintenance in the River Works, and also was a Ward 6 Councilor in Lynn.  Joe was a well respected Lynn guy who really cared about people.  
     Well Maureen was having so much trouble with Silver Script she spent about 3 hours on the phone trying to straighten out her prescriptions, which she desperately needed.  Finally, after the 3 hours that she had spent trying to get her prescriptions, she broke down in frustration and cried and cried and cried.  Maureen then called me and came down to see me out of frustration and a complete sense of hopelessness. 
     Maureen and I worked together on my speaker phone so she could hear exactly what was being said and answer any questions CVS asked her.  Maureen kept a detailed record of all letters from CVS and a record of her Doctor’s letter dated 10/24/2012 which outlined that “CVS recently received a benefit reconsideration request for coverage of PLAVIX 75MG for you.” “After reviewing your prescription drug benefit the request was approved.  Brand Penalty Exception approved for lifetime.”  So we called CVS with the letter of approval and a number of other letters she received such as on January 22, 2013 from CVS Caremark that said “You have a balance due of $185.45” and stated “Your credit card was declined by your financial institution.”  Maureen did not use a credit card and had sent in a check #610 for $185.45 to CVS that was cashed on Jan.31.2013.   We explained this over the speaker phone to no avail. 
     At this point we were speaking to Caroline at CVS.  Caroline said and referred to a letter from CVS also dated January 22, 2013: “This medicine is not covered under your Medicare Part D mail service prescription benefit.” That letter was just plain wrong.  Caroline, although nice enough, said she had to put us through to Medicare. 
     So then we had to wait for Kate from Medicare to come on.  At this point we’d been on the phone for 90 minutes.  Then we insisted to speak with a supervisor so we had to wait for that.  Now we are speaking to supervisor Gilda and tried to explain the problem, at this point 2.6 hours of our time spent on the problem.  Then we were transferred to Doris who sent us to Shanona, where we were put on hold 3 times.  Doris would cut in and kept saying Shanona is still talking to the pharmacist. Now the time spent on this problem is 3 hours and 15 minutes, from 4 pm to 7:15pm. 
     At this point Maureen had left to get home.  I said I would stay on as long as it took.  Then Shanona said she would call me on January 14, 2013 at 2pm, she had gone as far as she could.  Shanona did call at 2:15 the next day and simply said they discovered the prior authorization was not in the file.  All this aggravation and even tears of Maureen could have and should have been avoided.  THE HORROR SHOW OF CVS CAREMARK SERVICE!  IF YOU HAVE A HORROR STORY ABOUT CVS, CALL ME AT 781-367-7822.  Be sure to make records of the name of who you speak to and the time and date.  You can see how important it is Maureen did a terrific job of keeping records.

 

 

 

THE GE ANNUAL MEETING APRIL 24. 2013
NEW ORLEANS LA.

     If you are interested in going, please let me know at 781-367-7822.  We have been going to this Annual Meeting since 1994 and continue to be heard each and every year.   We have made our voices heard by speaking out in front of all the Board of Directors and the shareowners about the problems of retirees.  Since we started this program we have received 3 pension increases and 2 times we have received a 13th monthly pension check.  We even have gotten GE to meet with retirees from all over the country to discuss retiree problems at the highest level.  In fact we met with Jeff Immelt and John Lynch, Senior VP Human Resources, and his team at Fairfield Connecticut.  So if you are interested in going to New Orleans, let me know as soon as possible.

 

201 Retiree’s Column
By Kevin D. Mahar
President Local 201 Retirees Council

Please Stop Doing This?

     In the last few weeks I have been to just too many wakes and funerals, so stop doing this. Hall of Shame member Tom Connors passed away recently. Our old friend, great Lynn athlete and racket ball expert Leo Morrissey passed away.   Tony Nicosia gave a eulogy that was so moving it was unbelievable, we all pictured Leo watching Tony hitting the ball out of the court.  Then Tom Mc Gee passed away and there is a story about him below.  One of the largest funerals ever in Lynn.  Then Lenny Redican tragically left us, way too young, and Ric Casilli gave a heart felt eulogy with many memories of time spent together. 

Isn’t It A Small World? or Do You Know Tommy McGee?

     In October of 2005 Jack Richards, a few other people from the Lynn area and I went on an adventure photo safari to South Africa.  While in Cape Town, which has been voted one of the most beautiful cites in the world, our 16 person group went into a black township to go to a restaurant.   We had “protectors” on our bus, people who were well known in the township, and the sights we saw were incredible.  Picture this, the black township has a population of 170,000 people and is filled with shanties mostly made up of corrugated metal panels for the walls and roof.  These shanties are piled nearly on top of each other, just incredible to me.
     There is some electricity in a messed up hodgepodge array of overhead wires that look like they will fall down any moment.  There is a series of central water spots and bathroom facilities, so if you need water you take it back with a bucket to your shack.  If you have to go to the bathroom, you either go to the central spots or ???  I have never seen this level of poverty anywhere else on this planet and I have been in many, many countries.
     Anyway, after driving through this black township about 45 minutes and not seeing a white face anywhere, other than our 16, we came upon a white guy by the side of the road playing with a group of black children.  I yelled out to the bus drive to stop the bus, we wanted to talk to him.  We stopped and he immediately came over to the bus and yelled out in a booming voice, “Is there an Irishman on board?”  I said, “I’m a Kerry man from Dingle (I lived in Dingle, Ireland for a while when I was 13) and what might your name be?”  He boomed out, “ I am Padraig O’Mallay.”  I said, “Where might you be from Padraig O’Mallay?”  He replied Boston.  “Boston!” I said, “I’m from Lynn.”  “Lynn,” he said, “Do you know Tommy McGee?” “Do I know Tommy McGee?  I have worked with Tom for years on many legislative matters. Sometimes I golf with him in Florida and go to Bill’s lunch in McDoungh Square (where he held court).  In fact, his son Tom McGee our state senator goes to the Lynn YMCA health club.  What a surprise event. What brings Padraig O’Mallay to this black township?”  He said he had come there a few years ago and was so struck with the level of poverty that he adopted some black children as a sort of godfather.  Every year since, he comes back and lives with the families for three months to make sure the children go to school.  The only way out of the poverty of the township is education. 
     Not only were we impressed by Padraig O’Mallay, we were all proud of this American from Boston. It really made each of us think of how lucky we are and maybe give back a little more, just like Padraig O’Mallay.  This chance incident made me think of how many wonderful people there are in the world that give back and make the world better.  As Tom McGee said all the time, if you can help one person a day you have been a success.  Tom’s success even extended to that black township in South Africa.  

 

 

 

201 Retiree’s Column

BY KEVIN D. MAHAR

PRESIDENT RETIREES COUNCIL

 

 

DO NOT HAVE PENSION DEDUCTIONS UNTIL YOU HAVE

READ MY COLUMN TO DO SO OR CALLED ME AT 781-367-7822

 

 

To say I am mad would be an a serious understatement. YOU NEED TO KNOW I CERTAINLY KNEW NOTHING ABOUT THE IUE SENDING OUT A REQUEST THAT YOU SEND THEM $3.00 A MONTH OUT OF YOUR PENSION CHECK. I HAVE ASKED PRES. JIM CLARK AND CONF. BOARD CHAIRMAN BOB SANTAMOOR TO COME TO OUR NOVEMBER 8, 2011 RETIREES MEETING TO EXPLAIN WHAT THIS IS ALL ABOUT. HOW ANY MONEY COLLECTED IS SPENT? HOW IT IS APPROVED? WHY DIDN’T THE IUE ASK THOSE OF US RETIREES WHO FOR YEARS HAVE BEEN FIGHTING FOR BETTER BENEFITS FOR ANY SUGGESTIONS ON ORGANIZING GE RETIREES? THESE ARE JUST A FEW OF THE QUESTIONS AND A LOT MORE. WHY DIDN’T IUE HAVE THE COMMON COURTISEY OF SENDING INFORMATION IN ADVANCE TO EACH LOCATION WHERE RETIREES HAVE BEEN MEETING ?

 

COME ON DOWN TO ST. MICHAELS HALL ON NOVEMBER 9:30 am

BUS TO BOSTON TO SAVE SOCIAL SECURITY AND MEDICARE

PARKING AVAILABLE JOIN ME AND MASS SENIOR ACTION

THIS IS A VERY IMPORTANT DEMONSTRATION AND RALLY

 

 

RETIREES ANNUAL CHRISTMAS PARTY

DECEMBER 14, 2011 NOONTIME

PORTHOLE PUB

CWA/IUE LOCAL 201 PRESIDENT JEFF CROSBY

WILL JOIN US INTO RETIREMENT

 

Join with your retirees group to break bread and sing songs listen to wonderfull comedy---we all need a laugh as comedy truly is the best medicine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


LOCAL 201 RETIREES COUNCIL
MEETING NOTICE

TUESDAY JUNE 14 2011 AT 12 NOON
PLEASE NOTE TIME CHANGE
THIS IS OUR ANNUAL HOT DOG SOCIAL
AND BUSINESS MEETING

ST. MICHAEL'S HALL
WEST NEPTUNE ST
LYNN MA.

 

 

LOCAL 201 RETIREES COLUMN

BY KEVIN D. MAHAR

PRESIDENT OF LOCAL 201 RETIREES COUNCIL

Flower the skunk was the hit of the many hundreds of workers and retirees at the Fairchild Street Gate on Western Ave. Flowers message was GE DON’T BE A STINKER TO GE RETIREES. Every time we take a retirees plant gate collection I am “blown away” and simply amazed at the level of support every one gives to our retiree council. It is heart warming and makes all the work of the retirees council all worth while. We even had one member who asked to remain anonymous write a check for a large amount. Many others either wrote checks for a $100. or threw in a $100. bill. Just so you know I also matched by check the $100. donation. We are still opening mail with checks in fact today I opened a letter with a check enclosed by a woman who has terminal cancer. So if you can send in a donation To IUE/CWA Local 201 Retirees council 112 Exchange St. Lynn, Ma. 01901. This money is used to advocate for better pensions and benefits for GE retirees. Since we started going to the GE annual meetings we have received 3 pension increases and a 13th check. A GREAT BIG THANK YOU FOR YOUR UNBELIEVABLE SUPPORT OF YOUR RETIREES COUNCIL. AND A BIG THANK YOU TO JEFF DARLING AND PAUL FORD FOR HELPING PUT THE RETIREES AT THE GATES THANK YOU RETIREES. AND A HUGE THANK YOU TO FRED RUSSELL AND HIS GROUP OF COLECTORS YOU FOLKS INSPIRE US TO KEEP ON WORKING.

 

IB Image

 

 

PRESIDENT JEFF CROSBY THANKS THE HUGE CROWD

THEN INTRODUCES BA RIC CASILLI

BA RIC CASILLI JUMPED UP ON THE BED OF THE PICKUP TRUCK AND GAVE A REPORT ON THE UPCOMING GE NEGOTIATIONS. THEN RIC WENT INTO A CROWD ROUSING SPIRITED CHANT OF “ YOUNG, MIDDLE AGE. OLDER TOGETHER. WHILE THE ENTIRE CROWD OF OVER 700 MEMBERS AND RETIREES WHERE REALLY INTO THE CHANT “YOUNG, MIDDLE AGE OLDER TOGETHER” OUR BA CALLED ON THE REST OF THE E BOARD TO GET UP ON THE TRUCK FOR A SHOW OF UNITY GOING INTO NEGOTIATIONS. I HAVE SAID IN EARLIER COLUMNS I AM AFRAID OF THiS CONTRACT FOR MEMBERS AND RETIREES. I JUST HAVE A BAD FEELING ABOUT THE WHOLE THING. GERRY NASTASIA GAVE A REPORT ABOUT ATTENDING THE GE ANNUAL MEETING IN UTAH AND SAID IT IS IMPORTANT THAT WE ATTEND THE GE ANNUAL MEETING AND MAKE OUR VOICES HEARD. I CAN SAY I WILL DO ALL IN MY POWER TO BE ACTIVE AND ON THE LINE. NOW WE HAVE THE 2 MORE EVENTS A STANDOUT AT THE WESTERN AVE FAIRCHILD ST GATE ON MAY 23 FROM 130 TO 430 FOR A SEND OFF FOR THE BA AGENT RIC CASILLI TO GO TO NEGOTIATIONS. ALSO IF YOUR INTERESTED IN GOING ON THE BUS TO ERIE PA OT THE COUNTRY WIDE RALLY ON JUNE 4 YOU MUST CALL GARY POLAND OR JOSE AT THE UNION HALL BY MAY 20, 2011 PHONE 781-598-2760. THE COST IS $20. AND THAT IS TO RESERVE A SPACE. SEE FURTHER INFORMATION SEE FLYER IN THIS PAPER.

WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP

IF YOU COULDN’T MAKE IT TO THE RALLY, OR YOU CAN’T GO TO ERIE PA. YOU CAN STILL HELP BY SENDING A CHECK TO IUE/CWA LOCAL 201 RETIREES COUNCIL 112 EXCHANGE ST. LYNN MA. 01901. MERE WORDS CAN NOT EXPLAIN HOW I FEEL ABOUT THE HUGE LEVEL OF SUPPORT FROM EVERYONE IN THE PLANT. THANKS AGAIN.

 


 

LOCAL 201 RETIREES MEETING NOTICE
TUESDAY MARCH 8, 2011 2PM
ST. MICHAELS HALL
W.NEPTUNE ST.LYNN MA.
 PLEASE ATTEND THIS VERY IMPORTANT MEETING
AND GET INVOLVED IN THE NATIONAL CONTRACT

AGENDA:  FINANCIAL REPORT
                 REPORT ON MARCH 15, MEETING AT FRANCO
                 AMERICAN POST 535 WESTERN AVE. LYNN
                PLANT GATE RALLY APRIL 29, AND RETIREE
                COLLECTION RIVER WORKS PLANT.

ARE YOU MAD AS HELL ABOUT THE FED TAX INCREASE ?  COME TO THIS MEETING AND TELL US HOW YOU HAVE BEEN HURT.                 
                   
 
Kevin D. Mahar

 

 


LOCAL 201 RETIREES COLUMN

BY KEVIN D. MAHAR

PRESIDENT LOCAL 201 RETIREES COUNCIL

THANKS SO MUCH FOR THE MANY MANY CARDS AND PHONE CALLS WISHING

ME A SPEEDY RECOVERY FROM MY HIP SURGERY

I have to apologize for not having a column in the last edition of the paper but quite frankly I was and still am in pain over this operation. Although the doctors say I am doing fine and progressing nicely and getting stronger with physical therapy every day. Some of the cards, telephone calls and plants I received really touched my soul and lifted my spirits. Now let’s get ready for the GE shareowners meeting on April 27, 2011 and many upcoming events leading up to the negotiations in June 2011. This contract in my opinion will be one of the most important contracts since I started working at GE in February 1961. Just as the 1969 strike had its place in industrial history I believe the 2011 contract will set the theme and conditions for years to come in the industrial world. So PLEASE CALL ME AT 781-367-7822 AND PUT YOUR NAME AND PHONE NUMBER ON OUR RETIREES LIST OF THOSE COMMITTED TO SHOW UP AT ANY DEMONSTRATIONS AND GIVE THER ACTIVE SUPPORT FOR THE GOALS OF OUR UNION. THERE ARE A NUMBER OF UPCOMMING EVENTS TO GET INVOLVED IN. IF YOU WANT TO GO TO THE GE SHAREOWNERS MEETIN IN SALT LAKE CITY CALL ME AT 781-367-7822. STEVE TORMEY OF THE UE WILL BE PUTTING ON A SEMINAR ABOUT THE UPCOMING CONTRACT WITH SPECIAL FOCUS ON OUR PENSION PLAN, DATE TO BE ANNOUNCED. WE WILL BE HAVING A RALLY AND RETIREE COLLECTION AT RHE RIVER WORKS PLANT AT THE END OF APRIL DATE TO BE ANNOUNCED AND WE RELLY NEED RETIREES TO HELP US WITH THIS. THEN THERE WILL BE A COUNTRY WIDE RALLY IN ERIE PA IN JUNE I BELIEVE DATE AND TIME TO BE ANNOUNCED. IF YOU DIDN’T THINK YOU COULD BE HURT ANYMORE HOW ABOUT THAT NEARLY $50. A MONTH PENSION CUT BECAUSE OF GOING TO THE 2011 TAX TABLE. DON’T YOU THINK WE COULD AND SHOULD ORGANIZE THE 215,000 GE RETIREES AROUND THE COUNTRY INTO A POWERFUL POLITICAL FORCE TO PUBLICALLY ENCOURAGE GE TO TREAT THOSE RETIRED FOR YEARS FAIRLY. WE ARE THE FORGOTTEN WHO HAVE CONTRIBUTED SO MUCH FOR SO LONG INTO OUR PENSION PLAN AND ARE TOO MUCH FORGOTTEN ABOUT HOW BADLY OUR COST OF LIVING HAS BEEN HURT. LOOK AT THE BELLTEL RETIREES WHO HAVE OVER 100,OOO MEMBERS OR THE GM RETIREES WHO HAVE A VOTE IN THEIR UNION. I WANT YOUR IDEAS ON WHAT WE CAN DO ABOUT THIS. THE RETIREES COUNCIL MADE A MOTION AT THE LAST MEETING TO REQUEST A MEETING WITH CONGRESS TIERNEY ON THIS MATTER. MORE ON THIS LATER AS WE TRY TO SCHEDULE A MEETING. FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THIS GO TO www.geritirees.com

WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP

THE GE RETIREE JUSTICE FUND WAS STARTED TO BRING TOGETHER GE RETIREES TO FIGHT FOR BETTER PENSIONS AND BENEFITS FOR RETIREES. WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP SEND ANY CONTRITUTIONS TO GE JUSTICE FUND 47 TENNESSEE AVE. ALBAY, NY.12205-4548. BY THE WAY ALTHOUGH HELEN QUIRINI WILL NOT BE WITH US PHYSICALLY AT THE GE SHAREOWNERS MEETING THIS YEAR SHE WILL BE SPOKEN ABOUT AND WITH US IN SPIRIT. HELEN THIS ONE IS FOR YOU.

www.geretirees.comLOCAL 201 RETIREES COLUMN

 


BY KEVIN D. MAHAR

PRESIDENT LOCAL 201 RETIREES COUNCIL

HELEN QUIRINI

PASSED AWAY ON OCTOBER 14, 2010

Sadly my co-chair of the GE Retirees Justice Fund passed away at 90 years young in her hometown which she loved dearly of Schenectady NY. Helen was a great tireless fighter for GE retirees. She loved fairness and lived a remarkable life fighting for what she believed. Helen started working in GE in 1941 in Schenectady on a piecework job in building 89. Just so you know Helen saw the discrimination against women and blacks, in the factory woman were paid less than men on the same jobs. Helen Quirini fought against these kinds of practices all of her life. Helen Quirini exposed and changed so many of these kinds of unfairness at GE that it is incredible. Consider this in 1944 Helen lead a drive in Local 301 to stop discrimination against woman and the government upheld Local 301 position and ordered GE to end discrimination against women. Again, hundreds of Schenectady women workers won upgrading wages. That precedent-setting victory on this case opened the way for thousands of women all over the country to win similar wage cases. Fast forward over the years and with continues involvement over the years Helen Quirini breaks down discrimination at the YWCA and in 1978 receives the Joseph A . Bernie award who was the President o CWA Helen held several positions in Local 301 such as Steward , Executive Board, Recording Secretary, Treasurer. She was the first woman to chair a meeting of the GE Conference Board. Helen made sure that there was picket line fighting for better pensions and benefits for retirees for the last 29 years at the Schenectady plant. She would march during snow, sleet or rain it did not matter to Helen when she announced the date of the demonstration the retirees would come and workers would come out of the shops to join in the demonstatation. Of course this is an incridable life time of involvement in her fight for fairness. In recent years Helens and I started the GE Retirees Justice Fund with a meeting in Schenectady NY retirees from around the area. The sole purpose is to advocate for better benefits and pensions for GE retirees. One of our main activities is going to GE shareowners activities are to go The GE shareowners meeting and advocate for GE retirees. Also the Union has had Helen for many years go to National negations and advocate for better benefits and pensions. Along with going to each GE annual meeting since 1994. This has lead to 3 pension benefits increased since 1996 and an added 13 check. Helen was written about in the Wall Street Journal and the AARP magazine .Helens life was a remarkable example of how one person can make a change in the lives of workers at GE and the community at large. She changed the usage of the increases in the pension fund is used to increase the bonuses in GE Exertives. I have lost a wonderful woman advocate and GE retirees have lost the best grand dame who fought for them , my idol, my inspiration. We shall continue on with your fight for fairness in our GE pension plan and benefits. Thank you for all you have done for so many people. Love \from all of us.


 

 

LOCAL 201 RETIREES COLUMN
BY KEVIN D. MAHAR
PRESIDENT LOCAL 201 RETIREES COUNCIL

RETIREES MEET WITH GE TO DISCUSS MAJOR PROBLEMS

OF GE RETIREES

On July 14, 2010, after traveling from many parts of the country, some of our retirees met with some of the highest levels of the GE which deal with retiree health care , pensions and all of the benefits that have a direct effect on the daily lives of those who built this company, the 201,000 GE Retirees around the country.


Let me report the first order of business of this July 14, 2010 meeting was to discuss in detail how GE retirees were, over many years barraged by GE publicity to rely on the retirement scheme of social security, GE pension and the dividends from our GE stock, the so called three legged stool. We outlined in detail the disaster to GE retirees of the 68% slashing of our dividends.
We talked about how many GE retirees were reduced to government subsidized housing because they received so little in income that they qualified for government help. This is part of the disgrace of this entire situation. We requested that GE look at the restoring of dividends as a major item as this was taking away one of the legs of the so called 3 legged stool.


By the way, GE announced on July 22, 2010 that GE was increasing the dividend by 2 cents, or a 20% increase in October 2010. Certainly the newly announced .12 cents dividend is a far cry from where we were at .31 cents a share, but it is a start and to the GE retirees it is important to keep this issue at the forefront of issues to be addressed and not put on the back burner.

MORE ON THIS MEETING IN FUTURE COLUMNS

WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP

The GE Retiree Justice Fund was started to advocate for better pensions and benefits for GE retirees. DUES ARE $12 PER YEAR, MORE IF YOU CAN AFFORD IT, LESS IF YOU CANNOT. AGAIN THIS YEAR I SENT A $100 DONATION AND CHALLENGE MY FRIENDS TO MATCH ME. SEND ANY DONATION TO GE RETIREES JUSTICE FUND 2917 HAMBURG ST. SCHENECTADY NY 12303.


www.geretirees.com

IB Image

 

This photo is of the participants in the high level meeting of GE Retirees and GE Senior Vice President John Lynch and his team of benefit specialists which took place on July 14, 2010 to discuss problems of GE Retirees.  From left to right, front row, Mike DeSantis, GE Human Relations, John Lynch, GE Senior Vice President Human Resources, Helen Quirini, Schenectady NY co-chair GE Retiree Justice Fund & Pres. Local 301 Retirees, Kevin Mahar, co-chair GE Retirees Justice Fund & Pres. Local 201 Retirees. Back row, from left to right, Tim Stuart, Manager GE Call Centers, Bob Gorham, GE Pensions, Jerry Nastasia, Retiree Lynn, Ma., Mary Beth Stevens-Carhide, GE Hewalthcare Administrator, Bill Freeda, Vice Pres NABET Retiree Coordinator, Owen Humpress, Retiree Local 761 Louisville Ky., Barbara Beckman, GE Manager of Benefits, Jerry Beckum, Pres. Local 761 Retirees Louisville Ky., Floyd Miklic,  Retiree Local 301 Schenectady NY, Mike Cerrone, Retiree Local 120 Philadelphia Pa.     

 

 



 

 

 LOCAL 201 RETIREES COLUMN

BY KEVIN D. MAHAR

PRESIDENT OF THE LOCAL 201 RETIREES COUNCIL

GE ANNUAL SHAREOWNERS MEETING APRIL 28, 2010

As I often have done in the past I am quoting from the verbatim transcript from the GE annual meeting. I do this so you may feel as if you were there, I wonder how many of you remember that old TV program? YOU ARE THERE

The first of many speakers who were advocating for GE retirees was Bill Freeda who is the NABET/CWA National Retiree Coordinator.

“Good morning, Mr. Chairman. MY Name is Bill Freeda. I’m here this morning to tell you that I voted against all the members of the Compensation Committee. I will continue to do so until the time that I believe that this committee is acting tin the best interest of the shareowners and not the senior executives of the General Electric Company. In addition, I abstained when it came to you Jeff. However, I would like to congratulate you –for the very first time you have managed to find a way to disqualify my shareowner proposal. Unfortunately for all of us here, your strategy was to drive the share of the price of our company stock so low that I did not possess the required dollar amount to submit a proposal. In the past when I have spoken out at the shareowners meeting, it has been on behalf of GE retirees. Today I will leave that task to my colleagues. This morning I want to speak of something of a more personal nature.” At this point Bill gave Jeff Immelt and all the shareowners hell about the fact he thought GE did the wrong thing by NBC which made NBC the butt of comedian jokes. At the end of his remarks Jeff Immelt thanked him and went on to the next speaker. Many speakers including me asked about and discussed the cuts in our dividends here is what Jeff Immelt said “So, you know sir, I think cutting the dividend is the toughest decision that I’ve ever had to make. We did it during the financial crisis to make sure we kept the company safe and secure. I know how important the dividend is. Earnings growth is reappearing for GE. Your dividend is going to go up again soon.” “Darrel Martin: How soon? Darrell Martin: Hey is it going to be 11 or 12? Jeff: It’ll be at least 11. Yes sir.” Again this is taken from the GE verbatim transcript.

“Jeff: Share owners Proposal #3 relating to an independent boar chairman was submitted by Ms Helen Wuirini of Schenectadady NY. I know Helen is here today to present the proposal. Helen Quirini: Good afternoon. Jeff: Hi Helen. Helen: I am a proud shareowner but I’m equally proud to be co –chairman of a group called Justice for the Retirees. And Kevin is my co-chairman. Our purpose in life is to make life better for the retirees. I am here again about this proposal and I will continue to bring it up as long as there is breath in my body because I think this is the eighth or sixth time that I have brought it up and each time I get a bit more votes. So I’ve got a lot more explaining to do to the people.” Helen then went on to read the proposal. Helen further said and I quote, “Now this leads me to inquire about Jack Welch’s monthly pension of $8000,000. You hear me ? Monthly pension of $8000,000. While a lot of the retirees are living in poverty. Are the shareowners fully aware of this? The first time I heard this I couldn’t believe it and I said to people, “you must have the figures wrong” They’re not wrong. This is fact.”

WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP

Wish 90 year young Helen Quirini a HAPPY BIRTHDAY BY JOINING HER IN THE GE RETIREE JUSTICE FUND. DUES ARE $12. PER YEAR MORE IF YOU CAN AFFORD IT LESS IF YOU CANNOT. AGAIN THIS YEAR I SEND A $100. DONATION AND CHALLENGE MY FRIENDS TO MATCH ME. SEND ANY DONATION TO GE RETIREES JUSTICE FUND 2917 HAMBURG ST. SCHENECTADY NY 12303       www.geretirees.com

 

 

 

Post-65 Medical Benefits


Local 201 VP Alex Brown:
        
Retirees Picket 2007 GE Stockholders Meeting
    
I joined200 plus retirees and supporters in picketing in front of the GE Stockholders meetingIB Image in South Carolina on Wednesday April 25 calling for justice for retirees.  With signs and chants we highlighted the needs of the GE retirees and then went into the meeting as shareholders to vote and speak for the union supported resolutions.
     The retiree groups are an inspiration to unionism.  43 retirees from the UE Erie, PA RAGE group rode a bus for two days to be part of the protest.  Two buses came from the IUE Salem, VA local, and a bus from the Louisville, KY IB ImageLocal 761.  They were joined by 10 retirees from Local 201, and retirees from Syracuse, NY, Rome, GA, Schenectady, NY, Milwaukee, WI., and NABET in NYC, NY. 
     It truly is a “Hall of Shame” the injustice of the GE pension plan.  It is wrong that Jack Welch receives $800,000 a month while long service retirees like Joe Taliger gets $581 a month. With $15.5 billion surplus in the pension plan, GE can afford to give retirees a raise.  After all, GE has not put money in the pension fund since 1987.
     Meeting Helen Quirini, a union and retiree warrior for over 50 years from Schenectady, NY was a highlight for me.  She spoke in support of an independent Board chairman and got 31% of the vote.  But she also chastised GE for its immorality towards pensioners.  “It is a shame that greed has resulted in the pay of American top executives increasing by leaps and bounds, whileIB Image retirees continue to struggle without even a cost of living increase.”
     Kevin Mahar, president of the Lynn Retirees Council, told the meeting, “the “Hall of Shame” should be ripped down – just like the Berlin Wall.” He has the well deserved respect of the retirees groups that are out there fighting for all of us. I thank them for their tenacious battle for retirees.  I hope to join them someday.

 

IB Image

The 201 Retiree delegation poses after the successful actions before and during the GE Stockholders meeting.  Standing from left: Gerry Nastasia, John Flanagan, Carol Jones, VP Alex Brown, Kevin Maher, Jim Dube, Dave Gannon, Mike Hartnett.  Seated from left:  Carol Nastasia, Betty Flanagan.


2006 GE Shareholders Meeting

DEDICATED RETIREES AGAIN VOICE PENSION FAIRNESS NEEDS IB Image

Once again, a large contingent of GE retirees and supporters descended on the annual GE Shareholder’s meeting. This year’s meeting was held April 26 in Philadelphia.

Local 201 Retiree Association President, Kevin Mahar, with 8 other Local 201 retirees, joined a large group of UE Local 506 GE retirees from Erie, PA and a smattering of retirees and supporters from various GE locations.

Local 201 Business Agent Ric Casilli, along with recently retired LPDD Steward Chet Bowzer, also made the journey in support of the retiree’s just request to GE for pension fairness.

Approximately, 75 GE retirees (many in their 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s) picketed outside the Shareholders Meeting at the Philadelphia Convention Center. Their signs demanded a pension increase, a minimum pension floor, a pension COLA, medical cost relief, andretiree representation on the GE Board of Directors and the Pension Board. A new "Hall of Shame" leaflet was distributed, with former GE CEO Jack Welch’s photo replacing a picture of a recently deceased hourly retiree. The Philadelphia Inquirer picked up the story, as did some local TV stations. The Inquirer, reported the sharp and despicable pension figures in the "Hall of Shame" publication, whereas hourly retirees were receiving pensions in a range of $581 to $1,007 monthly while Jack Welch was bestowed approximately $800,000 monthly.

Following the picket, retiree’s checked into the Shareholder’s Meeting chaired by GE CEO JEFFREY Immelt. 201 Retirees Association President Mahar turned in hundreds of collected proxies representing over a million votes. Proxies were stamped with the words: 1. Annual COLA, 2. Current Minimum, and3. No Raiding of Our Pension Plan. A number of retirees (including Mahar) spoke on a few ballot issues, including on a new question concerning hourly retiree representation on the GE Board of Directors. All speakers spoke respectfully but bluntly, of the blatant unfairness of the distribution of funds out of the GE Pension Plan.

Despite being outvoted, by the millions of shares of stock owned by top corporate officials, the determined retirees felt once again they had highlighted the inequities of the Pension Plan.

It has to make someone… somewhere… at sometime, think that there is something very wrong, when so many retirees are willing to sacrifice three days and ride almost 24 hours in a bus (with canes, meds, and wheelchairs) to make their voices heard.


BOISTEROUS RETIREES PACK
 GE SHAREHOLDER MEETING

Approximately 2,000 people attended the annual GE Shareholders Meeting held this year in Waukesha, Wisconsin.

Newspaper reports indicated that the meeting was packed with GE retirees fighting for increased pension benefits (some getting less than $200 a month) and one newspaper quoted Company officials as stating attendance may have set a record.

The IUE-CWA press release reported that the Union’s share-holder proposal #6 received 13.2% of the vote with the IUE-CWA collecting "more than 6 million proxies from 1,150 members". In addition, many retirees’ groups (including Local 201’s) and others also submitted additional proxies in support of the Union’s resolution, which would have removed pension fund income from formulas used to determine executive compensation.

The 13.2% is a significant number of proxy votes for the issue being on the ballot for the first time and considering the number of proxies held by high corporate officials.

The IUE-CWA passed out a leaflet to shareholders publishing the fact that GE posted a record profit of "$14.1 billion" and the GE Pension Plan produced "$2.1 billion in income in 2001".

At the same time, the leaflet highlighted the plight of GE retirees and IUE-CWA Local 119 members in Philadelphia who are losing their jobs this August as a result of another GE shutdown of a profitable plant. The leaflet was well received and the Local 119 Retired Members Club President received some prime local news coverage.

Related Retiree rallies were held in Louisville, Schenectady, here in Lynn (on April 30th) and other GE locations around the country. With the 2003 GE contract just around the corner, pressure from the unions and retirees groups is just heating up.