Posts Tagged ‘Alumni Association’

National Legislative Director Risch addresses NARVRE

SMART Transportation Division National Legislative Director John Risch addressed the National Association of Retired and Veteran Railway Employees (NARVRE) in Council Bluffs, Iowa, on May 21, touching on the current national political climate and the need for retirees to step up to protect what is rightfully theirs amid renewed attacks on unions.

“What is happening in D.C. is what I call ‘an erosion of civility,'” Risch told attendees at NARVRE’s 41st Biennial Convention at the Hilton Garden Inn. “Add to that erosion the closeness of the numbers in each house of Congress, and you have a keen focus on the next election, not a keen focus on what’s right for our country.”

SMART Transportation Division National Legislative Director John Risch addresses the NARVRE biennial convention May 21 in Iowa.

An explosion in deficit spending caused by the tax cuts and spending bills passed by Congress at the end of last year once again has fueled talk by some politicians of cutting so-called entitlements.

Politicians’ eyes see the nest egg of Railroad Retirement — the result of the hard work of current and past railroaders — and would love to dive into that pension plan, Risch told the retirees.

NARVRE, an advocacy group out of Mississippi, has worked to preserve Railroad Retirement benefits for more than 80 years for members of all rail unions.

“When Speaker Paul Ryan and his crew talk about the need to rein in ‘entitlements,’ you need to know that what they want to cut is your Railroad Retirement benefits and reduce your Medicare coverage,” he said. “Something you already paid for, but since the government used the money for things like tax cuts for the railroads, they want to break the agreements that were made with all of us.”

Those attacks should rouse retirees and active workers alike to action, Risch said.

“When the debt and deficit debate starts in earnest, we need NARVRE, and more importantly, NARVRE members to shout out: ‘No to any cuts in our pension, Medicare and Medicaid.’ Our union, of course, will be there, but we can’t do it alone,” Risch said. “Your grassroots response is the only thing that will stop substantial cuts to these vital safety nets.”

Greedy corporate interests also are looking to tear unions down these days. The Janus case pending in the U.S. Supreme Court could kill “union security clauses,” allowing those who don’t pay dues to leech off public unions, he told attendees.

“It’s Janus and public employees today, and the rest of us will be next,” Risch said.

Other threats include the potential of automation to further whittle away railroad jobs and for politicians to eliminate Amtrak in the name of savings. These scenarios would have a catastrophic effect on Railroad Retirement’s sustainability.

But speaking out can help preserve what Risch calls the “crown jewel” that rail workers created.

“It’s not NARVRE or the rail unions that will protect our pension,” he said. “It’s the grassroots efforts of our members and people like all of you in this room — people who demand of their congressional delegation that Amtrak gets the money it needs; who demand that Congress keep their hands off our Railroad Retirement and Medicare,” Risch said.

“The good news is very few Americans are politically active, meaning those that are have far more clout then they should. So I’m calling on each of you to use that clout. Call your elected representatives, attend their town hall meetings and speak out. That’s what’s effective.”

Calendar photo submissions due Oct. 9

Photo submissions for the 2018 SMART TD Alumni Association calendar are due by 9 a.m. EST, Monday, Oct. 9, so that the SMART TD PR department may get to work on choosing which photos to feature in the 2018 calendar.

SMART Transportation Division is seeking quality railroad, bus and airline photos, taken by members, for placement in the annual SMART TD Alumni Association calendar and for other uses.

High-resolution digital photographs should be emailed to: “news_TD@smart-union.org.”

Printed photographs should be mailed to SMART TD News, 24950 Country Club Blvd., Suite 340, North Olmsted, OH 44070.

Be sure to include the photographer’s name and local number, the name(s) of the person(s) in the photograph (left to right) and any other pertinent information, such as the date and location where the photograph was taken.

Due to federal or state regulations, or company restrictions on employees’ use of personal electronic devices, including cameras, on company property or while on duty, all members are advised to never take photos while on duty and to only take photos from a clear point of safety and in compliance with all applicable company rules.

All photographs submitted become property of SMART Transportation Division.

Previsich, Risch speak at San Antonio Regional Meeting

Q&A with SMART TD President Previsich at San Antonio Regional Meeting, June 14, 2017

SMART TD President John Previsich answers members’ questions during the closing session.

 


 

SMART TD President Previsich honors retiree Ken Menges at San Antonio Regional Meeting, June 14, 2017

SMART TD President John Previsich presented a certificate of appreciation to retiree Ken Menges for his work on improving the SMART TD Alumni Association.

 


 

SMART TD National Legislative Director John Risch speaks about legislation concerning our membership, June 14, 2017

SMART TD National Legislative Director John Risch gave an update to our membership on what’s going on legislatively in Washington D.C.

Alumni Association: The best $9 investment out there

Carl Cochran; Cochran, CarlBy Carl Cochran
UTU Alumni Association Coordinator

So you’ve invested 40 years of your life working on the railroad or with a bus or transit agency.

You paid your dues – figuratively and literally – to your employer and to your union.

Maybe you were an officer in your local, or just involved. Maybe you even helped with the UTU PAC. Now it’s time for those young ones you probably helped to train to carry on in your stead. It’s time to go fishing, clean out the garage, paint the house, or just take a long break. You have it all figured out.

I’m with you. I’ve been retired from the railroad since 2005. And what we have in common is we are all drawing Railroad Retirement or Social Security benefits and we’re covered by Medicare.

Do you know there are about twice as many retired railroaders as there are active ones? This is important, because you may also remember how, every few years, while you were working, politicians wanted to get their hands on your Railroad Retirement? Well, they are at it again.

Do you also know that attacks on Social Security and Medicare are on Washington’s menu again? Those who want to balance the budget and control the deficits on the backs of folks who paid their dues all their lives have their sights and claws all over our present and future retirements. The business of protecting and improving benefits for you, your family and all those following in your footsteps never sleeps.

Given the threats surrounding us, we need you to stay involved more than ever.

The UTU Alumni Association gives you that opportunity to continue belonging – to stay in touch, to learn about the hot-button issues of the day affecting us, and to participate in helping stem the political tide washing over our livelihoods and threatening our retirement security.

UTU Alumni Association meetings and news keep you informed of threats, and provide an opportunity to take collective action. Retirees can’t match the political contributions of our former employers, but we are known to participate in politics and to vote more than any other demographic group in America. Politicians listen to retirees.

Please consider staying involved by joining the UTU Alumni Association.

In addition to keeping you up to date regarding your union and retirement benefits, the UTU Alumni Association provides additional benefits such as an annual calendar, an embroidered baseball cap, listing in the Final Call, membership in the nearest Alumni Association chapter, discounts on car rentals, cruises, airline travel and lodging, discounts on cellphone service, and much more.

Membership in the UTU Alumni Association also ensures you continue to receive the UTU News in your mailbox.

For more information and to download a membership application form, click on the following link:

https://smart-union.org/td/alumni/

Or you can call the UTU Alumni Association administrator at (216) 228-9400, extension 3012, and join by paying with a credit card.

For $9 annually, membership in the UTU Alumni Association is an investment you can’t afford not to make.

UTU Alumni offering tour to Opryland

UTU Alumni offering tour to Opryland

The UTU is offering members of its Alumni Association a holiday tour they will not soon forget: the newly renovated Gaylord Opryland hotel and convention center, plus the Grand Ole Opry theater, in Nashville, Tenn.

The “Country Christmas” tour will take place Tuesday, Dec. 7, through Friday, Dec. 10, at the Gaylord Opryland resort.

The tour includes three nights at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel; tickets to “The Radio City Christmas Spectacular, starring the world-famous Rockettes;” tickets to Louise Mandrell’s special dinner show; tickets to “ICE: Nashville’s Winter Wonderland;” the “Treasure for the Holidays” craft show featuring a variety of handmade and novelty gifts; the “Hall of Trees” holiday-tree display; a coupon book good for discounts throughout the resort; luggage handling, taxes and resort fees.

The cost of the tour, arranged through the UTU Alumni Association’s designated travel professionals, Landfall Travel, is $495 per person double occupancy; $415 per person triple; $375 per person quad, and $725 per single.

Parking is an additional $18 per day, if desired.

A non-refundable deposit of $100 is due with the reservation. The balance is due by Oct. 15. Landfall representatives can also handle requests for air travel, upgraded room accommodations or other special requests.

Call Landfall toll free at (800) 835-9233; check out the Alumni Association page on www.landfalltravel.com or email travel@landfalltravel.com for more information.

This tour is open to all UTU Alumni Association members, family and friends; other UTU members are welcome to join them as space permits.