Union retirees can make a difference for all retirees, workers

RETIREES VOTING is vital to good public policy decisions, and it’s critical that “savvy seniors VOTE,” was the key message on a tee shirt for the more than 50 retirees at the holiday gathering Nov. 30 sponsored by the Missouri Alliance of Retired Americans at Machinists District 9 building. Stressing the importance of retiree involvement was Missouri ARA President Mike Louis (center) and Teamsters Local 600 retiree club President Ron Gushleff, Sr. – Labor Tribune photos

Join the Missouri Alliance for Retired Americans, the best $10 you’ll ever invest in yourself and community

If you are a Union retiree, you need to be a member of the Missouri Alliance of Retired Americans (MO ARA).

That was the appeal made at a special MO ARA luncheon meeting Nov. 30 at the Machinists District 9 hall where more than 50 retirees from a host of unions joined together to talk about the value of retirees being involved in local political and community issues to not only benefit themselves and other union retirees, but retired workers across the spectrum.

Mike Louis, MO ARA president (retired Missouri State Labor Council president), stressed the value of the retirees’ experience and expertise in building bridges to their friends and other retired union members and spouses to encourage their involvement and membership in the organization. The cost: only $10 annually.

He pointed out how state laws being passed in Jefferson City can positively – and negatively – impact retirees, making the point that retirees need to have more input into those decisions while they are in the formation stages.

“A strong Alliance can have a major impact on legislators, but they have to hear from us, and the way to do that is through your membership and involvement in the Missouri ARA chapter,” Louis stressed.

He also noted that the MO ARA is here to help retirees who have issues. “If someone is in jeopardy, we’re here to help,” he said. Louis can be reached by phone or text at 314-378-8198 or email at mikezaxbi@hotmail.com.

“Too often people don’t know what they’re talking about,” said Teamsters Local 600 Retiree Club president Ron Gushleff, Sr., referring to politicos who make decisions without really listening to their constituents. “They need to hear from retirees, and we need to get out and vote to make sure our voices are heard” by those who are for and against our issues and who too often take retirees for granted.

As an example of why voting is critical, Gushleff pointed out that in the recent U.S. Senate race, Democrat Trudy Bush Valentine lost by 274,761 votes. Contrast that with the fact that in St. Louis County, 273,484 registered voters DID NOT vote.

In the city of St. Louis, 100,572 registered voters DID NOT vote.

And to add to that discomforting lack of interest, there are another 100,000 voting age residents in St. Louis County and 45,000 in St. Louis City that are NOT EVEN REGISTERED to vote, and at least half to three-quarters of them were likely Democratic votes.

“We need to get Democrats out to vote. It’s important to vote,” he stressed, making the point that retirees could make a difference in the turnout by voting themselves and getting their friends and neighbors to vote as well.

“Join your union’s retiree club and the Missouri ARA,” he stressed. “Retirees can make a difference.”

St. Louis County Executive Sam Page welcomed retirees and said the importance of workers being educated about the issues and people that make local governments work.

Unions not only fight for issues for their members and retirees, their actions create better wages, benefits and working conditions for ALL workers, he said

“It’s important to know what’s going on in your government, to let you vote to express your agreement or disagreement with your representatives,” Page said.


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