Proposed Social Security Cut Harsh Blow to Minorities

A Social Security cut could lead to higher Latino and black elder poverty

Posted December 19, 2012 at 12:53 pm by Algernon Austin

As my colleagues have shown, the “chained” cost-of-living adjustment for Social Security being discussed between President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner is a cut to benefits. The AARP Public Policy Institute’s report, Social Security: A Key Retirement Income Source for Older Minorities, helps us to think about how this cut might affect different racial groups.

Nearly one-in-five (18.7 percent) of the Hispanic elderly lives in poverty. For African Americans, the rate is one-in-six (17.1 percent) (Figure A). A cut to Social Security benefits runs the risk of significantly increasing these rates.

Latinos and blacks tend to have lower lifetime earnings and this fact results in lower levels of Social Security income. But it is also the case that these groups have less wealth and therefore depend on Social Security more. Figure B shows that roughly one-in-four Latino (25.4 percent) and black (26.3 percent) Social Security beneficiaries rely on Social Security for 100 percent of their income. For these individuals, Social Security cuts will hurt the most.

Pittsburgh’s Largest Anti-Union Employer Charged by NLRB

UPMC charged with union violations

NLRB files complaint against health system
December 20, 2012 12:03 am

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By Ann Belser / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

An ongoing dispute between the UPMC health system and a union working to organize service and maintenance workers at three Pittsburgh hospitals escalated Wednesday, when the National Labor Relations Board charged UPMC with violating federal laws regarding employees’ rights to organize a union.

In a 30-page complaint against the Pittsburgh health care provider, the government detailed a pattern of intimidation of employees to discourage union-organizing efforts and retaliate against those the health provider knew were engaged in union activities.

Robert W. Chester, the regional director of the labor relations board, said Wednesday that it was the biggest case brought against a single employer in the four years that he has headed the Pittsburgh office.

UPMC has denied the allegations. A hearing is scheduled for February.

The complaint seeks to have the hospitals repay any suspended employees for lost time at work, and to reinstate and pay back wages to employees fired for union organizing. The board is also wants the health provider to allow the union access to bulletin boards where employee notices are normally posted and to expunge unlawful policies.

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No End to Republican Plans to Rig the Vote

The GOP’s New Electoral College Scheme Includes Pennsylvania

By Reid Wilson
Beaver County Blue via National Journal

Dec 17, 2012 – Republicans alarmed at the apparent challenges they face in winning the White House are preparing an all-out assault on the Electoral College system in critical states, an initiative that would significantly ease the party’s path to the Oval Office.

Senior Republicans say they will try to leverage their party’s majorities in Democratic-leaning states in an effort to end the winner-take-all system of awarding electoral votes. Instead, bills that will be introduced in several Democratic states would award electoral votes on a proportional basis.

Already, two states — Maine and Nebraska — award an electoral vote to the winner of each congressional district. The candidate who wins the most votes statewide takes the final two at-large electoral votes. Only once, when President Obama won a congressional district based in Omaha in 2008, has either of those states actually split their vote.

But if more reliably blue states like Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin were to award their electoral votes proportionally, Republicans would be able to eat into what has become a deep Democratic advantage.

Continue reading No End to Republican Plans to Rig the Vote