December Update from SOAR President Bill Pienta

We Should Not Sit Back

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the members of SOAR who took part in any political action activity this past election cycle.

Once again, we showed our value to our union by getting active and participating in phone banking, writing postcards, block walks, letters to the editor, and other activities.

However, now is not the time to sit back and pat each other on the back. Now is the time to bring attention to issues that are important to our members.

A major issue for retirees is the constant threats to our earned benefits, like Social Security and Medicare. 

The recently announced 1.3% cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) increase to Social Security brings the average benefit for recipients to $1543 for 2021.  

Although this seems beneficial to retirees, when you deduct $148.50 for the premium for Medicare Part B and the increase for the Part B deductible (which becomes $205 in 2021) and then include the out-of-pocket co-pays and other deductibles there is not much left; especially if you have a premium for Part D - the prescription drug program.

Social Security and Medicare are vital to the livelihood of most retirees and with the rising cost of Medicare and the cost-of-living we need our Social Security benefits to reflect that. 

Another issue important to pensioners is a severe problem with multi-employer pension plans.

Over 1.3 million people are members of, or recipients of, a benefit from these types of plans. The USW has thousands of members in these plans. Many of these plans are severely underfunded and will not have enough money to pay full benefits in the future without some type of assistance.   

We must fight for the earned retirement pensions of our retirees. 

Members of the U.S. Senate oppose a proposal of economic relief passed in the U.S. House of Representatives because they claim it contains non-Covid related items, such as the Butch Lewis Act, which would address the multi-employer pension issue. 

We must continue to bring retiree issues into the discussion with our elected officials, our union through our Rapid Response program, and our SOAR members, many of who may be unaware of the need to address these issues and how our involvement in offering ways to resolve them requires their involvement.

SOAR can be pivotal in addressing the need to increase Social Security and to protect the standard of living for our present and future retirees.

We should not sit back and expect someone else to fight for our retirement security.  

Wishing you a safe and holiday season.

Press Inquiries

Media Contacts

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USW@WORK (USW magazine)
Editor R.J. Hufnagel

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Call USW Communications at 412-562-2442

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United Steelworkers
Communications Department
60 Blvd. of the Allies
Pittsburgh, PA 15222