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Just as the AFL-CIO is calling for us to call 1-888-355-3588 and speak to our congresspersons against CAFTA, comes this note:

Latinos Fight for Social Security

A union brother at the April 28 "Latinos for a Secure Retirement" meeting explained why nobody understands George W Bush's Social Security plan. He said that the President has trouble with pronouncing words such as "nuclear" (nu-ku-lar, the President says). When he talks about Social Security, we think he is pleading for "privatization," when he is actually just mis-pronouncing his real intention toward the Social Security program, "pirate-tization!"

Unionists joined the Hispanic Federation, consisting of the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA) and the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), for the panel presentation and speakout at the Dallas Electrician's Workers hall. The American Association of Retired persons (AARP), Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (by video), and the Texas AFL-CIO cooperated for a local panel discussion on how Latinos need Social Security and how to fight the Bush privatization scheme.

It was pointed out that Latinos need Social Security even more than the general population. Older Latinos, who often work at lousy jobs, are much less likely to have company pensions or big 401k accounts when they can't work any more. Latinos suffer more on-the-job accidents than any other American group, thus they are much more likely to need the disability payments that make up 30% of the Social Security program. Walter Hinojosa, a LCLAA leader and Legislative Director for the Texas AFL-CIO, said that Latina widows need Social Security survivors benefits because they tend to be among the neediest of all Americans.

Dr. Gabriela D Lemus of LULAC said that the Social Security trust fund currently contains $27 billion dollars that cannot be touched. Most of it came from undocumented Latino workers who pay into the system but cannot qualify for benefits. The audience agreed that Latinos, and especially undocumented workers, are getting the blame for everything that's wrong in America while the real problem is cuts in people's programs and tax-cut handouts for the wealthiest people.

Dr. Gabriela D Lemus of national LULAC, Walter Hinojosa of Texas AFL-CIO, JR Flores of UAW 276, and Gerardo Contreras, President of Dallas LCLAA


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