A message from PEF Retirees President Steve
Follow Harriet Tubman’s lead
Harriet Tubman was
an American hero. She was born a slave in Maryland around 1820. Although
never taught to read or write, she escaped slavery and went on to become the
most prominent African American to help slaves make the dangerous journey to
freedom via the Underground Railroad.
Risking life and limb, with a $40,000 bounty on her head, she made many
perilous treks into the South and rescued hundreds of slaves.
Interviewed in later life about her legacy, Tubman was quoted as saying, “I
freed a thousand slaves. I could have freed a thousand more if only they
knew they were slaves.”
Tubman was denouncing the complacency that allows certain individuals to
live with the accepted status quo.
Here we stand, more than a century and a half later, troubled by federal,
state and local governments that are more responsive to special interests,
lobbyists, and “big money” than to working class people and deserving senior
We are told government can’t afford to provide a decent standard of living
for most Americans, yet a small percentage of the population is gifted with
a tilted tax advantage so they can amass incalculable wealth and power.
Are you satisfied we are being treated fairly?
In today’s America, the prominent themes when discussing the federal and
state budgets are reduction and elimination. Reducing or eliminating
pensions, reducing or eliminating Social Security, reducing or eliminating
health care, prescription drugs and the standard of living for workers and
retirees have regrettably become de rigueur.
Harriet Tubman would not accept the status quo. She risked her life, and led
those who followed her out of slavery.
Our governments should serve all the people, not just the rich and powerful.
Are we satisfied to be servants to the artificial parameters the power
brokers in this country have constructed for us? Don’t let self-serving
ideologues dictate what government can and cannot do.
Now, it’s our time to act. Let’s start by writing our state legislators and
asking them to support A.8376, a bill that would raise the annual
cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) to our pensions from 50 percent to 100
percent of the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for the first $18,000 of our
The politics of PEF and the PEF Retirees is not about political parties; it
is about PEF’s issues and whether individual politicians work to support our
issues. Those who work to support our issues can count on our support.
On the federal level, we can do a great deal in 2008 by supporting our
union-endorsed presidential and congressional candidates.
They will best represent our interests in Washington. Work with PEF and the
Harriet Tubman demonstrated great courage in acting on her convictions.
Complacency was never her option. Will our legacy be one of passive,
mournful complaint, or committed, courageous action?