A message from PEF Retirees President Steve Muscarella
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 Americans.

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 annual pensions.

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 PEF Retirees.
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?

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