Building a Better Department
(This article by Retirees Department Director Judy Beard appears in the May/June 2008 issue of The American Postal Worker magazine.)
Retirees are an invaluable asset to the American Postal Workers Union.
Many current APWU Retirees Department members were delegates to the 12th Biennial National Convention in Detroit in 1994, when the department was created. More than a decade ago, union members had the foresight to realize that retirees bring experience, knowledge, and availability to the labor movement.
It is in everyone’s interest — national, state, and local officers, full dues-paying members, and members of the APWU Retirees Department — to encourage postal retirees to become members of the department. In addition to helping the labor union move its agenda, retirees find membership a natural way to stay involved on issues affecting older Americans. The APWU Constitution and Bylaws gives individual retirees the option to join by:
As a result of a special resolution adopted for the second year in a row by the National Executive Board, APWU members retiring this year who choose the third option will have the first year’s $24 fee waived if they sign up to have it deducted from their OPM annuity. Approximately 85 percent of our 45,000 retired members find it convenient to have the $2 per month retiree dues deducted from the annuity.
What’s In It for You?
Retiree members take advantage of many of the same programs offered to full dues-paying members. Through the Voluntary Benefits Plan, for example, retirees are offered: dental insurance, hospital indemnity insurance, life insurance, legal insurance, and a mortgage program.
Through the Accident Benefit Association, retirees are offered: accidental-death and accident-related disability coverage.
Retired members who live in areas where there are APWU Retirees chapters have an opportunity to enjoy the company of their postal friends and union family, and to keep updated on matters that enrich their lives.
Click here to learn whether there is a chapter in your area. If no chapter exists near you, click the “Form an APWU Retirees Chapter” link and request a “starter kit.”
Once you have the kit, meet with the local APWU president for assistance in scheduling a meeting of retired members.
At meetings, retirees typically exchange information on discounts and free community programs; and material is distributed on Social Security, Medicare, and longterm-care insurance. Discussions are held on volunteer and paid jobs in the community.
In the run-up to the national elections this fall, APWU Retirees chapters will be reviewing pending legislation that affects retirees and discussing where the candidates stand. Chapters will be called upon to assist with phone banks, canvass union members, and remind everyone they contact of the importance of registering and voting .
All elections are important, but this one especially so. Making an active mark through chapters on issues important to retirees is just another way that we can all work together to build a stronger APWU Retirees Department!