APWU Retirees Still Fighting for Justice

Nancy Olumekor

May 7, 2021

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(This article first appeared in the May/June 2021 issue of the American Postal Worker magazine)

Every May, our nation observes Older Americans Month. The theme for 2021 is “Communities of Strength.” Older Americans’ stories and contributions help to support and inspire others. This year, we can all celebrate the strengths of older adults, with special emphasis on the power of connection and engagement in building strong communities.

One of the most important things we can do is connect with others. This plays a vital role in our health and wellbeing, and in that of our communities. Plan activities to bring older adults together with others within the community as a sign of unity and strength.

Below are some activities we can do to build connections this Older Americans Month:

  • Establish pen pals or keyboard pals. Older adults can help establish pen pals between adolescents and young adults. It can be step up as an activity with schools, youth organizations, churches or recreational organizations serving all ages. When older adults share their wisdom, time, and encouragement, connections are built with new generations.
  • Host distanced outdoor events in your community, while making sure to follow all of the current social distancing guidelines and safety measures. Ideas include:
  • Game nights or afternoons. Use Zoom or in-person with contactless games.
  • Hold an outdoor movie night. Consider a light-hearted movie that can be enjoyed by everyone, no matter their age.
  • Coordinate a musical event. Music helps people to connect and heal, among other things. Consider hiring musicians, let participants show off their musical talents, or just play music from an app and let everyone make requests. Encourage clapping and distanced dancing over singing and shouting.

Organize a group project by having participants work individually before their work is combined to create a final masterpiece. All collection activities can be done without contact. Ideas include:

  • Creating a community quilt.
  • Decorating a public garden or community walking path.
  • Establishing a physical or virtual bulletin board.
  • Planting a community garden of flowers or vegetables.
  • Designing a mosaic art project or mural.

Go to acl.gov/oam/2021/older-americans-month-2021 to read more about how you can participate.

Our Legislative Priorities

We must continue to contact our representatives in the House of Representatives and the Senate to support the USPS Fairness Act (H.R. 695 and S. 145), to fully repeal the retiree health benefits pre-funding mandate, reverting back to a pay-as-you-go system that the Postal Service used prior to the PAEA.

In addition, ask them to support the Social Security Fairness Act of 2021 (H.R. 82). This bill repeals provisions that reduce Social Security benefits for individuals who receive other benefits, such as a pension from a state or local government by eliminating the Windfall Elimination Provisions (WEP) and the Government Pension Offset (GPO).

In addition, contact your senators to pass the following two bills already passed in the House: The For the People Act, which will expand voting rights, change campaign finance laws to reduce the influence of money in politics, limit partisan gerrymandering, and create new ethics rules for federal officeholders. The Protecting the Right to Organize Act (PRO Act), which expands various labor protections related to employees’ rights to organize and collectively bargain in the workplace.

Join the APWU Retirees Department online on the “Members Only” page. Dues are $3.00 monthly. If you have questions about your retirement, email RetireeQandA@apwu.org. Other inquiries for the Retirees Department can be sent to retiree2@apwu.org.

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