Returning to the Union in a Non-Retiring Role

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(This article appeared in the July/August 2005 issue of The American Postal Worker magazine)

Doug Holbrook, Director

I am very pleased to have been appointed to the job of Retirees Director. I sincerely thank President Burrus for this opportunity, and I look forward to continuing the outstanding work of my predecessor, John R. Smith.

I had the privilege of representing you as your Secretary-Treasurer from 1981 until my retirement in 1998. Since leaving APWU, I have been on the Board of Directors of AARP, serving as its Vice President/Secretary-Treasurer for the past year.

It’s good to be back in the fold, to be serving the folks near and dear to me: You, the American Postal Workers Union’s outstanding retirees. I know that you are as aware as I am of the struggles ahead, and, with your help, this is certain to be one of my most exciting undertakings. We have a lot of work to do to try and bring out the best this country has for the good people who keep it going.

As APWU retirees, we — you and me — represent one of the strongest coalitions of activists. We have owned homes, raised families, and paid our dues: not only to APWU, but to America. Our experience is vital in helping the women and men of future generations guarantee that when it is time for them to retire there will be good healthcare options and guaranteed Social Security.

We must make sure that they can earn decent wages, have ample opportunity for advancement, and can be confident that they are guaranteed the security of the best situations possible for their families. Their children must be afforded an education that is second to none. We need to help build a future that grows ever brighter.

On the Agenda

My agenda revolves around working to improve your lives, to help assure you of a future you can depend on so that your retirement years, which you earned through your hard work and dedication, are a reward, not a fight to survive. We need to make sure that our elected representatives — locally and on Capitol Hill — listen well to what we say.

I am going to do everything I can do to facilitate a positive dialogue between you and those who represent you and control your fate.

I know many of you personally and have had the privilege of serving thousands of others that I haven’t met. Now I want you to work with me.

Let me hear from you about the issues that you feel we need to emphasize. It’s clear that a main concern is paying for healthcare (and prescription drugs), and that the threat to Social Security is a worry. And with the cost of living constantly on the rise, middle-income America is more and more the workhorse that carries not only those in low-income families, but the very rich, by making life even easier for them.

Retirees are one of the largest blocs of voters and therefore among the most powerful political groups in the country. We stay busy, and sometimes are busier than when we worked. But if we direct some of that energy into reining in those who want to take control of our future and show them that we are an impenetrable wall that won’t come down, we can make a difference.

Among the Issues

Listed below are some of the issues I feel should be addressed. I welcome suggestions from each and every one of you regarding these or other matters you are interested in:

Postal retirement and healthcare

  • Medicare and Medicaid
  • Solvency of Social Security
  • Protection of the U.S. Postal Service
  • Building local and state chapters of APWU retirees
  • Continued growth of COPA

I can be reached at 202-842-8585. Call me, write me, come see me — we are here to serve you.

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