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Protect Your Right to Vote

Judy Beard, Director
Retirees Department

(This article appears in the March-April 2014 issue of The American Postal Worker magazine.)

In the January-February issue of this magazine, I asked readers to make a list of contacts who will serve as a support network for the midterm elections. Now that you have your list together, it’s time to put it into action.

Urgent Update: 
Tell Your U.S. Rep.: Oppose The Ryan
Medicare-Killing Budget!

(04/07/14) Retiree Director Judy Beard is asking all members to contact their congressional representatives to oppose House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s budget resolution, which once again attacks Medicare by increasing the age of eligibility and implementing a voucher system. [read more]

First up is the Voting Rights Amendment Act of 2014, which would protect the voting rights of seniors, minorities, students and others who were affected by last year’s Supreme Court ruling that gutted the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Although the bill does not go as far as we would like to stop discriminatory voter ID laws, it is a step in the right direction and we should voice our support for it.

The Voting Rights Amendment Act (S. 1945) was introduced in the Senate by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT). As of early February, co-sponsors included Sen. Christopher Coons (D- DE) and Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL).

A bi-partisan bill (H.R. 3899) was introduced in the House by Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI). Co-sponsors include Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-AL), Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH), Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI), Rep. Michael Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Rep. John Conyers (D- MI), Rep. Jim Cooper (D-TN), Rep. Joe Courtney (D-CT), Rep. Michael Honda (D-CA), Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD), Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), Rep. Doris O. Matsui (D-CA), Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL), and Rep. Robert C. Scott (D-VA).

I urge you to seek assistance from the people on your contact list to help increase the number of co-sponsors of these two bills. Please ask your senators and representatives (regardless of political affiliation) to sign-on today.

In addition, please contact the election commissioner’s office in your county and/or state now to request the rules for registering to vote, absentee ballots, early voting and regular voting. The rules will include the deadlines for requesting and returning ballots, the dates and locations of early voting, a list of the documents voters will need, and any other requirements.

Older Americans Month

APWU National
Retiree Conference

A National Retiree Conference will be held in conjunction with the APWU 22nd Biennial National Convention in Chicago, July 19-20, 2014. All members of the Retirees Department are invited to attend, and spouses or guests may register for the event as visitors. [read more]

In January the APWU National Executive Board passed a resolution supporting Older Americans Month, which takes place in May. The resolution calls on local and state unions and retiree chapters to schedule events to pay tribute to retirees. After all, the wages and benefits that postal workers enjoy today exist only because of the hard work and sacrifices of our retirees, many of whom remain active leaders in the labor movement and their communities. Our retirees fought for our right to engage in collective bargaining, worked for good contracts, and urged Congress to do right by postal workers.

Today, APWU retirees are fighting to make sure that we are not the last generation to retire from the USPS. We contribute to COPA, organize and attend rallies, and urge members of Congress to oppose the dismantling of the Postal Service and downgrading of service standards. Of course, we also work to protect the benefits retirees have earned.

Events organized in May by our locals, states, and chapters in past years include lunches, the presentation of awards and certificates at meetings, visits, and phone calls to say thank you.

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