New Retirees Participate In Union’s First-Ever Telephone Town Hall
03/26/2013 - More than 950 new members of the APWU Retirees Department participated in the union’s first-ever Telephone Town Hall conference call on March 21, where participants learned the in-and-outs of retirement and the benefits of remaining active in the APWU.
Retirees Department Director Judy Beard highlighted the benefits of membership, including the programs offered by Union Plus, the Voluntary Benefits Plan, and the Accident Benefits Association, as well as resources provided by the APWU Retirees Department.
“It gave me resources in the comfort of my own home,” said Adrianne Johnson of the Cleveland Area Local.
Speaking on behalf of President Cliff Guffey and the National Executive Board, Secretary-Treasurer Liz Powell urged members to contact their congressional representatives and senators to ask them to support the Postal Service Protection Act (S. 316 and H.R. 630), which would help solve the Postal Service’s financial crisis and halt many planned cutbacks in service.
“After 44 years of fighting on behalf of the postal service employees, I will continue to do that into retirement,” commented Alberto Ortiz, a retiree from the Puerto Rico Area Local.
Beard also discussed a bill of special interest to retirees, the Keeping our Social Security Promises Act (S. 500), which was introduced by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT). The legislation would ensure the solvency of Social Security for the next 50 years without cutting benefits, Beard said. She encouraged participants to ask members of Congress to support S. 500, as well as S. 316 and H.R. 630.
Responding to the request to remain active, Ellen J. Grip said, “I get those instant alerts, and I send them out right away to the senators and congressman, and anybody that can help us keep our benefits. I think that’s crucial to enjoying our retirements.”
Interacting with OPM
A representative of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) gave a presentation about the federal agency, which processes postal employees’ retirement packages, makes annuity payments, and manages other retirement benefits. Participants were provided information about what to expect while their retirement packages are processed, as well as in the future, when they receive their full retirement benefits and may need to access other services of OPM.
Ronald Torrez of the Globe Local chuckled as he said, “Now I feel like I have somebody that I can talk to about certain items—I don’t feel so quite alone in trying to maneuver this!”
Participants were able to ask questions and several were answered during the Telephone Town Hall. “We wanted to be respectful of our members’ time, so we were not able to get through all of the questions,” Beard said, “but thanks to the technology we used, we will be able to follow-up on the questions we did not have time to answer during the phone call.” Additional questions may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dan Wasell, of the Greater Seattle Area Local, said, “I do enjoy the Q and A from the different retiree members throughout the country, because, at some point, one of them will ask something that is of great importance to me… Let’s do it again!”