Convention Recognizes Value of Retirees

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(This article appeared in the May/June 2004 issue of The American Postal Worker magazine)

John R. Smith, Director

With one exciting vote in Detroit in 1994, delegates to the 12th Biennial Convention of the American Postal Workers Union unanimously declared that retirees are respected and appreciated, and deserve a status that shows they are a strong part of their union.

The delegates' historic action that amended the union constitution made it perfectly clear that APWU retirees are not ready to just fade away, but that they instead are integral, participating members of the union that they built. The convention's action reaffirmed that despite their advancing years, retirees can make contributions to continue to build the APWU into one of the most powerful labor unions in the world.

Amend to That

The vote in Detroit added the following language to the APWU Constitution and Bylaws, in Article 3.4(d): "All retirees who desire to become members of the APWU Retirees Department shall pay Twenty-Four ($24.00) dollars per year per capita tax to the National Union. Such retirees shall elect five (5) delegates to the National Convention. Each Retiree National Convention Delegate will have a voice and one (1) vote at the national convention."

In addition, the delegates in 1994 added what is now Article 11.2(m): "Candidates for Retiree National Convention Delegate must be members in good standing of the APWU Retirees Department, paying Twenty-Four ($24.00) Dollars per year per capita tax to the National Union. A member of the APWU Retirees DepartmentÉ may request a nominating petition and may nominate himself or herself or any other member in good standing of the APWU Retirees Department to be a candidate for Retiree National Convention Delegate for the region that he/she will represent." Members in good standing who are nominated by others and are not self-nominated, will be notified that they have been so nominated and must agree in writing to accept the nomination before their names can be placed on the ballot."

Changed in subsequent conventions, Article 11, Section 3(a) now includes this language: "Candidates for Retiree National Convention Delegate shall certify that they are members in good standing of the APWU Retirees Department and are not employed by the United States Postal Service."

Article 11, Section 3(b) now includes the stipulation that the names of candidates for Retiree National Convention Delegate will appear in the official organ of the APWU (the July/August issue of The American Postal Worker in an election year).

In Article 3, Section 4(d) includes the language that "The five (5) Retiree National Convention Delegates shall be paid necessary expenses to attend the National Convention."

Organize and Win!

Given today's intensive and continuing congressional attacks on postal/federal retirement programs, locals can benefit from input from the retirees who helped to build the APWU. Their assistance will go a long way in helping to stop Congress and the Presidential Commission "butchers" from cutting the benefits of active workers and retirees.

Every national, state and local officer of the APWU is charged with lending assistance to efforts to organize retirees' locals everywhere there is an active APWU local.

To date, 30 local chapters and three state chapters have been organized. There are more than 40,000 APWU Retiree members.

Everyone should get involved with the retiree organizing drive. Not only will increased organizing mean increased participation on all fronts, but helping to bring retirees into the union fold can make you a winner.

Convention Preview

The Retirees Department will hold two days of meetings just prior to the union's five-day APWU National Convention in Los Angeles. The retirees' meetings are in the convention's headquarters hotel, the Westin Bonaventure, on Aug. 21-22, (Saturday and Sunday), from 1 to 4 p.m. each day.

Chosen in the 2001 APWU national elections, the Retiree National Convention Delegates are: Beverly Shealy (Central Region), Byron Denton (Western Region), Elizabeth Cramer (Southern Region), John Deeley (Eastern Region) and Marayama "Marty" Wadood (Northeast Region).

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