Newsletter

Posted on: June 18th, 2012 No Comments

Newsletter Archive: February 2014 | August 2013 | February 2013 | August 2012 | April 2012

 
logo N E W S and V I E W S
AFSCME Retiree Chapter 61
PO Box 17281
Des Moines, IA   50317
September, 2014
Contact us: mikeehansen@yahoo.com  Visit us on the web: www.afscme61retirees.org
Jan Corderman, Editor
Carl Olsen, Web Spinner

Mark your Calendar!

Chapter 61 Annual Meeting – Tuesday, September 23
We’ll hold our Annual Meeting on Tuesday, September 23, at the Machine Shed, 11151 Hickman Road, Urbandale, IA  50322 (exit #125 off I35/80, in front of Living History Farm; ph:  515-270-6818). Registration starts at 9:30am and the meeting will open at 10:00am.

We need your rsvp for the annual meeting and choice for lunch in order to make the final arrangements (contact Mike Hansen mikeehansen@yahoo.com or 515-282-5245).
Choose either Meatloaf (French bread under grilled onions, really good meatloaf, mashed potatoes and pan roasted gravy), Stuffed Pork Loin (stuffed with the Shed’s country sage dressing, sliced and served with pan gravy),
or the Vegetarian Option.

We’ll hear from Polk County Attorney John Sarcone, IPERS Rep. Kevin Wendt, State Treas. Michael Fitzgerald, Alliance Pres. Jan Laue, and State Senator Dick Dearden.  Our election of officers will be held too. Our President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, and five District Vice Presidents will be elected for a one-year term. One Trustee will be elected for a three-year term. There is a one-year membership criterion to be eligible to run for office.

There will be a silent auction at the Convention to help our Chapter raise money. We have lots of nice items, thanks to contributions from our Executive Board & Friends. Please bring your pocketbook!

Iowa ARA Annual Convention, Wednesday, September 17
Educate-Motivate-Activate! The Iowa Alliance for Retired Americans will hold its annual convention at Prairie Meadows Conference Center in Altoona from 9:30am to 4:30pm. Featured workshops will be: Raising Wages Works--it's
Common Sense Economics, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, Tricks of the Trade for Senior Fraud Fighters, Messaging Social Security and Medicare.  The General Session subjects will be: Updates on Threats to Retirement Security and a Recap of the Iowa Legislature. You won’t want to miss this! Our Chapter pays the registration
fee, which includes lunch, for Chapter members.
     There will be a special award banquet at 5:00pm. Barbara J. Easterling, President of the Alliance is the featured speaker. George J. Kourpias, the First President of the Alliance is the Award Recipient. If you’re interested in attending (tickets are $40), contact the Alliance at 515-262-9571.

Savings from raising the Medicare age to 76---$5 Billion.
Savings for letting Medicare Negotiate RX rates---$200 Billion.

Women Workers and Unions. A new issue brief from the Center for Economic and Policy Research examines the most recent data available to investigate the impact that being in, or represented by, a union has on the wages and benefits of women in the paid workforce. The issue brief, "Women Workers and Unions” shows that even after controlling for factors such as age, race, industry, educational attainment and state of residence, women in unions receive a substantial boost in pay
Text Box: 143,000 Iowans belong to Unions.and benefits relative to their non-union counterparts. Unionized women workers on average make 12.9 percent more than their non-union counterparts, are 36.8 percent more likely to have employer-provided health insurance and 53.4 percent more likely to have participated in an employer-sponsored retirement plan.

What have they been up to??!! News & Views asked two members to fill us in.
We caught up with Dave Roth in May at our meeting in Burlington: “I was employed at the Iowa State Pen in Ft. Madison. Since leaving state employment in 2007 I've managed to keep busy. I am Campaign Treasurer for State Senator Rich Taylor, entertainment chair for the Donnellson Fall Festival, past VP of the Central Lee Schools Music Boosters, and I play guitar & sing with my band The Ozone Ramblers and other groups. I always find time for our grandchildren. We have four, Wren-age 5, David Anthony-also 5 years old, Olivya-age 7, and Maya-age 9. And one on the way sometime in March. Oh, and I go to the Y three to five days a week to do my aqua therapy. Retirement is not for sissies! When did I ever have time for a job?? My wife, Pamela Franklin (Yes, we have different last names, but, this is 2014!), and I will celebrate our tenth wedding anniversary in January. Both Pam and I were married twice before we tied the knot with each other. We can verify that ‘third time’s the charm’!!!” Dave

Jan Murphy, Chapter 61 Trustee, supported Postal Workers at their recent Rally: “After retiring in 2008 from a position as a Field Auditor, Iowa Workforce Development Department in the Marshalltown area I moved from the Mingo countryside back to my hometown of Des Moines. I can tell you that after almost 50 years of working, I really enjoy volunteering for causes that are close to my heart and exploring new endeavors. I communicate with animals by looking into their eyes and trying to receive their messages telepathically. Helping a furry friend express messages to his human is truly joyful.  Fulfilling my responsibilities as Chapter 61 Trustee, Treasurer of CAST, a singles group, and maintaining Wii bowling scores for the North Senior Center Meal Site are fun ways to feed my penchant for working with numbers. Something else that’s so important to me is to continue to be connected with our Union. I know that our members are concerned with not just retirees’ issues, but with working member’s issues too. I think it’s important to work with labor friendly candidates in their bids for political office. When all of Organized Labor works hand in hand, we become the “David” that can protect US workers from the “Goliath” of Corporate Greed. The American dream of prosperity is for all citizens, not just for the very wealthy elite!” Jan

Scrap the cap! Everyone should pay their fair share! For 79 years Social Security has paid out every benefit owed to every eligible American, and for 79 years opponents have tried to dismantle Social Security and cut our earned benefits. At every turn the American people have turned back those attacks, and now a majority of Americans — Democrats, Republicans and Independents
from Maine to Alaska — favor expanding Social Security benefits, not cutting them. The Strengthening Social Security Act introduced by Iowa’s Senator Tom Harkin and Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-Calif) would boost basic benefits by $70 a month by changing the COLA formula to reflect seniors’ real spending (e.g., health care); and
“scrap the cap” on wages subject to payroll contributions, requiring the wealthy to pay the social security tax on wages above the current $117,000 cap. Remind the Politicians in Washington to expand, not cut, social security!

Bulldog Report, By President Mike Hansen
     As a member of our AFSCME Retiree Council, I had the opportunity to attend our 34th annual meeting in Chicago this past June. It was great to hear from President Lee Saunders and Secretary-Treasurer Laura Reyes and from the expert staff at our International Union. Gary Tavormina, a retiree from New York, chaired the meetings. Retiree Department Director Ann Widger was on hand as was John Bonnage, with whom we have had the opportunity to work over the last several years.
     Nationwide, 13,500 retirees have joined our ranks since our last Council meeting. AFSCME retirees in Puerto Rico, Minnesota Chapter 5 and the United Nurses Association of California have all held founding Conventions for their Chapters. Our 230,000 Retirees now represent 15% of the 1.6 Million AFSCME members.
     President Saunders, who has been with AFSCME for 36 years, said he has never seen the attacks, not just on Union families-working and retired-but also on all Americans. He said: “We cannot be silent! We have to do what we do best!” and implored us to fight for economic rights, voting rights—all of our rights. He noted that we win when we fight hard. One example is in Detroit, where City employees were told their $19,000 annual pension is too much. The evil forces there proceeded to gut workers’ pensions. Our Union fought back to hold the line. We did take a hit in cost of living increases, but nothing like what the Mayor wanted. An interesting ‘fact of the matter’ was brought up by Steve Kreisberg, Director of the Research and Collective Bargaining Department. Steve pointed out that if we had the same tax rates we had in 1995, right before the economy started turning around, we would not be having the problems with pensions that we have today. Yet another argument for tax reform!
     Here at Retiree Chapter 61, we’re going to heed President Saunders’ call, and deal with all these challenges by getting back to the basics of talking to each other, one on one. I hope you can respond to our call for small group meetings {see: “Can You Help Us” in this newsletter} or let us know other ways we can increase the participation in our Chapter. 
     Turning to the goal of bringing more retirees to our Chapter, about ten years ago AFSCME Council 61 and the State of Iowa agreed that on a monthly basis the State would provide Council 61 with the names and addresses of all newly retired State and Board of Regents employees. The Council forwarded the list to our Chapter. We sent each new retiree an invitation to become a member of our Chapter. It was a great recruiting success! Unfortunately, the current President of Council 61 stopped sending us those lists about five years ago. Our attempts to resolve this issue or even have a dialogue with President Homan have always been rudely rejected by him. We were hopeful two years ago when Homan made an offer, through two of Council 61’s Executive Board members, to meet with us to come resolve the issues between us. We enthusiastically accepted this offer and even gave him several potential dates, only to again be shunned. We have asked both of AFSCME International’s Executive Officers and the Director of the Retiree Department for assistance but they have been unwilling to be put in the middle.
     Please know that we have tried, time and again, to resolve this.
     Our Chapter’s executive Board thought long and hard before making the decision to go Court, but we saw no other option. We have filed our case with the Clerk of Court’s Office and believe we have a strong case to force Council 61 to send us the monthly list of newly retired employees’ names & addresses. Importantly, while there may be minimal costs, no dues monies will be used to pay the attorney that we have enlisted to represent us.
     Of course, as we hammer this out in the courts, we’ll keep up the fight for sound management of IPERS, protection of Social Security & Medicare benefits, the protection of workers’ rights, and for fair solutions to problems affecting every-day Iowans. I am very pleased with the coalitions we have built with other groups that share our values. We continue to have a have a fine and cohesive relationship with the International Retiree Officers, Retiree Department Staff, the Iowa Federation Of Labor, Move To Amend, the Iowa Alliance of Retired Americans, and, importantly, a host of AFSCME’s Local Union officers and working members here in Iowa. I know it wouldn’t be possible without your help and send a big “thank you!!” to all of you who have been part of our Chapter.
     I look forward to seeing you at our Annual Meeting or over coffee and rolls in your neighborhood!
     In Solidarity, Mike


Can you help us?? We’d like to let AFSCME retirees across the state know about our Chapter. Let us know if you can bring a few of your retired co-workers together for rolls & coffee and a short presentation. We’ll spend a few minutes on an current issue and then introduce them to our Chapter. Contact any of our officers; their phone #’s are listed below, or shoot Mike an e-mail (mikeehansen@yahoo.com).

Chapter Minimum Dues and Per Capita Tax Increase. The minimum annual dues rate for retiree members has remained at $15 per year ($1.25 per month) for the last seven years and was at $12 ($1 per month) for 14 years before that. This low minimum dues rate leaves many chapters, including ours, finding it hard to meet their increasing costs. The Retiree Council voted to increase the minimum dues to $24 per year ($2.00 per month) starting in 2016. In addition, the retiree per capita tax to the International Union has remained at $3.60 per member per year since 2007 and $2.40 per member per year for 14 years before that. This amount has not kept pace with increased costs for staff, travel, printing, postage and many other International Union expenses on behalf of the retiree membership. Therefore, the Council also voted to increase the per capita tax for retiree members to $4.80 in 2016 and $6 in 2017. It’s never easy to talk about increasing our dues, but our Chapter will be on stronger footing with our share of your dues increasing from $11.40 per year to $19.20 in 2016, and $18.00 thereafter.

This Takes A Load Off My Mind!!
Brains of older people are slow because they know so much.  People do not decline mentally with age, it just takes them longer to recall facts because they have more information stored in their brains, scientists believe. Much like a computer struggles as the hard drive becomes more full, so humans also

take longer to access information. Also, older people often go to another room to get something and when they get there, they stand there wondering what they came for.  It is NOT a memory problem -- it is nature's way of making older people do more exercise. SO THERE!!

AFSCME Retiree Chapter 61 Officers: President – Mike Hansen, Des Moines, 515-253-2614(h) 515-778-6188(c); Vice President – Alan Fisher, Des Moines; Secretary – June Elston, Woodward 515-669-4476; Treasurer –Jan Corderman, Pleasant Hill 515-264-9612; VP1 – Bruce Forbes, Waterloo; VP2 – Paul Corbin, Lockridge 319-696-2760; VP3 – Allen Green, Des Moines 255-3260; VP4 – Dolores Betts, Ames 515-233-4190; VP5 – Rod Klein, Council Bluffs 712-420-5599; Trustees - Jan Murphy, Des Moines 515-238-3990, Judy Avritt, Des Moines 515-263-151, Don Reeves, Des Moines 515-266-5797.