|N E W S and V I E W S
AFSCME Retiree Chapter 61
PO Box 17281
Des Moines, IA 50317
|Contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org Visit us on the web: afscme61retirees.org|
Mark your Calendar.
Our Chapter’s Western Iowa meeting will take place on Tuesday, March 5, at the Goldfathers Pizza, 3020 West Broadway, Council Bluffs (712-322-5577). We’ll start at 11:30am.
For those of you in eastern Iowa, we’ll see you on Tuesday, May 21, at Big Muddy’s in Burlington, 720 North Front Street (319-753-1699). We’ll start at 10:30am.
Join in the discussion about AFSCME Council 61’s legislative priorities and talk to legislators about the importance of public employees in the State of Iowa.
Meet up at the Legislator’s Reception on Tuesday, March 12th, 5:30 - 7:30 pm, Prairie Meadows, Bishop A & B.
‘Spend the Day on the Hill’, Wednesday March 13th. Briefing at 9:00 am at Prairie Meadows, Bishop A & B. Lobbying starts at 1:00 at the Capitol. RSVP to Morgan Miller, 515-707-3025 or LobbyDay2013@afscmeiowa.org.
We have a new Web Page! We owe a big “Thank You” to our Web Spinner Carl Olsen for making it happen. Carl exhibited the new page at our annual meeting in September. Check it out!
It’s time to renew your membership. If you received a renewal statement with this newsletter, it’s because it’s time to renew!! (Those of you who have already paid for 2013, or who were members of an AFSCME Local that pays the dues for their retirees did not receive a statement.) Dues are $15 per year, which also gains you membership in the Alliance For Retired Americans (www.retiredamericans.org), a Nationwide organization of more than 3 million members focusing on issues affecting seniors. Chapter members are also part of AFSCME’s UnionPlus program. See the article below about Global Fit, just one of their great programs. We’d also love to have your help in recruiting new members or adding a donation to your dues. Some members have added $.50 to their dues to defray the cost of ARA membership. For other ways to help, we’ll be holding a garage sale at Jan’s house this spring. Let us know if you have a donation. Our silent auction was a big success in September and we’ll do it again at our 2013 annual meeting. Your donation will make the next one even better. We sincerely appreciate everything you do!
We were pleased to have two Chapter members run for statewide office last November. Rich Taylor won his election for State Senate District 42 (Lee and Henry Counties and parts of Washington and Jefferson). Rich joins Chapter 61 Members Dick Dearden and Bob Dvorsky in the Iowa Senate. Send Rich an email at email@example.com if you would like to be added to the mailing list for his updates, the Taylor Times. Unfortunately, John Phoenix, who knocked on every door in his District and ran a great campaign, could not overcome the tea party influence in his District. John knows how to run a successful campaign and won a seat on the Des Moines School Board a few years ago. We look forward to working with him in a future run for public office!
Iowans 65 or older may be eligible for a property tax credit if their total household income is less than $21,335. Mobile/Manufactured/Modular homes if assessed as real estate are also eligible for the credit. The claim must be filed with your county treasurer (contact them for assistance) by June 1. Renters with the same income threshold could qualify for a credit of up to $1,000. Renters can access the “Iowa Rent Reimbursement Claim” form from the Iowa Department of Revenue (www.Iowa.gov/tax).
Assistance in owner occupied rehabilitation programs is available in many communities in Iowa. One example is the Metro Home Improvement Program available in communities surrounding Des Moines. For applications or information call (515) 273-0770. Other regional housing assistance programs are available through the Council of Governments (COGS). One such program administers housing trust funds in Allamakee, Clayton, Howard, Winneshiek, and Fayette counties. These programs have income thresholds and provide assistance with home repairs in the form of a forgivable loan. Contact Nichole Warren of the Iowa Association of Regional Councils at (515) 554-3210 to see if a program is available in your area. Our thanks to Ramona Norman for filling us in on this program.
Each year, an estimated 1.3 million women are victims of domestic physical assault. These women are our neighbors, our co-workers, even family members. For nearly 20 years, the Violence Against Women Act helped protect and attain justice for women victimized by such assaults. But last year, Congress did not renew this life-saving law, for the first time since it was enacted. It's important to understand exactly what the law does. The Violence Against Women Act funds the prevention, investigation and prosecution of violent crimes against women. It pays for shelters and legal services for domestic violence victims. The US senate recently voted for it. In fact, every female Senator, Republican and Democrat, Voted “Yes!”. Protecting domestic violence victims isn’t just a women’s issue. It’s a human rights issue. It’s a family issue. It’s a workplace issue. It’s an economic issue. Now, on to the House. That's why we’re asking you to please contact your Representatives today and urge them to vote for this important bill.
Chapter member Tom Jacobs, Iowa City, states that after he declined a lifetime achievement award several times the Iowa City Federation of Labor “ambushed me by not telling. It didn't hurt as much as I thought. ...The thing I like about the Labor Movement is most everything takes groups of folks instead of rising or falling on your own. Thanks to all of you for your help along the way.”
The Bulldog Report, by President Mike Hansen
I was proud to represent our Chapter at the recent annual meeting of Retiree Chapters which took place at AFSCME’s Headquarters in Washington DC. The meeting was called to order by our new Retiree Council Chairman Gary Tavormina (New York Chapter 82). The meeting was very productive as was the Legislative Conference which followed. It was also an opportunity to meet the Union’s new Retiree Department Director, Ann Widger. Ann was appointed following the retirement of Steve Regenstreif who served in that capacity for many years.
AFSCME International President Lee Saunders and Secretary – Treasurer Laura Reyes spoke on labor solidarity, and the continuous attacks by the Koch Brothers and other right wing corporations who have the sole intent to destroy the middle class and the union movement. Brother Saunders was also the moderator of an outstanding panel focusing building union solidarity. Participants on the panel were Presidents Larry Cohen of CWA, Mary Kay Henry of SEIU, Sean McGarvey of BCTD, and Randi Weingarten of the AFT. The discussions centered on the fact that all union organizations must act in solidarity and as one organization in order to defeat the attack on the middle class and the union movement.
We all rallied together at the Capitol to support Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. These programs are in the public interest and should not be destroyed in order to serve the interest of big business.
Another panel discussion was on PEOPLE and included Iowa Council 61’s Political Representative Marcia Nichols. You’ll recall that PEOPLE is AFSCME’s fund-raising arm that provides financial aid to candidates who support the middle class.
A major Agenda item at both the Retiree meeting and the Legislative Conference was building our Chapters and Locals. I learned that most Retiree Chapters organize new members with the assistance of agreements with their State’s management counterparts to provide the Union with the names and addresses of newly retired workers. The Chapter mails recruitment letters to those workers or makes a personal contact.
Here in Iowa, we found that method to be very successful as well. We continue to be concerned that Council 61 not only ceased to provide our Chapter with monthly lists of retirees, but also denied our request to have our contact information available via the Council’s web page. We have heard from retirees that they have an extremely difficult time finding out how to join Chapter 61. Folks can find us on the International’s web page, afscme.org, by clicking on Iowa in the directory on the home page.
I also want to let you know that the International has responded to our request for assistance by assigning staff to investigate this conflict between the Council and our Chapter. I met with Sister Erin Young, of the Dept. Of Organizing and Field Services in December and let her know how important it is that Council President Danny Homan resume the Council’s practice of delivering the names and addresses of newly retired State and Board of Regents employees to us so that we can contact them. I shared documents with her that establish that we have received the lists off and on during Homan’s presidency. Erin advised me that another member of her Department would be in contact with Danny Homan to assess his position.
In summary, our goals are and shall continue to be to act in the best interest of the union movement and the public interest by working in elections for candidates who support collective bargaining and building coalitions with AFSCME International, Council 61, the Alliance For Retired Americans, CCI, Move To Amend, State and Local Councils, Iowa Citizens Action Network, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, Move To Amend, and a host of others who share our values. In order to accomplish these goals we have developed our own e-news system and our own Web Page. These tools allow us to have instant communication with our members and friends concerning upcoming events and ways to take action to support our positions.
As to our goal to work in coalition with other organizations and to elect candidates who support the public interest and the union movement, the following facts prove we have met this goal.
At least twenty five AFSCME Retiree Chapter 61 members and friends worked a total of 2245 hours to elect AFSCME People endorsed candidates. Many of these folks worked weekly in more than one campaign and at locations across the state. It’s more fun to work together and lets the world know who we are. Leonard Boswell sent a personal letter thanking us. He said we were among the most reliable and enthusiastic volunteers on his team.
AFSCME Retiree Chapter 61 also made special email endorsements outlining the specific reasons a given candidate deserved our support. These personal endorsements were for Obama-Biden, Congressmen Leonard Boswell, Bruce Braley, and Dave Loebsack, Congressional Candidate Kristi Vilsack, Sheriff Bill McCarthy, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (Local 1868), Rep. Marti Anderson, Rep. Bruce Hunter, Senator Janet Petersen, Chapter members John Phoenix (Local 3450), Senators Rich Taylor (Local 2989) and Dick Dearden (Local 3289), Rep. John Forbes, Rep. Rick Olson (Local 1868), and Rep Ako Abdul-Samad. Retirees listen to retirees because we are a cohesive group.
During the last legislative session the Republicans attempted to gut collective bargaining. AFSCME Retirees acted in coalition with Council 61, IA Federation of Labor, CCI, South Central Federation of Labor, WILPF and other organizations to protect collective bargaining. AFSCME Retiree Chapter 61, acting in coalition, will again act in coalition to protect Council 61 and collective bargaining; because this is in the interest of the public and the union movement.
Union Retirees - get fit for less. Through GlobalFit, get the lowest rates on new memberships at fitness clubs, including select 24 Hour Fitness, Curves, Anytime Fitness, Sport & Health and Bally's Total Fitness. Discounts on initiation fees and lowest price guarantee on monthly fees. Savings on home fitness videos and equipment - including Zumba DVDs and Total Gym. To quickly view all your union's Union Plus benefits that you can start using today, go to unionplus.org and print a handy PDF guide that includes information on how to access your benefits. P.S.: Interested in Union Plus updates? Sign up at http://www.unionplus.org/enews.
To help save the economy, the Government will announce next month that the Immigration Department will start deporting seniors (instead of illegals) in order to lower Social Security and Medicare costs. Older people are easier to catch and will not remember how to get back home.
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 515-263-1514, Don Reeves 515-266-5797.