APWU of Florida State Retiree Chapter has joined and been accepted as a dues paying member Council in good standing by the Florida Alliance for Retired Americans (FLARA), a state affiliate of the National Alliance for Retired Americans (ARA) in Washington, D.C. The parent ARA non-profit organization was formed by the National AFL-CIO of 68 international unions on January 1, 2001. The mission of the ARA is to involve retiree legislative action, public affairs, communications, member education and mobilization on paramount retiree union issues.

The Alliance for Retired Americans is comprised of 3.2 million retired union members and other older retired Americans, as well as community based groups. Thirty-six (36) activists from twelve (12) southern states from Texas to Virginia, including Jack Gose representing the National APWU Retiree Dept., attended an ARA Regional Leadership planning meeting in Atlanta, Ga. at Atlanta Capitol Plaza Hotel Mar. 22-23, 2002. President George Kourpias of the National ARA was the main speaker. The leadership group met to develop ARA retiree programs and goals for 2002 and beyond. Roses are red, violets are blue, we will remember in 2002!

Jack Gose was an elected delegate from Florida Suncoast Retiree Chapter and APWU of Florida State Retiree Chapter at the first biennial Florida Alliance for Retired Americans State Convention held on June 7-9, 2002 at the Royal Plaza Hotel in Lake Buena Vista, Fl. Patsy Gose was present also as an honored guest. President Tony Fransetta of FLARA introduced many guest speakers at the founding conclave, including Sen. Bill Nelson, Bill McBride and Janet Reno, candidates for Governor, and George Sheldon, candidate for Florida Atty. General. Other headliners present on the podium were Cindy Hall, President, and Dwayne Seeley, Sec.-Treas., of the Florida AFL-CIO. Ed Coyle, Exec. Dir. of National ARA, mentioned that the Florida ARA organization has 120,000 Alliance members and 17,000 Alliance activists.

The FLARA Convention agenda included reports by the Executive Board and Area Alliance officers and the adoption of the first Constitution and By-Laws by the 125 delegates. APWU of Florida State Retiree Chapter was privileged with a presentation of a Certificate of Affiliation to Jack Gose, President of APWU of Florida State Retiree Chapter, by Tony Fransetta and George Kourpias, National ARA President, on the dais. The delegates then elected Jack Gose representing the APWU of Florida for a two (2) year term of office on the fifty member FLARA Executive Board which meets quarterly at different locations around the state.

A historic first biennial National Alliance for Retired Americans Convention is scheduled for September 3-5, 2002 at the Capitol Hilton Hotel in Washington, D.C., and the theme is New Century-Strong Voice-Real Action! President George Kourpias invites all union active and retiree members and family guests to attend this meeting as a massive show of support for the nation’s two premier social programs, Social Security and Medicare. John R. Smith, National APWU Retiree Director, has called for all APWU Retiree members to join him Sept. 3-5 and telephone him at (202) 842-8584 and give him your shirt size if you plan to attend.

Invited speakers will include former President Bill Clinton, Sen. Edward Kennedy, Rep. Richard Gephardt, AFL-CIO President John Sweeney, and James Carville, famed political commentator, plus many more. A highlight of the meeting will be a huge “Rally and Lobby Day” at which we will send three messages to Congress and the White House: (1) Say no to investment of Social Security payroll taxes in the stock market; (2) Win a universal comprehensive Medicare prescription drug benefit; and (3) Retirees will remember in 2002 how elected officials voted.

Retired members of participating international unions affiliated with the National AFL-CIO are automatically members of the National Alliance for Retired Americans and their union dues are paid by their international unions. We encourage other APWU Area Local/Local Executive Boards and APWU Area Local/Local Retiree Chapters in Florida to join FLARA, an advocacy group for all workers and retired Americans. The FLARA state annual per capita dues are only twenty-five (25) cents per member, with a minimum of 20 members or $5. year.

If you are interested in real union action, and everyone certainly should be, we challenge you to go to
www.retiredamericans.org and click on Friday Alert or go to www.flara.org and surf the links for an update on real union action in Florida. Send E-mail to FloridaARA@aol.com and don’t forget to Vote your Voice on Tuesday, September 10, 2002 in Florida’s Election Primary Day at the polls.

Jack Gose, President
APWU of Florida State Retiree Chapter

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