2003 LAKELAND LUNCHEON A WINNER!

APWU OF FLORIDA RETIREE LUNCHEON IS A WINNER!

Sue Carney, Director, National APWU Human Relations Dept. in Washington, D.C., gave a glowing tribute to all the 2376 APWU Retiree members living in Florida who pay $24.00 year Retiree union dues to the National APWU Retirees Dept. at the APWU of Florida State Retiree Chapter Dutch treat luncheon, held on Friday, March 21, 2003 at the Sheraton Hotel in Lakeland. Sue was the invited guest main speaker at the Retirees luncheon, and she was introduced by Gary Kloepfer, National Representative at Large, Maintenance Division, from Washington, D.C.

Forty (40) energetic APWU Retiree and Active members, Auxiliary members, and family guests enjoyed a terrific meal of pot roast, lasagna you would die for, veggies, salad, desserts, and drinks. APWU of Florida Retiree Chapter Happy folders were given out chock full of archives from the past, current issues, and material outlining the future APWU need for Coalition building to protect our hard fought for APWU benefits, including Social Security, Medicare, and our federal employee entitlements and retirement programs.

Jack Gose, President, APWU of Florida State Retiree Chapter, introduced Joe Pevy of Bradenton, longtime APWU of Florida Director of Education and Labor Leader in the 70’s and 80’s, as one of our honored guest speakers. Clara Hill, National APWU Auxiliary officer from Knoxville, Tn. and Betty Baker, President, Auxiliary to APWU of Florida from Tampa, offered greetings and encouragement to all the APWU Retirees and their families.

Rickey Mobley, APWU of Florida District Business Agent and Miami Area Local Retirement Counselor, said every APWU Local Union should have an APWU Retiree Counselor to offer Pre-Retirement advice to their members in addition to an APWU Local Retiree Chapter. Gary Desmond of Lakeland, President of Citrus Center Area Local, thanked everyone for attending the great buffet luncheon today.

A three day Spring Seminar was held at the hotel March 20-22, and class instructors Bill Sullivan, NBA, Clerk Division from Tampa, Warren Pearlman from Homestead, and Richard Cornell from Winter Haven also attended the luncheon and seemed to have a great time.

Other luncheon attendees were John Sardin, Jr. of St. Petersburg, Sec.-Treas. of APWU of Florida State Retiree Chapter; Eunice Butts of Tampa, Treasurer of Auxiliary to APWU of Florida; Karen DiAngelo, Co-Editor of Palm Prints and S.W. Florida Area Local Auxiliary and Ann Kendera from Ft. Myers; John Burton, Morena Johnson, Terri Davis, and Joy Desmond from Lakeland; Carl Montgomery, Karen Sanders, and Paula Wagner from Space Coast Area Local; Allyn Kroger and Stephen Hall from Pensacola; Wanda Lowe from Arcadia; Neva Dupree from Lake Wales; Kevin Young and Reni Young Echemendia from Palm Beach Area Local; Fred Maier from Tampa; Carole Malanot from Wauchula; Ray Cole from Venice; and others who enjoyed the fellowship and good food.

We understand the APWU of Florida Fall Seminar will be held in September, 2003 at Fort Walton Beach, and we plan to have another Retirees Dutch treat luncheon to which everyone is invited!

RETIREES TALLAHASSEE LEGISLATIVE CONFERENCE!

The Florida Alliance for Retired Americans (FLARA) held the annual Legislative Conference and Executive Board meeting at the Ramada Inn in Tallahassee, Fl. on March 17-18, 2003 with over sixty (60) Coalition activists in attendance. Jack Gose, President, APWU of Florida State Retiree Chapter, and a member of the FLARA Executive Board, and John Sardin, Jr., Treasurer, Florida Suncoast Retiree Chapter, represented the interests and concerns of the American Postal Workers Union Retirees and active APWU members and families.

Tony Fransetta, President of FLARA, reported on the lack of health care, and plight of the working poor in Florida has reached a critical status. U.S. Census Bureau data found that 75 million Americans under 65 years of age were uninsured during 2001-2002 or about 30 % of that age group. Prescription Drugs is one of the primary issues on the table. Other items of concern affect our children and our grandchildren, such as education. We will inform our legislators and the Governor that we do not want the Class Size Amendment that passed by vote of the people to be placed on the ballot again.

He stated that there are 23 Billion Dollars in Florida Tax exemptions with over 6 Billion Dollars in tax cuts having been passed in the last four (4) years by the Legislature under Governor Jeb Bush. If they increased gross receipts taxes across the board by one-tenth of one percent, they would generate one billion dollars. Our Legislative Representatives need to reform the state tax system starting with the 313 tax exemptions currently on the books, such as the tax exemptions for sports sky boxes and ostrich farms.

Congressman Jim Davis (D) of Tampa spoke to the FLARA group about congressional issues that affect unions and Retirees, such as Health Insurance and Pensions. Susan Bucher (D), Florida State Representative, emphasized Florida House Bill #977, Florida Fair Market Drug Pricing Act of 2003, which she introduced. It would cover 2.1 million people in Florida, and would create a Rx Drug Discount Card program. On our visit to the Capitol on Monday afternoon, we found out that there are currently six bills in the Senate and six bills in the House of Representatives on prescription drugs being reviewed.

Terry White, Secretary of Dept. of Elder Affairs, stated 95% of his Agency on Aging is privatized. 23 % of the Florida populace is over age of 60, while in the rest of country, only 16 % of the populace is over age of 60. Christa Hermanson, Representative for CanAm Pharmacy, said that up to three million elderly are ordering prescription drugs from Canada.

Rich Fiesta, Director, Alliance for Retired Americans Government and Political Affairs Dept. in Washington, D.C., stated that after tax profits of drug companies in year 2000 were 18.6 % of revenues and drug prices are increasing at rate of 18 % annually. He gave out Fact Sheets on Retiree Issues, which we passed out at the Spring Seminar in Lakeland to lucky open forum attendees.

Cindy Hall, President, Florida AFL-CIO, welcomed everyone to Tallahassee, and said we had our work cut out for us and to forge ahead. There were several other Union official regional and national speakers who covered many other issues, such as fair trade, union label purchasing, and lobbying at the grassroots and state levels.

Scott Maddox, Chairman, Florida Democratic Party, said 2.9 million in Florida have no health insurance. Even though there are still more registered Democrats than Republicans in Florida, Republicans outnumber Democrats 81 to 39 in House of Representatives (120 total) and Republicans outnumber Democrats 26 to 14 in Senate (40 total).

After luncheon, we spent Monday and Tuesday afternoon lobbying on the hill with individual legislators. John Sardin, Jr. and I visited with several legislators in the offices of the Democratic Party leadership chambers at the Capitol, and we went away feeling we had made our points.

The Alliance for Retired Americans has 2.7 million members nationwide, and if you want to get involved in the action, go on the internet to
www.retiredamericans.org or to the website of the 122,000 member Florida Alliance for Retired Americans at www.FLARA.org to join us in our battle to mobilize Florida union activists and Area Local/Local union’s leaders and dues paying memberships!!

FLARA individual membership (includes spouse) is only $10.00 year. For groups, Executive Boards, Area Local/Local Unions, the membership is based on 25 cents per member per year, with a minimum of twenty (20) members or $5.00 year dues. Contact Jack Gose at
www.Jak.Gose@Excite.com if you want an application for affiliation with the Florida Alliance for Retired Americans!
FLARA 2003 ANNUAL CONVENTION CALL!

It is a pleasure to invite all 2376 APWU of Florida State Retiree Chapter union dues paying Retiree members, Retiree delegates, active APWU dues paying officers and members, and family members to the Florida Alliance for Retired Americans (FLARA) 2003 Annual Convention to be held on Sunday, June 22 thru Tuesday, June 24, 2003 at the Hotel Royal Plaza, Lake Buena Vista, Fl. at the entrance to Disney World. Your departure date is on Wednesday, June 25, 2003.

The registration fee for the Convention is $80.00 per person. Any registered delegate wishing to bring a guest to the prepaid meals should register their guest at $60.00 each. If you are interested, contact Janelle Thomas, Membership Director, at the FLARA office in West Palm Beach, Fl. by phone at 561-792-8799 or E-mail at
FloridaARA@aol.com to register and receive Convention materials and an updated agenda. Many well known political and union leaders are invited to attend this annual event.

The Hotel Royal Plaza room rate for FLARA members is $89.00 per night for single or double room. Please note the hotel cutoff date for room reservations is June 3, 2003. When making your reservations, please call 1-800-248-7890 Ext. 2500 and ask for the FLARA special group rate.

All FLARA club/chapter dues must be current in order for clubs/chapters to have proper voting status. If you have not sent in your chapter or individual dues, please do so immediately. If you have any questions, ask to speak with Tony Fransetta, President, FLARA, by phone at 561-792-8797. Registration forms must be returned to FLARA in order to prepare your credentials and to better plan for a successful convention. We look forward to meeting with you and your family on June 22-25, 2003!

Jack Gose, President, APWU of Florida State Retiree Chapter, AFL-CIO

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