We welcome all 515 new APWU of Florida State Retiree Chapter $24.00 year dues paying APWU Retiree members who joined our Florida State organization in the last six (6) months from Nov. 1, 2002 thru Apr. 30, 2003. Over 4,000 new APWU Retirees joined the National APWU Retirees Dept. during the same period, and Florida leads the nation with the largest Retiree membership increase since the founding of the National APWU Retirees Dept. in 1994.

These new APWU Retiree members will continue to enjoy in retirement the many union benefits once available as active U.S. Postal Service employees. Some of these benefits are the APWU Health Plan, Voluntary Benefit group insurance and legal options, the APWU Master Card/AFL-CIO Union Plus credit card, a free $5,000.00 APWU accidental death and dismemberment policy, American Postal Worker bimonthly magazine, Florida Postal Worker award winning monthly newsletter, and the Area Local/Local APWU monthly union newsletter and APWU Local Retiree Chapter bimonthly newsletter in many areas of Florida.

Our heartfelt thanks to all the APWU Area Local/Local Presidents, officers, stewards, active members, Auxiliary Presidents, officers and members, Retiree Presidents, officers, and members who encouraged these 515 APWU Retirees to complete a Form 1187 APWU Retired Member enrollment application and mail it to the National APWU Retirees Dept. in Washington, D.C.

When an APWU active member makes the decision to retire from the USPS and then signs the retirement papers, it may take up to four weeks as a rule for the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to notify the National APWU Retirees Dept. of your official retirement date. When the Natl. APWU Retirees Headquarters Office receives this information, John R. Smith, Natl. APWU Retirees Director, will mail an APWU Retiree Dept. organization package to the address of the APWU Retiree. This will enable the Retiree to join the Natl. APWU Retirees Dept. to continue to earn their lifetime union benefits.

This package can be expected to be received in 4 to 6 weeks after the official date of your retirement from USPS. Enclosed in the package is a Form 1187 APWU Retired Member application with 4 copies. You cannot complete this form until OPM has mailed you a seven (7) digit CSA or CSF lifetime number. After you have received your OPM personal number in the mail, you can immediately fill out the 1187 APWU Retired Member Form, and mail it back in the enclosed return addressed postage paid envelope to the Natl. APWU Retirees Dept. It then takes up to a couple months before you will notice an APWU Retiree member union dues deduction of $2.00 monthly taken out of your monthly OPM annuity check.

It is no secret that more and more APWU Area Local/Local Union Presidents are becoming Retirement Counselors for their local membership. The reason this is happening is because the USPS Human Resources office personnel are short-staffed, either not interested, or are negligent, and lately refusing to provide individual Retirement counseling after one initial session. You notice that the USPS no longer provides Pre-Retirement Counseling seminars for their Florida employees.

When an APWU member contacts the APWU local union office to seek information concerning a regular or disability retirement option, the Local Union President will naturally give whatever information is available, or can be researched, or offer other government, Natl. APWU Retirees Dept., or other source telephone numbers to call.

Some APWU Local Union Presidents are offering to go into the USPS Human Resources office with the local union member when the member is ready to fill out the retirement papers. This is a great idea, and we feel this type of APWU Pre-Retirement counseling should be offered by all APWU Locals in the State of Florida!

The National APWU Retirees Dept. has been presenting 3-day APWU Retirement Counselor classes for active APWU Presidents, officers, and members, with classes recently held in California and Michigan. John R. Smith, Natl. APWU Retirees Director, has promised me he will hold one soon in the Southern Region. He usually has an USPS Retirement specialist to join him during the three days, and upon graduation each attendee will receive an APWU Retirement Counselor certificate on the last day of classes.

We urge APWU Local Presidents to attend one of these 3-day APWU Retirement Counselor classes, and to designate other officers to receive this training for the good of the local union membership. Then a Local Union Retirement counseling program can be planned and carried out successfully. In addition, this will become a strong organizing tool to encourage the APWU Retiree to join the Natl. APWU Retirees Dept., by paying only $2.00 month from their OPM annuity check in order to maintain all the wonderful, hard fought for APWU benefits which were gained during a lifetime of labor.

The APWU of Florida State Retiree Chapter membership has increased from 2376 to 2765, a net increase of 389 or about 16% since November, 2002. A loss of 126 Retiree Chapter members occurred due to deaths, moves out of state, and cancellations. Results of the November, 2002-April, 2003 Florida State Retiree Chapter organization drive are listed below showing a breakdown of the zip code areas where these Retirees reside and the number of new Retiree members signed up on Form 1187 in each zip code area:

320 Jacksonville 20
321 Daytona Beach (3rd) 33
322 Jacksonville 7
323 Tallahassee 7
324 Panama City 7
325 Pensacola 5
326 Gainesville 6
327 Lake Mary/Titusville 22
328 Orlando 6
329 Melbourne 21
330 Miami/Key West (2nd) 45
331 Miami 17
333 Fort Lauderdale (7th) 27
334 West Palm Beach (1st) 60

335 Tampa/Zephyrhills 20
336 Tampa 21
337 St. Petersburg (5th) 30
338 Lakeland 23
339 Ft. Myers (4th) 31
341 Naples 7
342 Bradenton/Sarasota (8th) 25
344 Ocala 21
346 New Port Richey (6th) 28
347 Kissimmee 13
349 Ft. Pierce/Port St. Lucie 13


Jack Gose, President
APWU of Florida State Retiree Chapter

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