2004 NATL APWU RETIREMENT COUNSELING SEMINAR IN BOSTON, MA.

MICHAEL JORDAN APPOINTED HEALTH PLAN DIRECTOR OF APWU OF FLORIDA STATE RETIREE CHAPTER

Michael K. Jordan, Sr. has been appointed to the newly created position of Health Plan Director of APWU of Florida State Retiree Chapter, effective November 1, 2004, by Chapter President Jack Gose. Michael will provide Federal Employee Health Benefit Plan service to the active and retiree APWU dues paying members and their families who reside in the State of Florida who have questions concerning Federal Employee and Military Health Plans, program coverage, and/or skyrocketing health plan costs.

Michael is a longtime Editor of the Viewpoint and Health Plan Director of the Space Coast Area Local, President of the Florida Postal Press Association, and has been elected Delegate to many APWU State and National Conventions. Mike and Pat, his energetic wife, live in Rockledge, Florida and they can be reached at home 321-631-0499 or P.O. Box 236364, Cocoa, Fl. 32923 with your congratulations. He recently retired from the USPS and he is looking forward to hearing from any APWU members who have questions about the Federal Employee Health Plans or those on Military Tri-Care system.

We have talked with Bill Kaczor, National APWU Health Plan Director, and Martha Shunn-King, APWU of Florida State President, about the growing need for a knowledgeable APWU Retiree Chapter member to fill this critically important position, and both Bill and Martha congratulate Michael on being selected. We have asked Michael to write articles in the Florida Postal Worker and other publications concerning news about the various Health Plans, and we welcome him aboard the good ship APWU of Florida State Retiree Chapter, AFL-CIO. Remember, the general rule is that you must have been a member of one of the FEHB health plans for the five (5) years of service immediately preceding your retirement annuity commencing date to continue your health plan coverage after retirement.

The Medicare Part B premium increases 17.4% on Jan. 1, 2005 from $66.60 to $78.20 monthly, an increase of $11.60 monthly. The Retiree COLA for federal employees annuity under CSRS will be 2.7% for 2005. Federal Retiree COLAs are linked to the annual adjustment in Social Security benefits which will also go up 2.7% next year in 2005. Retiree APWU members retiring under FERS and who are 62 or older will receive a 2% increase. Retirees should budget prudently to keep up with the health care costs!

NATL APWU RETIREMENT COUNSELING SEMINAR IN BOSTON

A National APWU Retirement Counseling seminar was held in Boston, Mass. on Nov. 3-6, 2004 to provide a three (3) day retiree planning program for interested officers and members. Twenty-five (25) national, state, and local officers and members from all regions of our country attended and graduated, including Mike Fanning, President, Suncoast Area Local, and Jack Gose, President, representing APWU of Florida State Retiree Chapter. It was no surprise to find many other APWU local presidents in the classes. I sat next to Bill Sims, APWU Accident Benefit Association Executive Director, during classes.

We have 221,000 APWU members who hope to retire from the USPS, but very few of them properly plan to retire from the beginning of their postal career. Adding Retirement Counselors would be a valuable asset to your APWU Area Local/Local organization, as it would give you the resources to service the 95% of our membership who don’t file grievances as well as generate much needed membership participation and interest in what benefits the Local Union has to offer. Since the USPS Human Resources or Personnel offices are downsizing and are being slowly eliminated, it is an opportunity for the APWU Local Union to step in and offer a genuine contribution for the membership.

All thirty-three (33) APWU of Florida Local Union Presidents should hold pre-retirement counseling sessions for their members before they retire. All the Stewards and Officers should attend a Local Retirement Counseling Seminar and retiring members whether in a group of 2 or more or individually should be counseled by the union Local President or designee before signing the retirement papers. This type of training is greatly appreciated by the rank and file members who should be encouraged to continue involvement by signing Form 1187 to join the Natl. APWU Retirees Department!

NATL APWU HEALTH PLAN SEMINAR A HUGE SUCCESS

Over 135 APWU National, State and Local Presidents, Health Plan Representatives, Officers, Stewards, Auxiliary, and Retiree Chapter Officers attended the 19th Annual Natl. APWU Health Plan Open Season Seminar, held at the Wyndham Palace Resort and Spa in Lake Buena Vista, Fl. from Oct. 24-27, 2004. We attended three (3) days of classes which were informative and energizing with professional instructors from the health plan industry using power point presentations with Q and A in color-coded sessions, rotating the instructors to make sure everyone was given maximum input.

Bill Kaczor, Natl. APWU Health Plan Director, invited Jack Gose, President, APWU of Florida State Retiree Chapter, to welcome the group to Florida at the opening business session on the first day of classes. Jack asked everyone to contact him in his hotel room if they need help or information about the area. Free blood testing to all Seminar registrants and their family was provided. Natl. APWU President Bill Burrus was the main speaker at the Banquet and revealed future plans for the APWU Health Plan building property in Silver Spring, Md.

John Sardin, Jr., Treasurer, Florida Suncoast Retiree Chapter, was the youngest 82-year elder union officer attending the Health Plan Seminar. This was the first time the National APWU Health Plan has been held in Florida. Jack Gose invited all the attendees at the closing general session on the last day of classes to return to Florida for a future National APWU Health Plan Seminar. Several went to the mike and thanked us for our hospitality, beautiful hotel facilities, airline connections, and great location on Walt Disney World property for a meeting. We have worked hard to establish Florida as the alternative to Las Vegas for future National APWU Conferences and Seminars.

MEMBERSHIP INVITED TO W. PALM BEACH FLARA EB MEETINGS

All the APWU of Florida active and retiree chapter membership are invited to the Florida Alliance for Retired Americans (FLARA) quarterly Executive Board meetings at the Hilton Palm Beach Airport Hotel on Sat., Dec. 18, 2004 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. to preview the legislative agenda for 2005. We will review the 2004 national, state, county, local election results and discuss election issues. Much can be accomplished by all of us working together in unison to achieve our true potential in politics.

For hotel reservations, call Hilton Palm Beach Airport Hotel at 800-443-3545 or the hotel at 561-684-9400 and ask for the special FLARA discount group rate of $89.00 plus taxes per night for Friday night, Dec. 17, 2004. Hilton Palm Beach Airport Hotel is located at 150 Australian Ave., West Palm Beach, Fl. 33406 at the junction of Australian Ave. and Southern Blvd. and can be reached off I-95 exit 69, only .3 (3/10) of mile from I-95. Hope to see you in West Palm Beach on December 18, a week before Christmas!

Go online to
www.flara.org or www.retiredamericans.org to learn more about the efforts of over 200,000 FLARA dues paying members and over 3.2 million National Alliance for Retired Americans members, including Florida. If you have any questions, phone Tony Fransetta, President, FLARA, 561-792-8799, about the meetings. If you want more information, phone Jack Gose 727-343-2998 or E-mail jak.gose@excite.com or go online to www.apwuflorida.org and click on the Retiree sidebar link.
HAPPY HOLIDAYS TO ALL AND TO ALL A GOOD NIGHT!





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