Jack Gose, APWU of Florida State Retiree Chapter President and Delegate, was elected to the position of Second Vice President on the Executive Board of the Florida Alliance for Retired Americans (FLARA) non-profit organization at the 3rd Annual Convention held on June 12-14, 2005 at the Holiday Inn, Daytona Beach Shores, FL. Dave Bernstein, APWU of Florida State Retiree Chapter Legislative Director and Delegate, was also elected by the Convention Delegates to the Executive Board. Ruth Wood, APWU of Florida Retiree Chapter member from New Smyrna Beach, attended two days of the Convention and luncheons, and was very impressed with the events.

The statewide organization is an advocacy group for all working and retired Americans living in Florida, and was the second state to receive a Charter from the National Alliance for Retired Americans (ARA) in 2002 which was sponsored by the National AFL-CIO. FLARA has over 200,000 dues paying members representing twenty-two (22) international labor union organizations and seventy (70) community based groups in the State of Florida. Headquarters for the Alliance for Retired Americans is in Washington, D.C. and the ARA has over 3.2 million dues paying members.

FLARA and ARA is where the action is for legislation, lobbying, demonstrations, picketing, and community activism. A primary mission of the Alliance is to enroll and mobilize retired union members and other senior and community activists into a nationwide grassroots movement advocating a progressive political and social agenda, one that respects work and strengthens families. The long-term goal of the Alliance is to become a leading voice for older Americans and younger workers. By engaging in important political battles to protect and preserve programs vital to the health and economic security of Americans, the Alliance will gain recognition as the country’s leading progressive grassroots organization. All 3000 APWU FL Retirees are FLARA members!

In pursuit of these values, the Alliance will:
(1) Build a strong organization of seniors with a viable structure, ample resources and clear objectives---a structure compatible with that of the labor movement and community-based groups at local, state, and national levels.

(2) Create programs and membership organizations designed to promote a commitment by retired workers and older persons to the concept of lifelong participation in their unions, and in their community, political, and civic organizations.

(3) Encourage all segments of the senior population to act with unity on legislative, political, and policy issues of importance to retirees and their families in order to maximize their influence on federal, state, and local governments and on private organizations that affect their interests.

We must work together to put working people and seniors in control of our destiny. Let every Retired and Working American Be Heard Loud and Clear! I was appointed by FLARA President Tony Fransetta, a retiree member of the United Auto Workers (UAW), to the Convention Resolutions Committee at the Convention in Daytona, and as Chair of the Committee reported a resolution to the Delegates on “Opposition to Privatization of Social Security,” which had been crafted by Dave Bernstein and myself. It was approved on a voice vote, and it is now up to all of us to work and see that it is supported.

Our next FLARA Executive Board Meeting will be in Tampa, FL in September, 2005 and Dave Bernstein has been given the job of finding a suitable hotel complex to host the quarterly statewide meeting of seventy-two (72) elected FLARA Executive Board members and invited guests. Jim Weldon, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) from Ft. Lauderdale, is 1st Vice President of FLARA. Our FLARA group has 10 Area Vice Presidents, 5 Union Executive Vice Presidents with over 10,000 members each, 3 Community Executive Vice Presidents, 5 Trustees, one Southeast 4-state Regional Director, Legislative Director, Treasurer, Recording Secretary, 2 Members Emeritus, and 40 other Board Members. For more info, go online to
www.flara.org and www.retiredamericans.org to get the real feeling of Where Do We Need to Go!

I drove President Fransetta and National ARA President, George Korpias of International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, who was our Convention Invited Main Guest Speaker, to Congressman John Mica’s office in Ormond Beach, FL to present a FLARA pledge on Social Security, but he was somewhere else in the district.
On July 5, 2005 I was invited by Senator Bill Nelson’s Tampa office to attend the Town Hall Meeting held at the Cultural Center in historic Tarpon Springs, FL. Over 125 crowded into 1915 era City Hall chambers which the Fire Marshall listed as 84 person maximum occupancy to hear the latest news from Washington, D.C. Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) answered over 30 questions for over two hours at a scheduled one hour meeting. He had hernia surgery on Friday, July 1 and he said his stitches were bothering him, standing for the first hour and sitting in a chair for the second hour. He is scheduling other Town Hall Meetings around the state in small communities when he is away from Senate business in our Nation’s Capitol. He has spoken out strongly for opposition to privatization of Social Security, though he voted with Sen. Mel Martinez (R-FL) for approval of Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) on June 30, a bill we opposed in the Senate!

To join FLARA as an individual member (includes spouse), contact the FLARA Membership Dept., 12773 W. Forest Hill Blvd., Suite #211, Wellington, FL 33414 or E-mail FLARA at
FLARA@fdn.com for payment of annual $10.00 dues. Do you have a Retirees Club or APWU Area Local Union Executive Board interested in fighting for your families? Ask about our Group Affiliation Package when you call 561-792-8799 in Wellington to speak with President Tony Fransetta. Together, we can make a difference!


A National Legislative Conference has been scheduled by the National Alliance for Retired Americans (ARA), to be held Wednesday, Sept. 7 thru Friday, Sept. 9, 2005 at the Hilton Washington and Towers Union Hotel , 1919 Connecticut Ave., NW, Washington, D.C. 20009. To register, phone toll-free 1-888-373-6497 and ask for Joni Jones at Registration Desk, or E-mail to
jjones@retiredamericans.org or visit our ARA national website at www.retiredamericans.org for more information. The opening session is to begin at 1 pm on Wed., Sept. 7, and the last event will conclude by 3 pm on Fri., Sept. 9, 2005. You will be in Washington, D.C. only 2 nights! If you need more information, phone Jack Gose at 727-343-2998 or E-mail jak.gose@excite.com for a prompt reply.

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