2006 CENTENARIAN RETIREES MOST POPULAR LINKS IN THE UNIVERSE!

APWU OF FLORIDA STATE RETIREE CHAPTER

CENTENARIAN RETIREES MOST POPULAR ONLINE LINKS IN THE UNIVERSE! (LINK J)

GOVERNMENT:

www.aoa.gov U. S. Government Administration on Aging

www.defense.gov U. S. Government Department of Defense

www.dhhs.gov U. S. Govt. Department of Health and Human Services

www.dol.gov U. S. Government Department of Labor

www.ed.gov/index.jsp U. S. Government Department of Education

www.fedstats.gov U. S. Government Gateway to over 100 Federal Agencies

www.firstgov.gov U. S. Government Official Web Portal

www.hud.gov U. S. Govt. Department of Housing & Urban Development

www.irs.gov U. S. Government Internal Revenue Service

www.medicare.gov U. S. Government Medicare

www.opm.gov U. S. Government Office of Personnel Management

www.seniors.gov U. S. Government Federal Retirement Calculator

www.ssa.gov U. S. Government Social Security Administration

www.treasury.gov U. S. Government Department of the Treasury

www.tsp.gov U. S. Government Federal Thrift Savings Plan

www.usps.gov United States Postal Service

www.va.gov U. S. Government Department of Veterans Affairs


AFFILIATIONS:

www.aflcio.org National A.F.L.-C.I.O. Headquarters

www.apwu.org American Postal Workers Union Headquarters

www.apw-aba.org American Postal Workers-Accident Benefit Assn.

www.apwu-nppa.org APWU National Postal Press Association

www.flaflcio.org Florida AFL-CIO Headquarters

www.flara.org Florida Alliance for Retired Americans

www.retiredamericans.org National Alliance for Retired Americans

www.unionlabel.org Union Label and Service Trades Department


POLITICAL PARTIES:

www.democrats.org Democratic National Committee

www.gp.org Green Party of the United States

www.rnc.org Republican National Committee

www.politicalindex.com United States National Political Parties Directory


RETIREES ORGANIZATIONS:

www.aarp.org American Association of Retired Persons

www.narfe.org National Association of Retired Federal Employees

www.ncpssm.org National Council to Protect Social Security & Medicare

www.seniornet.org Worldwide SeniorNet Computer Learning Centers

VETERANS ORGANIZATIONS:

www.amvets.org American Veterans since World War II

www.dav.org Disabled American Veterans

www.legion.org American Legion

www.vfw.org Veterans of Foreign Wars

www.va.gov/vso/view.asp National Directory of Veterans Service Organizations


OTHER RETIREE WEB LINKS TO EXPLORE THE WORLD:

www.apwuhp.com APWU Health Plan

www.apwunpc.com APWU National Presidents’ Conference

www.benefeds.com Federal & Retiree Dental & Vision Benefits

www.familysearch.org LDS Worldwide Family Search

www.globexplorer.com Satellite Image Map of your Residence

www.mapquest.com Map a Round Trip Routing

www.members.aol.com/apwuvbp APWU Voluntary Benefits Plan

www.militaryfuneralhonors.osd.mil U. S. Dept. of Defense Veterans’ Funerals

www.nalc.org National Assn. of Letter Carriers Retirees

www.retireeparadise.blogspot.com Retiree Paradise Online Website Newsletter

www.seniorfriends.com National Association of Senior Friends

www.terraserver.microsoft.com Home Real Estate Values in your Neighborhood

www.usgenweb.org Family Ancestry Search by State and Counties

www.21cpw.com 21st Century Postal Worker Postal Issues Forum


TOP FIVE (5) INTERNET SEARCH ENGINES:

1.
www.google.com Best by Far. Ask any College Student!

2.
www.yahoo.com Excellent. Now uses Google’s search engine!

3.
www.excite.com Great Directories. Great Home Page!

4.
www.hotbot.com Good Directories! Innovative and getting better!

5.
www.mrsapo.com The Spanish Frog-Connects the Worldwide Web with one click of the mouse!

2006 FIVE (5) REASONS TO CALL OR WRITE APWU TO STAY ALIVE & ACTIVE!

APWU OF FLORIDA STATE RETIREE CHAPTER

5 REASONS TO CALL OR WRITE NATIONAL APWU RETIREES DEPARTMENT TO STAY ALIVE & ACTIVE! (Link J)

APWU retirees, as well as future retirees, surviving spouses, and dependents with questions concerning retirement can get help from the National APWU Retirees Department by phoning 1-202-842-8585, between the hours of 8:00 am-4:30 pm from Monday thru Friday, to speak with one of the Retirees Department staff members.

You may reach the Retirees Department at other hours, days, and holidays by phoning TOLL-FREE 1-877-279-8669 (877-APWU-NOW). When you call this number, be sure to leave your name and phone number on the tape so that someone can return your call. E-Mail can be sent to
dcholbrook@apwu.org at any time.

You may write to National APWU Retirees Department as below:

Douglas Cowan Holbrook, Director
APWU Retirees Department,
1300 L Street, N.W.,
Washington, D.C. 20005

In the following specific situations, please call, write or E-Mail Douglas Cowan Holbrook, our National APWU Retirees Director:

1. You need information on postal retirement (regular, disability, and/or early out) and/or workmen’s compensation and injury on the job. Be sure you have your CSA or CSF and Social Security numbers available when you call, write, or E-Mail.

2. You want to join the National APWU Retirees Department to become an APWU dues paying retiree member paying $24.00 year by signing up on the APWU Retired Member Form 1187.

3. You want information on how to organize an APWU Area Local/Local or a State Retiree Chapter. Three (3) Local Chapters are needed to form a State Chapter. The President of your local union must request a list of the APWU Retirees’ names and addresses and a model Constitution and By-Laws be mailed to get the organization started.

4. You want to show your appreciation and support for all the National APWU Retirees Department education and legislative programs set up to protect the Federal/Postal entitlements and benefits enjoyed by the National APWU membership which were won for all of us over the first 100 years of our history.

5. You want to become an active APWU Retiree by getting involved on the local, state, and national levels in the below PARAMOUNT LEGISLATIVE ISSUES of great importance to current and future retirees and their families:

PARAMOUNT LEGISLATIVE ISSUES

(1) Protection of Federal Civil Service annuities for Retirees and their families.

(2) Opposition to Privatization that would adversely affect Job Security for Postal Workers, Retirees, and their families.

(3) Guaranteeing Social Security for Current and Future Retirees and their families.

(4) Protection of Health, Long Term Care, Dental, Hearing, and Vision Benefits for Retirees and their families.

(5) Making Healthcare More Affordable for Retirees and their Families.

(6) Amending Section 125 of the Federal Tax Code to Allow Pre-Tax Dollars to be used toward Health Care for Retirees and their families.

(7) Repealing the Social Security Government Pension Offset (GPO) and Windfall Elimination Provisions (WEP) to help Retirees and their families.

(8) Legal Permission for Drugs Made in the USA to be re- imported for consumption by Retirees and their families.

(9) Improving Medicare and Prescription Drug Part D Coverage for Retirees and their families.

(10) Guaranteeing Medicare for Current and Future Retirees and their families.

(11) Supporting Legislation that would improve Long Term Care for Retirees and their families.

(12) Promote Legislation providing Safe and Low Cost Housing for Retirees and their families.

(13) Encourage FREE Education in Colleges and Higher Institutions of Learning for Retirees and their families.

(14) Getting involved in Democracy by Endorsing and Campaigning for Secret Ballot Voting by U.S. Mail to Provide a Paper Trail for all elections on local, county, state, and national levels.

(15) Persuade the Congress to enact legislation to provide a FREE COMPUTER tax free with FREE lessons for any Retiree to use, to preserve longer living, enjoyment of history, arts and sciences, music, and entertainment appreciation for Retirees and their families.

*****ONCE YOU RETIRE FROM YOUR CAREER AT THE U.S. POSTAL SERVICE every hard earned benefit that affects the Retiree, also directly or indirectly affects and touches every member of the Retiree’s family.
Jack Gose, President and Editor,
APWU of Florida State Retiree Chapter, AFL-CIO
Official Internet Website Webmaster

2006 FIFTEEN REASONS TO CALL OR WRITE OPM TO REFRESH YOUR MEMORY!

APWU OF FLORIDA STATE RETIREE CHAPTER

15 REASONS TO CALL OR WRITE OPM TO REFRESH YOUR MEMORY! (LINK I)

You may phone the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) toll-free at 1-888-767-6738, between the hours of 7:30 am-7:45 pm (EST) from Monday thru Friday, to speak to a real live person. The best time to call is early of the morning or late in the evening. The OPM automated phone system using this toll free number also seems to work well most of the time during other hours, days, and holidays.
You may write to OPM at the below addresses:
CSRS Employees:
U.S. Office of Personnel Management,
Retirement Operations Center,
P.O. Box 45,
Boyers, Pa. 16017

FERS Employees:
U.S. Office of Personnel Management,
Retirement Operations Center,
P.O. Box 200,
Boyers, Pa. 16017

In the following specific situations where you need help or information, call or write to OPM:

1. To report a regular monthly payment was lost or not received. First contact your post office/bank to see if delivery might have been delayed. If the payment has not been received by the fifth business day after the expected payment date, call or write OPM. You must sign the letter notifying OPM of the non-receipt of an annuity payment.

2. To obtain federal tax election forms to change income tax withheld form annuity payments.

3. General inquiries about health benefits. Enrollees are notified annually of the health benefit options before each Open Season.

4. A dispute over a health benefits claim with your health benefits carrier which you want OPM to review.

5. General inquiries about federal tax withholding.

6. Inquiries about a garnishment of annuity for alimony or child support, apportionment of an annuity awarded by a court and court-ordered survivor benefits.

7. To respond to an OPM Disability Earnings Survey or Marital Status Survey.

8. To submit Certification of Continued Entitlement to Adult Student Benefits, or to inquire about such benefits.

9. To send payments for deposits, re-deposits, and overpayments (debts). You should include your claim number, the number of your check, and enclose the OPM statement associated with your payments.

10. To report a change of mailing address. You must notify OPM about any change of address, even if your annuity payments are sent directly to a bank. OPM needs your mailing address to send important information (such as FEHBP Open Season packages) to you. You must sign the correspondence.

11. To have monthly annuity payments sent to a bank by “direct deposit.” You can ask your bank to complete the Standard Form and send it to OPM. You can also make these changes by calling if you can provide all the information requested on the Standard Form.

12. To report the death of a retiree or survivor. Include the deceased’s full name, claim number, date of birth, date of death, and Social Security number, if known. To apply for death benefits, survivors should request an Application for Death Benefits. If the deceased had FEGLI coverage, survivors should request a Life Insurance Claim for Death Benefits form.

13. To obtain information about retirement or life insurance designations of beneficiary, and to request or file designation forms. You should furnish your claim number, date of birth, and Social Security number. You must sign the request for such information from your file.

14. To report changes in Social Security benefits for FERS disability and survivor benefits.

15. To report changes in the status of Workers’ Compensation benefits.

2006 SURVIVOR ACTION INFO WAKE UP CALL!

APWU OF FLORIDA STATE RETIREE CHAPTER

SURVIVOR ACTION INFO WAKE UP CALL!

WHAT TO DO IF YOUR SPOUSE DIES:

1. Notify employee’s immediate supervisor at the U.S. Postal Service.

2. Notify Postmaster at the Postal facility where the employee worked.

3. Notify Personnel Section or Human Resources Office official.

4. Contact the following:

a. The American Postal Workers Union, AFL-CIO on the National, State, and Area Local/Local levels to check for any spousal benefits.

b. Office of Personnel Management at 1-888-767-6738 to check for eligible spousal benefits, such as spousal annuity, life insurance, health insurance, etc. The surviving spouse will get a Civil Service Final (CSF) annuity 7 digit number followed by the letter W (Widow or Widower).

c. If a veteran, contact the Veterans Administration and Veterans organizations to check for any spousal benefits you may be eligible for.

d. Local banks, savings and loans, credit unions for spousal benefits.

e. Safety Deposit Box at various financial institutions.

f. Social Security Administration to check for eligible benefits.

g. Insurance companies to check for any eligible benefits.

h. Internal Revenue Service and State & County Tax Departments.

i. Change deceased name on important papers to survivor’s name.

5. Notify immediate supervisor at USPS and President of APWU Area Local/Local of time and place of services for deceased.

6. Have mortuary obtain seven (7) copies of death certificate.

7. Turn in locker key, badge, and other postal property to immediate supervisor at the U.S. Postal Service.

8. Obtain copies of military discharge certificates, Form DD-214, if postal employee dies while still employed at USPS.

9. Have copies of birth certificates of dependent, underage children.

10. If previously married, have copies of your divorce papers.

11. If presently married, have copies of your marriage license.

12. A will or living trust is a vital necessity which will eliminate costly court probate procedures. We urge everyone to get one if you don’t already have this important document to protect your assets and to make sure your estate is distributed according to your wishes when you pass on.

13. Fill out the following papers (available from Personnel or OPM). Copies of the forms may be seen at
www.opm.gov/forms for review.

a. SF 2800 – Application for death benefits (CSRS).
b. SF 3104 – Application for death benefits (FERS).
c. Claim of designated beneficiary for unpaid compensation.
d. Claim for unpaid compensation (no designated beneficiary).
e. Claim for benefits such as Federal Employees Group Life Insurance (FEGLI).
f. Check with Personnel section or Human Resources office for exact amount of annuity for yourself and children. Then telephone OPM to double check on everything for peace of mind.

Survivorship is not paid AUTOMATICALLY. You must apply for it. In most cases, if your spouse was a veteran, he/she is entitled to burial expenses.

If the cause of death is due to a job related injury, the Office of Federal Employees Compensation (OFEC) will pay for burial expenses minus any amount the VA gives.

The survivors, in case of a job related death, may also apply for an annuity from the OFEC. The survivors can then choose the higher annuity.

You might wish to save this APWU survivor action information. Hopefully, you will not have to use it, but will find it helpful to those who have the need.

In the event you do not already have a copy, we suggest you invest in your future and the future of your loved ones by purchasing the APWU Survivors Booklet costing only $3.00 per copy from the National APWU Retirees Department in Washington, D.C. To review this valuable keepsake booklet and other retiree info, go online to
www.apwu.org and click on Retirees Dept. for the latest news!

By all means, contact the office of Douglas Cowan Holbrook, Director, National APWU Retirees Department, by telephone at 1-202-842-8585 or toll-free 1-877-279-8669 (877-APWU NOW), and/or write to him at 1300 L Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20005 to inform him of the death of your spouse, and let him know you wish to retain all the APWU benefits your spouse and you have fought for all these years.

IF YOU DIE WHILE EMPLOYED AT USPS

If your death occurs while you are still employed at USPS, your surviving spouse and children will qualify for a monthly survivor annuity, provided:

1. You were subject to the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) or Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) at death, and had completed at least eighteen (18) months of creditable civilian service.


2. You and your spouse were married for at least nine (9) months at the time of your death, or your spouse is the parent of a child born of your marriage. The nine (9) month requirement does not apply in cases of accidental death.

3. Your children are unmarried and under age eighteen (18), or full-time students in recognized educational institutions and under age twenty-two (22), or married and incapable of self support at the time of your death regardless of age, provided the disability occurred prior to age 18.

If your death occurs before retirement, your survivors should notify your employing office immediately. When your employing office is notified of your death, they will assist your survivors in filling the necessary claim forms for death benefits. Your employing office will provide the applicable claim forms. The following documents are required:

1. Two (2) certified copies of the death certificate.

2. Copy of military discharge certificates, form DD-214, report of transfer or discharge, if applicable.

3. Copy of marriage certificates.

4. Copy of birth certificates of dependent children under age twenty-two (22).

IF YOU DIE AFTER RETIREMENT FROM USPS

If your death occurs after you retire, your surviving spouse will qualify for an annuity if you accepted a reduced annuity with survivor benefits at retirement, and your spouse was married to you for a total of at least nine (9) months or is the parent of your child. The marriage duration requirement does not apply if your death is accidental.

Children described above automatically qualify for a survivor annuity regardless of your survivor annuity election.

The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) must honor qualifying court orders that provide survivor annuity benefits for a former spouse.

If you have a former spouse who is entitled to a full survivor annuity based on a qualifying court order, your current spouse will receive monthly survivor benefits after your death only if the former spouse loses entitlement to the court-ordered survivor benefits, unless you elect to provide an insurable interest annuity for your spouse when you retire.

A court order providing survivor benefits to a former spouse will not affect survivor benefits for eligible children.

A survivor annuity for a spouse continues for life, unless the spouse remarries before age fifty-five (55). A child’s annuity ends when the child marries, reaches the age eighteen (18) or twenty-two (22) if a full-time student, or if disabled, becomes capable of self support.

Lump-sum benefits consist of the total amount credited to your retirement fund, plus any accrued interest. However, no lump-sum benefits for retirement contributions will be paid if your current spouse, former spouse, or children are eligible for a survivor annuity.

If your survivor annuity terminates before your retirement contributions are exhausted (paid out in the form of an annuity), the balance remaining in your account is payable in a lump sum. Any unpaid accrued annuity due you at death is also payable in a lump sum. A lump sum is payable in this order:

1. Designated beneficiary.
2. Spouse.
3. Child/children in equal shares.
4. Parents.
5. Executor or estate administrator.
6. Next of kin.

If you die after retirement, your survivor should notify OPM at 1-888-767-6738 between hours of 7:30 am-7:45 pm, Monday thru Friday. The best time to call is early of the morning or late in the evening to not have to wait a long time on line to talk to a real live person. The OPM toll-free telephone number automated system is available 24 hours seven days a week, if you choose this option.

Your survivor should give the deceased employee’s full name, Civil Service Annuity (CSA) claim number which has seven (7) digits, date of birth, date of death, and the name and address of the person entitled to death benefits.

Any OPM annuity checks not cashed should be returned with a statement to the return address on the U. S. Government envelope bearing the check or to the below address for the entire United States:

Department of U. S. Treasury,
Financial Management Services,
P.O. Box 7224,
San Francisco, CA 94120-7224

If your checks are being deposited directly into your bank account by OPM, your survivor should contact your bank or other financial institution, notifying them of the date of your death. When OPM receives notice of your death, they will review your retirement records and send applicable claim forms to the person entitled to the death benefits.

2006 TWENTY-TWO (22) RETIREMENT TIPS TO MAKE YOUR DREAMS A REALITY!


APWU OF FLORIDA STATE RETIREE CHAPTER

22 RETIREMENT TIPS TO MAKE YOUR DREAMS A REALITY:

RETIREE CHAPTER POSTAL CALENDAR TIPS!

1. ANNUAL LEAVE
2. BENEFICIARIES
3. COUNSELING SEMINARS
4. DATE OF RETIREMENT (CSRS)
5. DATE OF RETIREMENT (FERS)
6. GOVERNMENT PENSION OFFSET (GPO)
7. HEALTH INSURANCE
8. HIGH THREE AVERAGE EARNINGS PAY
9. INCOME PROJECTION
10. INTERIM OPM PAYMENTS
11. LIFE INSURANCE
12. LWOP
13. OFFICIAL PERSONNEL FOLDER (OPF)
14. SICK LEAVE (CSRS)
15. SICK LEAVE (FERS)
16. SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFITS
17. SPOUSAL OPM BENEFITS
18. SURVIVORS BOOKLET
19. THRIFT SAVINGS PLAN (TSP)
20. VERIFICATION OF RECORDS
21. WINDFALL ELIMINATION PROVISION (WEP)
22. YEARS OF SERVICE OPM MAXIMUM PAY

22 RETIREMENT TIPS OUTLINED BELOW!

1. ANNUAL LEAVE: At the time you retire, the Postal Service will pay you for up to a maximum of only 440 hours of earned annual leave. You will lose any amount over 55 days of annual leave (55 days x 8 hours daily= 440 hours maximum). It should be on your next scheduled USPS paycheck.

2. BENEFICIARIES: Check the information on beneficiaries you have previously chosen for your Government Life Insurance, Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS), Federal Employee Retirement System (FERS), earned annual leave, and earned compensation. There is a separate form for each benefit.

The order of beneficiaries is your designated beneficiaries or if the order is not designated, then the order is spouse, child/children in equal shares, parents, executor or estate administrator, brothers and sisters, or next of kin in that order.

3. COUNSELING SEMINARS: You need to attend a pre-retirement counseling seminar, if one is available at your USPS agency, at least five (5) or more years before your retirement. Many postal agencies only offer one pre-retirement individual counseling session within in a three (3) year period after you become eligible for retirement due to age and years of service. It’s a crying shame, but that’s the way things happen.

Better yet, you should attend a National APWU Retirees Department Retirement class hosted by the APWU Region, State and/or Area Local/Local or enroll in a three (3) day National APWU Retirees Department Counseling Seminar which is being scheduled in each region. This way you may become an APWU Retirement Counselor in your APWU Area Local/Local, State or Region.

4. DATE OF RETIREMENT (CSRS): For voluntary retirements, CSRS annuities should begin on the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd day of the month. If you retire on one of the first three days of the month, your first OPM annuity check is payable the first day of the following month.

If you retire on any other day of the month, your first OPM annuity check is payable the first day of the second month which follows. If you retire the 4th day through the last day of any month, for example, August 4th through August 31, then your first OPM annuity check is payable October 1st. Waiting one extra day will cost you one additional month of OPM annuity pay!

5. DATE OF RETIREMENT (FERS): In the Federal Employee Retirement System (FERS), voluntary retirements begin only on the first day of a month. FERS employees should retire on the last three (3) days of the month, if possible. For example, if you retire on August 31 under FERS, your first OPM annuity check is payable October 1st. Under FERS, retiring on other days earlier in the month will cost you extra days of additional OPM annuity pay.

6. GOVERNMENT PENSION OFFSET (GPO): You may also be entitled to benefits based on the Social Security covered earnings of your spouse or former spouse. However, this benefit may be affected by the Government Pension Offset (GPO), another provision of the Social Security law. For more information, see Congress & Legislative link and scroll down to the Legislative Fact Sheet on Government Pension Offset (GPO). We urge you to contact your Congress and ask them to Co-sponsor and support the legislative bills already introduced in the 110th Congress to repeal this unfair law.

7. HEALTH INSURANCE: You must be enrolled in your Federal Employees Health Insurance Benefits (FEHB) Plan program for a five (5) year period prior to your date of retirement to continue your health insurance coverage as a retiree. After you retire, you pay approximately thirty (30) percent or less of your health insurance premium and USPS pays about seventy (70) percent or more. The U.S. Government is mandated not to pay more than 75 % of total premium for any FEHB plan.

This is a big change in the formula you enjoyed before you retired when USPS paid approximately eighty-three (83) percent or more and you paid about seventeen (17) percent or less due to the USPS/APWU collective bargaining agreement. Welcome to the real world!

8. HIGH THREE AVERAGE EARNINGS PAY: Your high three average earnings pay is figured on thirty-six (36) months of continuous base pay only. It does not include overtime, night differential, Sunday pay, or lump sum payments.

9. INCOME PROJECTION: If you will have any housing cost (mortgage or rent) or other significant loans/credit card debts after retiring, you will need approximately eighty (80) percent of your current USPS salary to retire comfortably. If you have no rent/mortgage or other substantial loans/credit card debts after retiring, sixty (60) percent of your salary will probably suffice.

10. INTERIM PAYMENTS: Generally, as soon as the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) gets all your retirement records from USPS, OPM will provide interim payments averaging more than eighty-five (85) percent of your final retirement benefit. Usually, the next month’s check will be your regular annuity amount plus a make-up of the remaining amount due from your first payment. The third OPM annuity check you receive, if not sooner, should be your regular monthly annuity amount.

OPM will withhold deductions for federal income taxes, health and life insurance coverage, and your $2.00 monthly APWU retiree union dues, provided you have completed the APWU Retired member Form 1187 and mailed it back to the National APWU Retirees Dept.

11. LIFE INSURANCE: To keep your Federal Employees Government Life Insurance (FEGLI) group policy coverage, you must have been enrolled in the program for the five (5) years of service immediately preceding your retirement date or for all service since your first opportunity to enroll in the program.

12. LWOP: The only way LWOP can delay your postal retirement by reducing your years of service credits is if you take over six (6) months of LWOP in a calendar year.

13. OFFICIAL PERSONNEL FOLDER (OPF): Get a copy of your Official Personnel Folder (OPF) from USPS Personnel or Human Resources office at once, including all military records. Your retirement is based on the Form 50’s in your folder. Check your Personnel folder and files each and every year of your employment.

Your retirement is determined by the highest three years of your consecutive yearly base pay. There is approximately a twenty (20) percent error in USPS record keeping. Your expenses of copying the personnel records in your folder will save you beg bucks down the road!

14. SICK LEAVE (CSRS): In CSRS, for every 22 days of sick leave, you are credited for one month of service. 2080 hours of sick leave equals one year of credit for CSRS employees only. Accumulated sick leave can be used for additional monthly and years of service for retirement.

15. SICK LEAVE (FERS): If you are in FERS, you get no credit for accumulated sick leave for extra monthly and years of service to retire.

16. SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFITS: Telephone the Social Security Administration 1-800-772-1213 or go on line to their web site
www.ssa.gov to ask for a “Request for Earnings and Benefit Statement” on you to get a record of your earnings under Social Security, and if you will be eligible, an estimate of the payment you may receive.

Remember, the estimate you receive may not include reductions to your Social Security benefits due to the Government Pension Offset (GPO) and the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP). You should schedule an appointment with your local Social Security office to personally get an estimate of your benefits, including any reductions which may be caused by the GPO and/or WEP provisions.

17. SPOUSAL OPM BENEFITS: In compliance with the Spousal Equity Act of 1984, your spouse must agree and sign a notarized paper for you not to make your spouse a beneficiary of your OPM annuity. If the spouse chooses not to be a beneficiary and the annuitant dies, the spouse cannot get health insurance benefits coverage!

18. SURVIVOR’S BOOKLET: Every potential APWU retiree member should purchase the APWU Survivors Booklet costing only $3.00 from the National APWU. This treasure chest publication allows for personal information to be stored in one place for your use and your spouse/family. If you pass away, the information in this booklet is especially important to you, but also to your survivor or loved ones.

19. THRIFT SAVINGS PLAN (TSP): You are urged to contribute a maximum deduction to your Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) to realize a higher income return on retirement. Retirement for FERS employees is like a three-legged stool, that is, FERS, Social Security, and TSP. You cannot usually afford to retire if you don’t build up your Thrift Savings Plan account to the maximum.

20. VERIFICATION OF RECORDS: All periods of civilian and military service should be verified in your Official Personnel Folder (OPF) files. You must take the initiative on your own to request copies of all your personnel records and keep these copies in a safe place where you know where they are located. Request copies each and every year to update your files for retirement some day! I bet you can’t wait to get started!

21. WINDFALL ELIMINATION PROVISION (WEP): Any Social Security Administration estimate of the payment you may receive is not adjusted for the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP), which is a provision of the Social Security law after 1984 that reduces the Social Security covered benefits of many former Federal and Postal employees.

For more information, go to the Congress & Legislative link on this web site and scroll down to Priority Legislation and Legislative Fact Sheets to read about how the Windfall Elimination Provision may affect your retirement.

We urge you to contact your Congress and ask for their Co-sponsorship and support for legislative bills already introduced in the 110th Congress calling for the repeal of the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP). We think these bills have a good chance of getting out of Committees and going to the floor for serious debate and passage this time around the horn!

22. YEARS OF SERVICE OPM MAXIMUM PAY: If you have forty-one (41) years and eleven (11) months of combined service at the time you retire, you will be paid eighty (80) percent of your high three continuous years of service. For CSRS employees, sick leave can increase your OPM annuity over the 80 percent maximum. FERS employees DO NOT GET ANY CREDIT for accumulated sick leave in figuring their retirement! Welcome to the Real World!

2006 TEN (10) RETIREMENT SUGGESTIONS SHOCKER!

APWU OF FLORIDA STATE RETIREE CHAPTER

TEN (10) RETIREMENT SUGGESTIONS TO MAKE YOU SMILE! (LINK F)

1. Begin planning your retirement at the beginning of employment.

2. Attend several pre-retirement postal and APWU seminars.

3. Keep your retirement plan confidential. This allows you to change your mind if events or personal circumstances change your plan.

4. Keep your plans with your spouse so both your interests can be preserved in your new life style. Consult with your spouse knowing there is a spousal consent requirement.

5. Learn the facts of your many retirement options from an expert, Mr. Douglas Cowan Holbrook, National Director of the APWU Retirees Department, the postal retirement counselor in your office, and the APWU Area Local/local Union President, APWU Retiree Director, and APWU Retirement Counselors in your local and state.

6. Review your life and health insurance needs and figure the cost as you decide which policies to take with you into retirement. Understand how age will impact the cost of your life insurance.

7. Stay where you are for about a year after you retire. This will help you make a wise decision on whether to stay close to family and friends or move to a new area in Florida or out of state.

8. Take advantage of the various Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) options (CSRS-FERS) available to you. Save the maximum you can, even if you will only be in the program for a year or less.

9. Take financial inventory and budget for unexpected expenses like increasing college tuition for your children or grandchildren or medical care for you or a loved one.

10. Take advantage of all the retirement information provided by APWU Retirees Dept., U.S.P.S., OPM, and independent sources.


TEN (10) RETIREMENT MISTAKES TO REMEMBER:

1. Retiring on the spur of the moment because of a difficult assignment or personality clash on the job. The “early out of 1992” is a good example of lack of retirement planning by retiring postal employees and USPS.

2. Failing to discuss retirement plans with your spouse or loved ones, and retiring “from” something without having something better to do.

3. Expecting to live comfortably on your annuity without making realistic calculations of how much money it will take to maintain your current standard of living or lifestyle.

4. Retiring without realizing that Twenty-five (25) years of service under CSRS will yield only Forty-six and twenty-five/one hundreds (46.25) percent and each additional year of service after 25 years will yield only two (2) percent of your High 3 year average earnings.

5. Failing to stay abreast of developments and changes in federal retirement entitlement programs and trends on the Congressional scene.

6. Retiring without reviewing all the CSRS or FERS retirement options, and the pros and cons of each with USPS, OPM, Social Security, Medicare, Thrift Savings Plan, and the APWU Retirees Department.

7. Basing retirement decision on the advice of friends, rather than consulting with the experts at the national, state, and local levels.

8 Selling your house and moving to an area, without being sure of the cultural, social, and economic realities of the move.

9. Believing that your active productive life is over just because you are retiring. Most employees retiring have the union in their blood, and have the opportunity to continue being active as a $24.00 year dues paying member of the National APWU Retirees Department.

10. Failing to review all your service and entitlements to be sure you get the proper credit. Believing that the estimate you receive from the postal service is the actual amount of your annuity.

2006 FLORIDA CHAPTER MEMBERSHIP ALIVE!

APWU OF FLORIDA STATE RETIREE CHAPTER

FLORIDA CHAPTER MEMBERSHIP: (LINK D)

ZIP CODE-LARGEST CITY-CURRENT MEMBERS

320 Jacksonville 72
321 Daytona Beach 139
322 Jacksonville 108
323 Tallahassee 27
324 Panama City 44
325 Pensacola 56
326 Gainesville 53
327 Lake Mary/Titusville 139
328 Orlando 90
329 Melbourne/Cocoa 145
330 Miami/Key West 223
331 Miami 132
333 Fort Lauderdale 125
334 West Palm Beach 269
335 Tampa/Zephyrhills 106
336 Tampa 137
337 St. Petersburg 168
338 Lakeland 139
339 Fort Myers 140
341 Naples 24
342 Bradenton/Sarasota 149
344 Ocala 136
346 New Port Richey 202
347 Kissimmee 71
349 Fort Pierce/Port St. Lucie 92
FLORIDA TOTAL MEMBERSHIP = 3,000+ or -

This information was gathered from the National APWU Retirees mailing list provided by the National APWU Retirees Department, AFL-CIO, Wash., D.C.

2006 LOCAL RETIREE CHAPTERS SEE THE LIGHT!

APWU OF FLORIDA STATE RETIREE CHAPTER

LOCAL RETIREE CHAPTERS: (LINK C)

Florida Suncoast Retiree Chapter,
Suncoast Area Local #1228, APWU
Chartered 1998 by National APWU
Jack Gose, President Home Tel: 727-343-2998


Broward County Area Local Retiree Chapter,
Broward County Area Local #1201, APWU
Chartered 2000 by National APWU
Valentine Serpico, President Home Tel: 954-396-4217



Miami Area Local Retiree Chapter,
Miami Area Local #0172, APWU
Chartered 2001 by National APWU
Manuel Camunas, President
Local President Cookie Ford Office Tel: 305-591-0134



Tampa Area Local Retiree Chapter,
Tampa Area Local #0259, APWU
Chartered 2006 by National APWU
Dave Bernstein, President Home Tel: 813-839-4233

2006 APWU OF FLORIDA STATE RETIREE CHAPTER OFFICERS!


Douglas Cowan Holbrook, National Retirees Department Director, installs six (6) newly elected officers of the APWU of Florida State Retiree Chapter, AFL-CIO, for a 2-year term of service on Wed., May 10, 2006 in Daytona Beach, FL at the 3rd Biennial State Retiree Chapter Convention held in Plaza Ocean Club Hotel. See how many faces from the photo above you can recognize in the list of Chapter Officers below:

APWU OF FLORIDA STATE RETIREE CHAPTER

CHAPTER OFFICERS (2006-2008): (LINK A)

President: Jack Gose
6839 Park Street South, South Pasadena, Fl. 33707
Home Tel: 727-343-2998
E-Mail:
Jak.Gose@Excite.com

Vice President: Valentine Serpico
2701 Middle River Dr., #1, Fort Lauderdale, Fl. 33306
Home Tel: 954-396-4217

Secretary-Treas.: Mario G. Miceli
2034 Los Lomas Dr., Clearwater, Fl. 33763
Home Tel: 727-446-4781

Legislative Dir.: David Bernstein
2616 South Toronto St., Tampa, Fl. 33629
Home Tel: 813-839-4233

Health Plan Dir.: J. C. Wise
4018 W. Fig Street, Tampa, Fl. 33609
Home Tel: 813-289-0382

Benefits & Organization Dir., Beth Cramer
1305 SW 9th Court, Cape Coral, Fl. 33991
Home Tel: 239-242-9133

Trustee: Charlie Redd
1822 Baylor Court, Cocoa, Fl. 32922
Home Tel: 321-632-2898

Trustee: Pedro Torres
8400 S.W. 181st Street, Miami, Fl. 33157
Home Tel: 305-251-7938

Historian: John Sardin, Jr.
6116 – 25th Ave. North, St. Petersburg, Fl. 33710
727-347-5687

2006 NATIONAL APWU RETIREES DEPT. CONFERENCE IN PHILADELPHIA, PA.!


(Click on Document Picture Above to Make for Better Viewing)

APWU 100 YEARS OF PROGRESS AND STILL COUNTING, REMARKABLE ARTICLE WRITTEN BY DOUGLAS COWAN HOLBROOK, NATIONAL APWU RETIREES DIRECTOR, ON PAGE 33 IN THE NOVEMBER-DECEMBER, 2006 ISSUE OF AMERICAN POSTAL WORKER MAGAZINE. THIS IS A COLLECTORS GEM!


By Jack Gose, Retiree Reporter and Editor, member of APWU National Postal Press Association, AFL-CIO.

2006 JOHN SARDIN, JR., APPOINTED AS HISTORIAN OF FLORIDA STATE RETIREE CHAPTER!

John Sardin, Jr., age 83, son Philip Sardin, spouse Mary Sardin, and President Jack Gose, Florida Suncoast Retiree Chapter, American Postal Workers Union, AFL-CIO, are shown smiling on the porch outside Buddy Freddys Buffet Restaurant, 1150 U.S. Highway 19, Holiday, FL 34691 after an enjoyable Chapter membership luncheon and business meeting on Tue., Sept. 20, 2005. John has been the Treasurer of the Local Chapter #1228 since creation in 1998 and Sec.-Treasurer of the APWU of Florida State Retiree Chapter since formation in 2002.
JOHN SARDIN, JR. APPOINTED AS CHAPTER HISTORIAN

Jack Gose, President, APWU of Florida State Retiree Chapter, AFL-CIO, has appointed John Sardin, Jr. to the newly created post of Historian, which position was unanimously approved by the Chapter Executive Board meeting on Wed., Oct. 25, 2006 in Fort Myers, FL. John was born in 1922, and he is enjoying his 64 years of labor union involvement. He is a highly respected individual serving as the first APWU Vice President at Large on the Florida AFL-CIO Executive Board for several years, and is currently the Treasurer of the Florida Suncoast Retiree Chapter, Suncoast Area Local #1228 covering 337 and 346 zip code areas of Florida.

The CHAPTER HISTORIAN shall maintain an accurate historical record of the APWU of Florida State Retiree Chapter, AFL-CIO, prior to and after the issuance of a founding charter granted by the American Postal Workers Union on March 15, 2002, and to keep up with the historical facts of all National APWU, National AFL-CIO, APWU of Florida State, Florida AFL-CIO, National Alliance for Retired Americans, and Florida Alliance for Retired Americans labor related events. He will share with APWU Active and Retiree dues paying officers, stewards, members, and their families by timely distribution and publication of informative, interesting historical articles in the Florida Postal Worker and at conventions, conferences, and seminars.

Elizabeth Cramer, APWU Southern Region Retiree National Convention Delegate, Steve Cramer, Dave and Phyllis Bernstein, Richard and Arlene Lambrigger, and Jack Gose participated in an open luncheon and business meeting at Holiday Inn Select in Ft. Myers. Beth Cramer wants everyone to know she attended all the active and retiree meetings at the National APWU Convention in Philadelphia in August. A motion was unanimously passed for the Chapter to send up to two (2) Chapter Officer/Delegates to the National APWU Retiree Conference and Clerk Craft Conference to be held in Las Vegas, NV at the Las Vegas Hilton Hotel from Mon., Nov. 5 thru Thur., Nov. 8, 2007 to ensure having two Delegates with voice and vote at both events.

Jack Gose, Dave and Phyllis Bernstein joined over 100 other Postal Workers on Thur., Oct. 26, 2006 to picket the Main Post Office in downtown Ft. Myers, opposing the consolidation plans for 139 post offices of the U.S. Postal Service, which actions will slow down the service and eliminate postmarks on local mailings, including St. Petersburg, Daytona Beach, Fort Lauderdale, and Ft. Myers. The message was delivered by APWU active and retiree marchers loud and clear, “DON’T LET OUR MAIL SERVICE FALL APART,” as TV, Cable, Radio, and Newspaper Media on the scene recorded APWU History for the Ages!

The Chapter encourages all active APWU Area Local/Local Executive Boards and active membership to affiliate with Florida Alliance for Retired Americans (FLARA) at 25 cents per member, per year, with a minimum of twenty (20) members or $5.00 year dues to receive a charter from FLARA. Jack Gose distributed a Happy Folder containing an APPLICATION FOR AFFILIATION WITH FLARA to each of the APWU Area Local/Local Presidents attending the Local Presidents Conference all day meeting on Wed., Oct. 25, 2006. The APWU leaders of today need to get involved in politics and progressive legislation to protect and preserve our jobs, active and retiree benefit programs!

The 3-hour Retirement Class at the APWU of Florida Fall Seminar on Sat., Oct. 28, 2006 in Ft. Myers had a Wonderful Surprise Turnout with thirty (30) signing in, about half coming from Southwest Florida Area Local and the rest hailing from ten (10) other local unions. The expected retirement years offered by the attendees ranged from 2007 to 2040. Linda Springer, Director of Office of Personnel Management, informed us that sixty percent (60%) of the Federal Employee workforce will become eligible to retire within the next ten (10) years, and forty percent (40 %) will actually retire as soon as they become eligible. Doug Holbrook, National APWU Retiree Director, who taught the retirement seminar, states that 137,000 APWU craft members will become eligible to retire by 2016. My advice is for everyone to sign up for the next APWU OF FLORIDA SPRING 3-DAY RETIREMENT COUNSELOR SEMINAR to be taught in April, 2007. Early Outs are always an Option!

Federal retirees covered by Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) and regular military retirees will receive a 3.3 percent COST OF LIVING (COLA) increase in 2007. Employees who retired under the new Federal Employee Retirement System (FERS) and are 62 or older will receive 2.3 percent COLA. There are about 2.4 million federal retirees worldwide. Social Security checks for nearly l49 million retirees are going up 3.3 percent in 2007, an average of $33.00 per month. The 3.3 percent hike compares to 4.1 percent benefit rise in 2006, the biggest increase in 15 years. One-third (1/3) of retirees rely on Social Security for ninety (90) percent or more of their total income. Part of the gain will be eaten up by a $5.00 jump in Medicare Part B Health Insurance from $88.50 to $93.50 monthly, a rise of 5.6 percent.

Our entire APWU of Florida State Retiree Chapter Executive Board members wish everyone smooth sailing, HAPPY HOLIDAYS in 2006, and HAPPY NEW YEAR in 2007!

Jack Gose, President, APWU of Florida State Retiree Chapter

2006 FLORIDA ALLIANCE FOR RETIRED AMERICANS EB MEETING IN PALM BEACH GARDENS, FL!

Kathy Castor, successful Democratic candidate for Congress (11th H.R. District-FL) to replace Congressman Jim Davis, stands to answer a question at the quarterly Florida Alliance for Retired Americans Executive Board and Legislative Conference with 60 members meeting at Dolphin Beach Resort, 4900 Gulf Blvd., St. Petersburg Beach, FL 33706 on Mon., Sept. 11, 2006 the 5th anniversary of the twin World Trade towers disaster in New York City in 2001. President Tony Fransetta remains at the dais, awaiting introduction of Christine Jennings, unsuccessful Democratic candidate to replace the Congressional seat in Sarasota (13th H.R. District-FL) now held by Republican Katherine Harris, loser to Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) in the general election on Tue., Nov. 7, 2006. (Photo taken by FLARA Vice President Jack Gose with a Kodak 800 speed Flash camera)
FLARA EB & LEGISLATIVE CONFERENCE SCHEDULED FOR DOUBLETREE HOTEL, PALM BEACH GARDENS, FL. ON MON., DEC. 4, 2006

Tony Fransetta, President, Florida Alliance for Retired Americans (FLARA), has announced a quarterly Executive Board meeting and FLARA Legislative Conference will be held in Palm Beach Gardens, FL. on Monday, December 4, 2006 at the Doubletree Hotel, 4431 PGA Blvd., Palm Beach Gardens, FL. 33410. Warm chocolate chip cookies will be given to each person checking in at this 279 room Hilton Family Hotel. Free complimentary parking is available near the entrance.

Doubletree Hotel standard single/double room rate is $94.00, plus 10.5 % taxes per night, a total of $103.87 for FLARA members and guests. Standard room has two double beds. Call the Doubletree Hotel at 1-800-222-8733 or 1-561-622-2260 (Tree) to make room reservations, and ask for the FLARA special group rate. You are to arrive on Sunday, December 3, 2006 and check in at the hotel after 3 pm and checkout time is 12 noon on Monday, December 4, 2006.

All roads lead to the Palm Beach Gardens area on the East Coast of Florida for FLARA/APWU Retiree Actions you will never forget! Directions to the Doubletree Hotel Palm Beach Gardens: From the South: I-95 North to PGA Blvd West, Exit 79B. Hotel entrance is 1/4 mile on the right. Another option is to take the Florida Turnpike (Toll) North to PGA Blvd, Exit 109. Then turn Left (East) on PGA to Military Trail, after which turn left again. Doubletree Hotel entrance is immediately on right. From the North: I-95 South to PGA Blvd, Exit 79, then turn right (West) on PGA. Hotel entrance is 1/4 mile on the right. Another option is to take the Florida Turnpike (Toll) South to PGA Blvd, Exit 109. Turn Left (East) on PGA to Military Trail, turn left. Hotel entrance is immediately on right.

All FLARA Executive Board members, Club and individual members, including all 3,000 APWU of Florida State Retiree Chapter officers, members and invited family/guests are invited to attend this entertaining meeting of Florida’s finest leaders from twenty-two (22) International unions and over 100 community based organizations. The meetings will be held on Monday, Dec. 4, 2006 and will run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. with a break for lunch from 12 noon to 1 p.m. provided by FLARA. Many invited guests and well-known political figures will speak. Go online to
www.flara.org to see our mission purpose and history of achievements. FLARA has over 220,000 dues paying members in the State of Florida!

President Tony Fransetta has chartered an additional 15 clubs since our annual FLARA Convention at Altamonte Springs, FL in June of this year, and we are in the process of chartering the Firefighters of Miami-Dade County (over 600 members), the International Union of Police Association, and Alliance Care. A few of the new clubs that were chartered since June, 2006 are: CWA, Local 3106. CWA, Local 3109; CWA, Local 3120; APWU, Tampa Area Local 259; CWA Retiree Club #3, Local 3181; and APWU of Florida State Retiree Chapter, AFL-CIO (over 3,000 members).

We welcome everyone including active APWU officers, members, and family/guests to this exciting gathering to foster support for the important issues that face Florida Union active members, retirees, and seniors. The Club dues to affiliate with FLARA are only twenty-five (25) cents, per member per year, with a minimum of twenty (20) members to join, or only $5.00 year. All thirty-one (31) APWU Area local/local Union Executive Boards can certainly afford to pay this amount. Florida Suncoast Retiree Chapter #1228 and Tampa Area Local Retiree Chapter #259 are affiliated and chartered by FLARA. Join us in real APWU Retiree Solidarity as We Continue to Fight for all of our Future!

Contact FLARA in West Palm Beach area at 1-561-792-8799 if you are interested or have any questions or comments. Please phone Jack Gose, FLARA 2nd Vice President, at 727-343-2998 for more information!
Jack Gose, President, APWU of Florida State Retiree Chapter

2006 APWU OF FLORIDA FALL SEMINAR IN FT. MYERS, FL!

Retirees Jack Gose, President of APWU of Florida State Retiree Chapter, Dave and Phyllis Bernstein join over 100 other active national, state, and local American Postal Workers Union officers, members, and family picketing the main downtown U.S. Post Office, Ft. Myers, FL. on Thur., Oct. 26, 2006 in opposition to the U.S. Postal Service plan to consolidate mail processing and delivery services in 139 cities across the nation, causing 1 to 7 days delay in mail delivery and loss of some of the city postmarks to the communities involved. Martha Shunn-King, President of APWU of Florida, and ten (10) National APWU Officers led the marchers on a hot sunny day with several TV, radio, and newspaper media outlets recording the events!
FREE RETIREES CHAPTER LUNCHEON IN FORT MYERS OCT. 25, 2006

An APWU of Florida State Retiree Chapter FREE luncheon will be given to each Retiree Chapter member paying APWU Retiree union dues $24.00 year to the National APWU Retirees Dept. and one guest, limit of two per family attending the Retirees Luncheon to be held at the Holiday Inn Select Restaurant, 13051 Bell Tower Drive, Ft. Myers, FL 33907 from 11:45 am to 1:15 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2006. Retiree Happy folders chock full of interesting information will be distributed to all those attending, and everyone is invited! Retirees like to mix their door prizes with excitement!

Douglas Cowan Holbrook, National APWU Retirees Director, and former Secretary-Treasurer of the 224,000+ active dues paying member American Postal Workers Union, AFL-CIO for 20 years has been invited by Jack Gose to be the main speaker at the scheduled FREE RETIREES CHAPTER LUNCHEON on Wed., Oct. 25, 2006 at the Holiday Inn Select Hotel located in Fort Myers, FL. He will elaborate on many changes being made in the membership dues rebate structure of the National APWU Retirees Department, and how they will affect APWU Local and State Retiree Chapters all over the country. We suggest you check your National APWU Retiree dues rebate printouts carefully, and contact Doug Holbrook for any corrections, if needed!

An example of one of the changes being implemented is if you are a member of Detroit District Area Local Union in Detroit, MI, one of 35 chartered Local Retiree chapters, and you retire from the Detroit, MI Post Office, your APWU Retiree union dues rebate of eighty (80) cents per month will be rebated to the Detroit District Area Local Union in Detroit, MI the rest of your life, even if you move your residence to Florida and in reality the APWU of Florida State Retiree Chapter and/or the APWU Local Retiree Chapter in Florida represents you and all the APWU Retirees living in Florida. An APWU Retiree pays $24.00 year or $2.00 monthly to the National APWU Retirees Department, and forty (40) percent of the monthly rebate has always gone to the APWU Local Retiree Chapter where the Retiree resides which has been the National APWU previous policy for thirteen (13) years since the creation of the APWU Retirees Department in 1993. If you have questions, phone Doug Holbrook in Washington, D.C.!

EVERYONE INVITED TO RETIREMENT SEMINAR IN FT MYERS SAT., OCT. 28

A one-day retirement seminar will be conducted by National APWU Retirees Department Director Douglas C. Holbrook during the Fall Educational Seminar for active and retiree members and their families on Saturday, Oct. 28, 2006 beginning at 9 am until conclusion in the afternoon to make sure everyone’s questions and concerns are answered by the National APWU Retirees Department Director. The APWU of Florida Spring Seminar begins on Thurs., Oct. 26 thru Sat., Oct. 28, 2006 at the Holiday Inn Select Hotel where the semi-annual conclave is to be held for educational classes arranged by Pete Trunzo, Education Director, for active and retiree APWU members. The names, dates, and times of other classes and instructors are listed elsewhere in the Florida Postal Worker or on the APWU of Florida website
www.apwuflorida.org and phone Jack Gose 727-343-2998 or jak.gose@excite.com for any comments or suggestions! WE LOVE YOU!

2006 NATL APWU CONVENTION HIGHLIGHTS IN PHILADELPHIA, PA.!

President Jack Gose, APWU of Florida State Retiree Chapter and elected State Delegate of APWU of Florida, puts his arm around Benjamin Franklin, the Founding Father of the U.S. Postal Service over 200 years ago, in the Grand Hall of the Pennsylvania Convention Center, Philadelphia, PA. on COPA Celebration night, Tue., Aug. 15, 2006 at the National American Postal Workers Union Biennial Convention from Aug.11-19, 2006. Jack also talked to Thomas Jefferson, and had loads of fun being the first in line to eat one of the famous Philly Cheese Steaks.

RETIREES ACHIEVE GOALS AT NATIONAL APWU CONVENTION, INCLUDING ADEQUATE FUNDING FOR STATE RETIREE CHAPTERS

Constitutional Resolution No. 2
[Art.16, Section(I) ] on Adequate Funding for State Retiree Chapters which was submitted by APWU of Florida was overwhelmingly adopted by the 2803 voting delegates at the 18th Biennial National APWU Convention in Philadelphia, PA on Wed., August 16, 2006. The original amendment written by Jack Gose, President, APWU of Florida State Retiree Chapter for the 2006 APWU of Florida State Retiree Chapter Convention delegates reads, “State Retiree Chapters shall receive twenty percent (20%) of the National Per Capita per Retired Member in that state, once fifty percent (50%) or more of the state retiree membership has been organized and chartered into Local Retiree Chapters by the National APWU.” Prior to this change, the four (4) State Retiree Chapters currently chartered, Florida, Ohio, Michigan, and California had a dwindling amount of funds to work with, once 50 % or more of the retiree membership were organized into Local Retiree Chapters.

This change to the National Constitution would encourage the formation of newer chapters, which would be in the interest of all retirees, and would provide needed and adequate funding for state chapters according to Linda Turney, Chairperson, Constitution Committee, and APWU President of Illinois State. Resolution No. 4 [Article 20] which was submitted by Ohio State on Membership in State Organizations also was adopted which states, “All Locals and area locals will be members of their APWU state organization under the criteria established by the respective state constitution.” It requires that large locals assist MALs (Members-at-Large) and the smaller locals that otherwise would not have representation or a voice in the organization.

The elected Delegates assembled on the floor of the Philadelphia Convention City Center came from 407 locals, 50 states, Guam, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands, 84 National APWU officers and four (4) Retiree Regional Delegates. The Assembly approved an amendment Resolution No. 6 [Article 3, Section 4 (d)] submitted by Pennsylvania State, “That effective immediately that retirees who pay full dues to the national and local state organizations shall be permitted to vote during contract ratification.” The Constitution Committee recommended non-concurrence, stating the outcome of contract negotiations does not directly affect retirees. However, the Delegates voted for the amendment as those Retirees have decided to remain active within their local or state organizations.

APWU of Florida State Retiree Chapter Executive Board delegates Mario Miceli, Dave Bernstein, and Jack Gose attended many scheduled events in Philadelphia during the week of August 12-19, 2006 and represented the interests of over 3,000 Retiree Chapter dues paying members in the State of Florida: Retiree and Clerk Conferences on Sat. and Sun., Political briefing and APWU financing on Sat. night, Congressional speakers and Ice Breaker on Sun. night, daily Atlanta Region 4-state Caucus from 8:30 am to 10 am, Accident Benefit Association Convention on Mon. night, daily main Convention Business sessions 10 am-4 pm Mon. thru Fri., COPA night activities on Tue. night, APWU Rally against Post Office Consolidation of Services and Delayed Mail with 3,000 blue shirted APWU brothers and sisters marching around Philly Post Office, Parade of States on Thur. night, and Retirement and Legislative workshops on Sat., Aug. 19.

While in Philly, I was surprised to be given the APWU Retiree of Year award by Douglas C. Holbrook, Retirees Director, before 60 Retirees in attendance at the Biennial Retiree Conference inside meeting room on 3rd level. The inscription on the statue recognizes my involvement in National APWU Retirees Dept., APWU of Florida State Chapter, and Florida Suncoast Retiree Chapter, AFL-CIO during 2006, with the signature of Bill Burrus, APWU President. Wallace Baldwin, Atlanta Metro AL, GA also received a similar award for his contributions to Retiree activities. Many former National Officers were present at this meeting, including former Industrial Relations Dir. John Richards from Pittsburgh, Pa., former Exec. Vice President Dave Johnson, and Retiree Director John R. Smith from Dayton, Ohio.

FREE RETIREE CHAPTER LUNCHEON AT HOLIDAY INN - FORT MYERS

An APWU of Florida State Retiree Chapter FREE luncheon will be given to each Retiree Chapter member paying APWU Retiree union dues $24.00 year to the National APWU Retirees Dept. and one guest, limit of two per family attending the Retirees Luncheon to be held at the Holiday Inn Select Restaurant, 13051 Bell Tower Drive, Ft. Myers, FL 33907 from 12 NOON to 1:15 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2006. The APWU of Florida Spring Seminar begins on Thurs., Oct. 26 thru Sat., Oct. 28, 2006 at the same Hotel where the semi-annual conclave is to be held for educational classes arranged by Pete Trunzo, Education Director, for active and retiree APWU members.

Retiree Happy folders chock full of interesting information will be distributed to all those attending, and everyone is invited! Up to five (5) $25.00 Cash Door Prizes will be awarded to the first five APWU of Florida State Retiree Chapter members signing in and attending the Retirees Luncheon. The National APWU Retirees Dept. has 38,927 members and the Natl. APWU member list has 482 Full Dues Retiree members, 224,589 DCO members, 257 active Cash Pay members, 21,000 Associate Active Federal and Non-Postal members, 531 HCR & MTESC members on DCO, 4,185 Letter Carriers, Mailhandlers, Rural Carriers, Supervisors, and Postmaster members, and 1,365 new 1187s not yet processed thru USPS payroll system, or a grand total of 291,336 APWU dues paying members according to Frank Romero, Director of Organization. (May 18, 2006)

An APWU of Florida State Retiree Chapter Executive Board meeting will be held in the Holiday Inn Restaurant Private Dining Area (PDR) following the Luncheon and everyone is invited to listen and participate in the discussion on motions brought before the APWU of Florida State Retiree Chapter Executive Board. We will be planning on sending Retiree delegates to the National APWU Retirees Dept. Conference, to be held in Las Vegas in 2007 in conjunction with the other Craft Conferences.


2006 NATIONAL ALLIANCE FOR RETIRED AMERICANS CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION, WASH., D.C.!

Jack Gose, President, and Dave Bernstein, Legislative Director, APWU of Florida State Retiree Chapter, American Postal Workers Union, AFL-CIO, join 600 other Retiree Delegate activists from all over the United States in the Park below Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C. to hear Nancy Pelosi dressed in a white suit at the dais, future Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, and 25 other Congress members on the podium, encourage the National Alliance for Retired Americans demonstrators attending on Thur., Sept. 7, 2006 to keep fighting to oppose the efforts of the Bush Administration and Right Wing Conservatives of all parties for privatization of Social Security, Medicare, Prescription Drugs, and the U.S. Postal Service. After the rally concluded on a beautiful sunny day, hundreds of Delegates including thirty (30) from the Florida Alliance for Retired Americans walked up the Hill to keep their appointments with their Representatives and Senators! Jack and Dave were two of only three APWU members from the entire 50 states registered for the 4-day conclave in the Hilton Hotel, 1919 Connecticut Av. NW, Washington, D.C.
RETIREE CHAPTER SENDS 3 DELEGATES TO NATIONAL ALLIANCE FOR RETIRED AMERICANS CONVENTION IN WASHINGTON, D.C. SEPT. 5-8, 2006

The APWU of Florida State Retiree Chapter Executive Board meeting in Gainesville, FL on March 29, 2006 authorized roundtrip travel with vouched expenses paid from APWU of Florida State Retiree Chapter funds for up to three (3) Retiree Delegates to attend the Constitutional Convention of the National Alliance for Retired Americans (NARA) in Washington, D.C. and lobby our Congress on Capitol Hill on Retiree, Senior, and Postal Reform issues. The APWU Delegates are President Jack Gose, Secretary-Treasurer Mario Miceli, and Legislative Director Dave Bernstein who will represent 3,000 APWU Retirees in the State of Florida who pay $24.00 year union dues to the National APWU Retirees Department. The State Retiree Chapter pays full membership dues to the Florida Alliance for Retired Americans, Inc., a 501 C (3) charitable and educational organization.

The Convention is to be held Tuesday, September 5 thru Friday, Sept. 8, 2006 at the Hilton Washington and Towers Union Hotel, 1919 Connecticut Ave., NW, Washington, D.C. 20009. The Hilton is located near DuPont Circle and Embassy Row. Hotel room rates are $146.00 night plus 14.5 % taxes, and are guaranteed until July 20, 2006. Check-in time is 3 pm, and check-out time is 12 noon. Hotel reservations should be made by calling the Hilton Washington and Towers directly toll-free at 1-888-324-4586. I have attended the first annual NARA National Legislative Conferences held in Washington, D.C. in 2002, 2003 and 2005, and the NARA Southern Region Leadership Conference held in Jacksonville, FL in 2004. This is every active and retired Postal Worker’s opportunity to step up to the plate, and become active in legislative lobbying at the highest levels!

The Conference registration early bird fee is $80.00, if received by July 20, 2006. After that date, the registration fee is $95.00. A Banquet featuring a noted personality is set for Thurs., Sept. 7 at 6 pm. Banquet tickets are $70.00 person and should be ordered with the registration form. Tickets will be issued on a first come, first serve basis. You will receive your tickets when you arrive at the Conference. 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 3 pm on Tues., Sept. 5, and the last event will conclude by 3 pm on Fri., Sept. 8, 2005. You will be in Washington, D.C. only 3 nights! NARA President and Secretary-Treasurer National elections are one of the scheduled events. The Alliance has grown to over 3.2 million members in 26 chartered states since formed by the National AFL-CIO in 2001, and the Florida Alliance for Retired Americans (FLARA) has increased to over 203,000 dues paying members in the State of Florida from 22 different international unions and over 90 community based groups since 2002 being the 2nd state to be chartered by NARA, a 501 C (4) organization which is issues oriented.

The National Alliance’s aims are to mobilize retired union members and other activists in a grassroots movement advocating a progressive political and social agenda. One of the purposes of the Alliance is to Fight for Retirement Security by educating our members about government policies affecting Retirement Security. The major focus of the speakers, workshops, and training sessions will be on our work growing State Alliances that educate, and Lobby Day in Washington will highlight the mid-term 2006 Election year meetings. Retirees will not forget the Election of 2004 and will battle against Social Security, Medicare, and Postal Service privatization efforts.

Jack Gose as 2nd Vice President of FLARA cast a ballot for FLARA representing over 200,000 FLARA members for the creation of NEW ALLIANCE NEW STRENGTH AFL-CIO State Body and Central Labor Councils organizations at the Florida AFL-CIO COPE Endorsing Convention held at the Wyndham Westshore Hotel in Tampa, FL on May 21, 2006. Legislation and Political Action Should Be at the Top of Everyone’s List!

If you need more information, phone Jack Gose at 727-343-2998 or E-mail
jak.gose@excite.com for a prompt reply. Hope to see you in Washington Sep. 5-8, 2006!

FLARA EB & LEGISLATIVE CONFERENCE TO BE IN ST. PETE BCH SEPT. 10-11

Tony Fransetta, President, Florida Alliance for Retired Americans (FLARA), has announced a quarterly Executive Board meeting and FLARA Legislative Conference to be held in St. Petersburg Beach, FL. on Monday, Sept. 11, 2006 at the Dolphin Beach Resort, 4900 Gulf Blvd, St. Petersburg Beach, FL 33706. Directions to the hotel from I-275 are to use Bayway Exit to 34th Ave (Don Cesar Hotel) and make a right turn to go north on Gulf Blvd, turn left at the hotel on left hand side of roadway on shores of the Gulf of Mexico.

The conclave has been called to discuss and layout plans for action in the State of Florida and in the Fall/Winter session of Congress. The meetings will be held on Monday, Sept. 11, 2006 and will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. with a break for lunch from 12 noon to 1 p.m. provided by FLARA. Many invited guests and well-known political figures will speak. Go online to
www.flara.org to see our history!

All FLARA Executive Board members, Club and individual members including 3000 APWU of Florida State Retiree Chapter members, and invited family/guests are welcome at this exciting gathering to foster support for the important issues that face Florida Union active members, retirees, and seniors. Contact FLARA in West Palm Beach area at 1-561-792-8799 if you are interested or have any questions or comments. Phone Jack Gose, FLARA 2nd Vice President, at 727-343-2998 for more information!

Dolphin Beach Resort standard room rate is $85.00, plus 12 % taxes per night, for FLARA members and guests. Standard room has two double beds, refrigerator, microwave, coffee maker, and house up to four people. A Publix Supermarket is close in a shopping mall across the Boulevard. Call the Dolphin Beach Resort at 1-800-237-8916 to make room reservations, and ask for the FLARA special group rate. You are to arrive on Sunday, Sept. 10, 2006 and check in at the hotel after 4 pm and checkout time is 11 am on Monday, Sept. 11, 2006. All roads lead to St. Pete Beach for FLARA/APWU Retiree Actions now. Join us in real APWU Retiree Solidarity as We Continue to Fight for all of our Future!

APWU OF FLORIDA STATE RETIREES CHAPTER FREE LUNCHEON SET FOR HOLIDAY INN SELECT RESTAURANT IN FT. MYERS, FL ON OCT. 25, 2006

An APWU of Florida State Retiree Chapter FREE luncheon for each Retiree Chapter member paying Retiree union dues to the National APWU Retirees Dept. of $24.00 year and one guest, limit of two per family, attending the Retirees Luncheon to be held at the Holiday Inn Select Restaurant, 13051 Bell Tower Drive, Ft. Myers, FL 33907 from 12 NOON to 1:15 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2006, the day before the APWU of Florida Spring Seminar begins on Thurs., Oct. 26 thru Sat., Oct. 28, 2006 at the same Hotel where the semi-annual conclave is held for educational classes for active and retiree APWU members.

Retiree Happy folders will be distributed to all those attending, and everyone is invited! Up to five (5) $25.00 Cash Door Prizes will be awarded to the first five APWU of Florida State Retiree Chapter members signing in and attending the Retirees Luncheon.

An APWU of Florida State Retiree Chapter Executive Board meeting will be held in the Restaurant Private Dining Area (PDR) following the Luncheon and everyone is invited to listen and participate in the discussion on motions brought before the Executive Board. The Holiday Inn Select Hotel is only 15 minutes from the beaches of Sanibel and Captiva Island. The Hotel telephone number is 239-482-2900, and APWU of Florida special group room rates are published elsewhere in the Florida Postal Worker. See Ya in Fort Myers, Baby! We Love You!

CONGRATULATIONS TO TAMPA AREA LOCAL RETIREE CHAPTER JOINING FLORIDA ALLIANCE FOR RETIRED AMERICANS AT FLARA CONVENTION HELD AT HILTON HOTEL IN ALTAMONTE SPRINGS, FL JUNE 5-6, 2006!



2006 APWU OF FLORIDA STATE RETIREE CHAPTER CONVENTION IN DAYTONA BEACH, FL.!

Douglas Cowan Holbrook, National APWU Retirees Department Director, Washington, D.C. Headquarters, swears in the newly elected Executive Board members of the APWU of Florida State Retiree Chapter, APWU, AFL-CIO for a 2-year term of office in the Plaza Ocean Club Hotel & Resort, 640 N. Atlantic Av., Daytona Beach, FL 32118 on Wed., May 10, 2006. The six (6) elected Officers receiving the oath of obligation are shown from left to right, Charlie Redd from Cocoa, Trustee; Valentine Serpico from Ft. Lauderdale, Vice President; Dave Bernstein from Tampa, Legislative Director; Ruth Wood from New Smyrna Beach, standing in for Pedro Torres of Miami, Trustee; Jack Gose from South Pasadena, President; and Mario Miceli from Clearwater, FL., Secretary-Treasurer. (Photo taken with a Kodak 800 speed Flash camera)
3RD BIENNIAL STATE RETIREE CHAPTER DAYTONA BEACH CONVENTION HIGHLIGHTS!

Twenty (20) Retiree Chapter officers and members, active officers and members, Auxiliary officers and members, and family guests attended our 3rd Biennial APWU of Florida State Retiree Executive Board Meeting and Luncheon held at the Plaza Resort and Spa and/or State Retiree Convention at the Plaza Ocean Club Hotel in Daytona Beach, Fl. on Wed., May 10, 2006. We prepared over 100 Retiree Happy Folders for the Retirees Convention and regular APWU of Florida Convention Delegates, Officers, and Families which were distributed during the twin conclaves. The folders were chock full of APWU history from our founding and fantastic, innovative ideas for the future.

The National AFL-CIO and National Alliance for Retired Americans Office were generous in providing complimentary copies of the Congressional Voting Records for 2005 and Legislative Priority Issues for 2006 booklets for distribution to all who attended the Retirees Convention and the regular APWU of Florida Convention in Daytona Beach.

The entire State Retiree Chapter Executive Board of six (6) Chapter members were unopposed in the State Chapter elections and were unanimously elected to serve a two year (2) term of office 2006-2008. Ruth B. Wood was appointed as Chairperson of the Nominations and Elections Committee. Newly elected Board members, Jack Gose, President, Valentine Serpico, Vice-President, Mario Miceli, Secretary-Treasurer, Dave Bernstein, Legislative Director, Charlie Redd, Trustee, and Pedro Torres, Trustee were administered the APWU Oath of Office by Douglas Cowan Holbrook, National APWU Retirees Department Director from Washington, D.C. Douglas C. Holbrook was our main invited guest speaker at the luncheon and the Retiree Convention, and he answered many questions from those in attendance concerning a wide range of retiree issues for the active, retiree, and family members.

Many cash door prizes, APWU Parade of States pin and button collectible prizes, and APWU of Florida brief cases were given to nine (9) lucky winners present at the luncheon. Retiree Convention COPA 50/50 total collections amounted to $80.00 with seven (7) Retirees in attendance or an average of $11.43 per Retiree, with our thanks to Dave Bernstein, newly elected Legislative Director for the parent APWU of Florida active organization, who conducted the ticket sales. Retiree resolutions and Constitution and By-Laws changes were discussed, debated, and adopted unanimously. They were also adopted by the APWU of Florida regular Convention Delegates and now go on to the National APWU to be considered in Philadelphia, PA at the National APWU Retirees Conference and regular National APWU Convention in August, 2006.

We introduced a COPA Challenge by contributing $35.00 in separate water glasses at the podium on Saturday, the final day of the regular Convention which brought our total COPA collections to over $3,000. during 4 days of Conventions, Thanks to Everyone!

J.C. Wise, Retiree Chapter member from Tampa Area Local, was appointed to the position of Health Plan Director of the APWU of Florida State Retiree Chapter. J.C. will work under the direction of the Chapter President and report on Federal Employee Health Benefit Plans including APWU and Tri Care Health Plan issues. He will give reports at APWU seminars, conventions, and meetings he attends, and he is encouraged to write articles in APWU newsletters and the media on matters of interest to APWU Retiree Chapter members and their families.

Beth Cramer, Retiree Chapter member from Southwest Florida Area Local, was reappointed to the position of Benefits Director of the APWU of Florida State Retiree Chapter, and we expect to see and hear a lot from Beth at the National APWU Convention floor microphones in Philadelphia. The offices of Health Plan Director and Benefits Director will become elected positions at the 2008 Biennial State Retiree Chapter Convention by actions taken by the Chapter Delegates in Daytona Beach.

Tony Fransetta, President, Florida Alliance for Retired Americans (FLARA) which has over 220,000 dues paying members in the State of Florida (equal to our National APWU membership) was one of our invited guest speakers at the Chapter EB meeting, luncheon, and Convention. A motion was passed unanimously to affiliate the entire statewide APWU of Florida Retiree Chapter $24.00 year membership residing in the State of Florida who pay union dues to the National APWU Retirees Department, currently about 3,000 members in zip codes 320 thru 349, with the Florida Alliance for Retired Americans (FLARA) by paying annual dues in advance at 25 cents per capita, per member, per year from APWU of Florida State Retiree Chapter funds.

One of the State Retiree Chapter’s paramount goals is to educate 15,000 APWU of Florida members and their families on electoral reform, and encourage the participation and exercise of our voting rights as Americans in all local, city, county, state, regional, and national elections of officials, stressing the importance of VOTING BY ABSENTEE BALLOT to MAKE YOUR VOTE COUNT in the results.

Thanks to the APWU of Florida State Retiree Chapter Executive Board Officers, Delegates, and Family guests for the most wonderful expressions of unity and solidarity we have ever seen at any APWU Retiree and active Convention. It was nice dining and/or rooming with former State Presidents Mario Miceli and Charlie Redd, former Daytona Beach Area Local President Joe Mazzarelli, Val Serpico from Fort Lauderdale, Dave Bernstein, Frank and Christine Mizurek, and Ruth B. Wood. Congratulations to all the newly elected Officers and National Delegates of the APWU of Florida, and State Retiree Chapter. We wish to thank the Convention Delegates in Daytona Beach for electing this Young Warrior of 40 years dedication and commitment to the APWU of Florida rank and file membership as State Delegate to the 18th Biennial APWU Convention! We love you and Hope to see you in Philadelphia in August, 2006!

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

2006 FLORIDA ALLIANCE FOR RETIRED AMERICANS CONVENTION IN ALTAMONTE SPRINGS, FL.!

FLARA ANNUAL CONVENTION TO BE HELD IN
ALTAMONTE SPRINGS, FL. ON JUNE 4-6, 2006!

It is a pleasure to invite all 3000 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) 2006 Annual Convention and Quarterly Board of Directors meeting to be held on Sunday, June 4 thru Tuesday, June 6, 2006 at the HILTON ORLANDO HOTEL, 350 S. North Lake Boulevard, Altamonte Springs, FL 32701. Your departure check-out date is on Wednesday, June 7, 2006. The Hilton Orlando Hotel room rate for FLARA members is $85.00 per night for single or double room, plus 10 % taxes. When making your reservations, please call toll-free 1-800-678-4380 and ask for the FLARA special group rate.

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 Yvonne Garrity, Executive Director, at the FLARA office in Wellington, Fl. by phone at 561-792-8799 to register and receive Convention materials and an updated agenda. Many well known political and union leaders are invited to attend this annual event. Resolutions will be offered to oppose the Privatization of the U.S. Postal Service, Retirement benefits, and the Social Security Program entitlements for all Americans. Go to
www.flara.org for more info about FLARA.

At this Convention, in addition to the election of Officers and Board Members, any proposed changes to the FLARA Constitution and By-Laws will be discussed and voted upon by the convention body. APWU is one of 22 unions affiliated with FLARA! If you have any questions, ask to speak with Tony Fransetta, President, FLARA, by phone at 561-792-8799. Contact APWU of Florida State Retiree Chapter President Jack Gose at 727-343-2998 or E-mail: jak.gose@excite.com for more information about this important annual event you are invited to attend!

TAMPA AREA LOCAL ORGANIZE APWU RETIREE CHAPTER

Dave Bernstein, Tampa Area Local APWU #259, was appointed President of the newly created Tampa Area Local Retiree Chapter at an organizational meeting of APWU Retirees living in Tampa, FL zip codes 335 and 336 on Wed., March 22, 2006 by President Richard Phillips. Douglas C. Holbrook, Natl. APWU Retiree Director, who heads up the Retirees Dept. in Washington, D.C. comprised of 40,000 + APWU Retiree members paying $24.00 year or $2.00 month union dues from their annuity check flew down to help get the Chapter started, answering many questions. He took back a list of interim Chapter officer’s names and a Constitution & By-Laws to get the ball rolling for the National APWU to grant a founding Charter to the Tampa Area Local Retiree Chapter.

Florida State now has four (4) APWU Retiree Chapters, Suncoast Area Local, Broward County Area Local, Miami Area Local, and Tampa Area Local. There are currently thirty-four (34) Local Chapters with Charters and four (4) State Chapters, Ohio, Florida, Michigan, and California.

USPS RETIREMENT COUNSELING HELP MOVED TO GREENSBORO

Effective January 30, 2006 USPS Benefits, Retirements, and Separations processes began moving from local Personnel Offices in Florida to the new Human Resources Shared Service Center (HRSSC) in Greensboro, N.C. at 1-877-477-3273, Option 5 to select an info packet. For personalized assistance, employees can speak to an experienced postal representative during normal business hours 7 am to 8:30 pm, Monday thru Friday. You must have your employee ID number on your earnings statement and your USPS PIN available when calling for benefits, retirements, and separations information.

If you are planning to retire in the near future, it is recommended that you request the paperwork that you need three (3) months in advance of the date you plan to retire. After you receive your retirement packet, you should review the paperwork before making any decisions. If you are married, I suggest you review it with your spouse. Write down or make notes on anything you have a question about. You should then call the above telephone number and speak with a Postal Service Human Resources Specialist to answer your questions. Make certain that you document who you spoke with, the date and time, and what advice you were given. When you call back again, you should ask for the same person to speak with, if possible. Also ask what are their work hours, and what is the best time to call them for follow-up queries.

If after you speak with the HR rep, you are satisfied, you may complete the forms and return them to HR Shared Service Center in Greensboro, N.C. I suggest you make copies of the forms you complete in the event the documents are lost. There will be no local assistance available to those matters that are processed by Shared Services. When you call up to ask questions on retirement, you should keep the same counselor until your forms are processed. You can start requesting information regarding your retirement at least 3 years prior to your eligibility. If after you retire, you have a problem you must contact the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). The Florida District Office or Shared Services Center will not be able to assist you.

Retirement counseling is only done by telephone. You cannot file an application via computer. Reasonable time will be granted on-the-clock upon request. If there are problems, Local Presidents should contact the District. I called the toll-free number twice and spoke with two different Counselors, and I found out they are USPS employees and if they don’t know the answer to your questions, the HR Counselor will get back to you within 24 hours. All of the USPS Personnel Offices Retirement Counseling services in the Nation are expected to be transferred to Greensboro, N.C. by the end of the Postal Fiscal Year, September 30, 2006.

If you have more questions, call the National APWU Retirees Dept. in Washington, D.C. 202-842-8584 and ask to speak with Retirees Director Douglas C. Holbrook 9am to 4 pm, Monday thru Friday, or call toll-free at 877-279-8669 (877-APWU-NOW) to get a recorded message 24/7, leave your name and phone number for a return call back.

METHICILLIN-RESISTANT STAPHYLOCOCCUS AUREUS (MRSA)

MRSA (pronounced mer-sah) is a strain of bacterium that has developed antibiotic resistance to all penicillins, including methicillin and other antibiotics. It was first discovered in UK in 1961 and is now widespread all over the world, particularly in hospitals, nursing homes, skilled nursing facilities, and assisted living units where it is commonly termed a SUPERBUG. Staph. Aureus most commonly colonizes the nostrils, although the respiratory tract, open wounds, intravenous catheters, and urinary tract are also potential sites for infection. Vancomycin and teicoplanin are antibiotics used to treat MRSA infections. New strains of MRSA have been found showing resistance to even these last resort drugs. The infection may be transmitted by touching another person skin or clothes, breathing thru the air currents, and hand washing alone would save the lives of 30,000 patients yearly from nosocomial infections per the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, GA. EVERYONE SHOULD WASH UP!

I encountered the rapidly spreading problem when I visited an old friend in the Hospital and later in a skilled Nursing facility, when the patient was placed alone in a room under ISOLATION and no one, Doctor, Nurse, Family, or Visitor was allowed in to see the patient unless they wore a gown covering their whole body, plastic gloves over hands, and a mask covering nose and mouth to keep from spreading the infection. Infectious Disease Doctors have been assigned to all Hospitals to monitor the spread of MRSA from patient to staff member or another patient! Skin contacts in locker rooms, gyms, exercise spas have led to an outbreak of MRSA among healthy populations, and it is feared that there will be a spread of the MRSA Superbug to the Community at Large, even children in school and on playgrounds. Pneumonia is often a byproduct threatening the lives of young and older humans. Netherlands has reported the transmission of MRSA bacteria from pigs to humans during the summer of 2005! STAY ALERT!

RETIREE WEBSITE ARCHIVE