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Organizing Retirees to Build Union Capacity

WHEREAS: 

            Each day over 10,000 baby boomers will turn 65, a pattern that will continue until 2030. More than half of AFSCME’s working members may retire in the next 10 years; and

WHEREAS: 

            AFSCME retirees helped build our union and negotiated many of the workplace benefits that current members enjoy.  The loss of these retiree members and activists from our ranks could seriously weaken our union and the labor movement; and

WHEREAS:

            Many retiree members have the time, energy and union commitment to be activists in AFSCME’s political action and organizing campaigns. They can help maintain collective bargaining rights and the right to retire with dignity. AFSCME retiree members supported the PEOPLE program for years as working members and will continue to do so as retiree members; and 

WHEREAS:

            In 1980 AFSCME had the foresight to create the AFSCME Retiree program, which has organized nearly 250,000 dues-paying members in 43 chapters from coast to coast and in Alaska and Hawaii.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED: 

            That AFSCME councils, locals and retiree chapters will work together to identify officers, stewards, activists, volunteer member organizers (VMOs) and other members who are about to retire and encourage them to become active in their local retiree chapters; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED: 

            In those places where no retiree chapters exist, AFSCME councils, locals, and the AFSCME Retirees will work together to form organizing committees and build new chapters and subchapters; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED: 

            That AFSCME councils, locals and retiree chapters will work together to develop resources to build effective retiree organizing campaigns, including access to pension lists, blind mailings, as well as automatic deductions; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED: 

            AFSCME councils, locals and retiree chapters will work together to mobilize their retiree members and leaders by engaging them in legislative and political activities and encouraging full participation in the PEOPLE program; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED:

            AFSCME councils, locals and retiree chapters will work together to build strong state Alliance for Retired Americans (ARA) groups so we can work with other retirees to help in the fight to protect and improve Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and build a comprehensive and sustainable retirement system for all working Americans that guarantees economic security; and  

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED:  

            AFSCME councils, locals and retiree chapters will work together to identify roles for retirees in AFSCME’s VMO program so retirees can participate in organizing.


SUBMITTED BY:     Jeffery Birttnen, President and Delegate

                                    Steve Barrows, Secretary

                                    AFSCME Chapter 5 Retirees United

                                    Minnesota

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