FROM THE DESK OF DAVID BERNSTEIN,
President, State of Florida Retirees
The State of Florida Retiree Fall Seminar will be held as a one day seminar on Tuesday, August 29th at the Tampa Hilton located at 2225 N. Lois Ave., Tampa Florida. Meeting will start at 9:30 am. We have prepared an interesting progream with some informative speakers. As usual, we will be providing a complimentary lunch for all retiree's (and up to one guest) in attendance at the morning session. After lunch you are all invited to attend the Board Meeting.
Come and support your State Retiree Chapter...each local chapter should be sending at least one or two members to each conference/seminar..etc. Chapters should be allocating a portion of their monies for such activities. MAL's (members at large are always welcome...and if you do not have a local Retiree Chapter in your area and you have at least 10 retirees who are interested in starting a chapter...I can help you with that. We need to get more “young blood” involved. We are here to preserve your benefits and therefor work hard, side by side with our active “brothers and sisters”. But as retirees, its not all work...we do have some “playtime”. And its a good way to renew old friendships and make some new ones. Hope you can make plans to be there!
The following article was written by Corliss Ball, your Retiree Legislative Director.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
In my last article, I wrote on H.R. Bill 756- The Postal Service Reform Act of 2017. Last month, the Congressional Budget Office published their report that estimated the bill would produce a savings of $6.2 billion dollars over the next 10 years. The bill has been sent to the Ways and Means committee and the Energy and Commerce committee of the House of Representatives. If both committees approve the bill, it will then go before the entire House of Representatives for approval, then onto the Senate.
Another bill of interest is S.771 - Improving Access to Affordable Prescription Drugs Act. This bill will provide drug rebates for persons with low income, allow Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices, and legalize the importing of affordable prescription drugs from Canada to the U.S.
President Bernstein and I attended the June convention of the Florida Alliance for Retired Americans (FLARA) in Orlando. Two of the main topics were Medicare and Social Security. On July 11th FLARA President Bill Sauers made a visit to the Tampa area to discuss strategy and organize office visit teams.
On Monday, July 31st, the day after the anniversary for Medicare and again on Monday, August 14th, the anniversary for Social Security, teams from many unions all over the state will be taking cakes to the offices of congressional representatives at 11:00 A.M. to encourage them to support or continue to support Medicare and Social Security.
Brothers and sisters, active and retired, we need your help in this fight and we need it NOW!!! Sooner or later, all of you will become retirees. Please contact your congressman and urge them to support these programs that your hard earned money is being contributed and also to support bills H.R. 756 and S. 771. Every call, e-mail, and visit is documented.
In Union Solidarity,
For the Mailbag News June, 2017
by David Bernstein – President Tampa Area Local 259 Retirees, President State of Florida APWU Retirees & Legislative Director of Tampa Area Local 259
THE “AFFORDABLE CARE ACT”...be thankful that we are fortunate enough to have our Federal Health Benefits...however I'm sure that there are other members in your families (sisters, brothers, adult children, etc. who are not as fortunate. They may have “pre-existing conditions” that made it almost impossible to get decent health care before “Obama Care”. Just remember, come election time who voted to cancel those benefits that took so long to secure. Here in Florida, every Republican U. S. House of Representative voted to cancel these important benefits...with the exception of one “stand up Rep”....Llena Ros-Lehtinen of District 27 in Miami, It should also be noted that every Florida Democrat stood firm to protect those benefits. The Bill at this writing is being re-written in the Senate...Let us hope that it comes out giving our friends and families decent health benefits that are affordable...and let us remember those who tried to take them away...ITS TIME TO VOTE THEM OUT OF OFFICE AS SOON AS POSSIBLE!
WHAT ARE “HOUSE RESOLUTIONS”?? A “resolution”, even if passed by the “body” cannot become LAW. It only expresses the “sense of the House”...however it is important to let our Representatives know our feelings...at this time there are THREE (3) House Resolutions that your APWU is supporting and would appreciate your calling toll free to 1-866-220-0044 and ask your House of Representative to “SUPPORT”...they are H.Res 15 (which expresses their desire for the U.S. Postal Service to maintain 6-day service); H.Res. 28 (which expresses their desire that the U. S. Postal Service Continue Door-to-Door delivery for businesses and residential customers; and H. Res. 31 (which expresses their desire to have the U.S. Postal Service restore their service standards to what it was as of July 1, 2012;
BILLS on the other hand, when passed, becomes the LAW OF THE LAND! The following are Two (2) House Bills and Two (2) Senate Bills that really need your support. H.R. 1205 would repeal both the Government Pension Offset (GPO) and the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP); H.R. 1251 would require Social Security & Many federal retirement programs to use the Consumer Price Index for the Elderly (CPI-E) to calculate cost-of-living adjustments in retirement benefits. S. 873 eases some of the rules regarding your TSP accounts...such as eliminating the withdrawal election deadline giving you more flexibility in your handling of your account;...and last but not least S. 771 which would improve access to the “Affordable Prescription Drug Act, which would legalize the importation of affordable prescription drugs from Canada, allow Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices, increase competition by preserving access to affordable generics, and require drug manufacturers to provide drug rebates for drugs dispensed to low-income individuals.
SPEAKING OF THE THRIFT SAVINGS PLAN, those of you who have one, be aware that there is a NEW Form TSP-3 “Designation of Beneficiary...that came out May 2017. It might be to your advantage to up-date your account.
MORE...”DID YOU KNOW”....Flag Day was first celebrated on June14, 1889, in a public school in Fredonia, Wis. The teacher thought that the pupils should celebrate the 112th anniversary of the official adoption of the “Stars and Stripes”. The idea of a birthday for the flag caught the attention of the public, and the idea spread. By 1891 there was a celebration at the Betsy Ross house in Philadelphia, and soon laws were being passed in many states that asked that the flag be flown on all public buildings. Finally, after nearly 60 years, Flag day became official when President Harry Truman signed the Act of Congress that made June 14 National Flag Day.