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 IS THE COMPLETE ARTICLE THAT SHOULD HAVE APPEARED IN THE FLORIDA POSTAL WORKER MARCH/APRIL 2017 EDITION
For the Florida Postal Worker –April, 2017
DAVE’S RETIREE’S CORNER: By David Bernstein, President APWU “Jack Gose” State of Florida Retiree Chapter.
THE STATE OF FLORIDA RETIREE SPRING SEMINAR was held as a one day seminar on Tuesday, March 21 at the Hilton Daytona Beach. We had an interesting program which included an Attorney who spoke on various issues including Florida Law and Auto Insurance as well as addressing all these “Legal Commercials” about suing “for taking this drug or using that product”. Judy Beard, our National APWU Legislative and Political Director spoke in length about HR756 and how it will effect Retirees with its mandatory Medicare enrollment. Nancy Olumekor, National APWU Retiree's Director finally made it in after an exasperating experience of almost 20 hours of dealing with the airlines...I think she was flying Delta...but maybe it was United??? She spoke to us at our luncheon. I announced that I will NOT be seeking re-election for the position of President of the Florida State Retirees. The Executive Board met after Lunch with quite a few of our members sitting in. Our next seminar will be held in Tampa Florida on Tuesday, August 29, 2017... at the Tampa Hilton Westshore 2225 N. Lois Ave., Tampa Florida 33607. Seminar begins at 9:30 am...with expected coffee and donuts at 9:00 a.m. in the Hospitality Room. Complimentary lunch for all retiree members...and up to one guest...who attend the morning session. At this seminar we will be voting on which members (other than the Executive Board) that we will be sending to represent the State of Florida at the National Retiree Conference at Ballys in Las Vegas...Oct 2nd thru the 4, 2017 ... MAL's this is a great opportunity for you to get involved. More information to be forthcoming.
FLARA (Florida Alliance of Retired Americans) held its Legislative Conference March 27 & 28th. It was a hectic, no nonsense couple of days starting early Monday with some visitors from the State Legislature who came to meet with us...as well as visitors from the State AFL-CIO who explained what was going on in Tallahassee and what they would like to get accomplished. Tuesday found us at 7am meeting with the State of Florida AFL-CIO at their Tallahassee headquarters where we became part of their Working Family Lobby Corp. Representatives. We fanned out in the Capitol to visit our State Legislators and Senators...where we spoke to either the Legislator or top Aide. My partner, Corliss Ball, and I visited 10 different State Legislators.
The APWU who works in conjunction with the NALC on their “STAMP OUT HUNGER” project which will take place this year on Saturday May 13, 2017 is suggesting that you buy Union non-perishables to fill the bags. Here is a list of possibilities: Soups...Campbell's; College Inn; Healthy Choice, Marie Callender. Drinks...V-8; Gatorade; Arizona Iced Tea; Chef Boyardee brand Products; Tuna Helper; Chicken Helper; Hamburger Helper;Kraft Mac and Cheese; Hunt's tomatoes; Hunt's pizza sauce; Jell-O; Peter Pan Peanut Butter; Welch's Jams and/or Jellies (plastic jars); Lucky Leaf applesauce; Musselman applesauce; Hanover Beans; Honest John canned foods; Del Monte canned Vegetables; New World or San Giorgio Pasta; Cereals: Cheerios, Lucky Charms, Golden Grahams, Kix, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Betty Crocker Variety Bars; Crackers and cookies: Town House, Cheez-it; Keebler; Club; Zesta; Chips Deluxe; Pecan Sandies; Barnum Animal Crackers.
FINAL CLERK CRAFT PAYMENT FOR RETIREES Involved in the 1.6.B Clerk Craft Global Settlement Remedy Agreement is scheduled to be distributed on April 21st. This settlement is mostly involving small offices, between April of 2012 to November of 2015, where Postmasters were doing your work. Retirees/employees no longer working for the Postal Service will have their payment sent to their last employing work office location. Individuals should check at the location where they received their initial check payment. Because former employees are receiving a separate check, there may be a gap of a few days or a week at the most before their check arrives at their former post office. It is important that retirees alert their Postmaster and/or station manager of a pending check arriving in their name. In the event retirees fail to pick up their check, at some point, they will be returned to the USPS HQ Finance/Payroll Dept. If you are unable to pick up your check (if you are due one) there is a form (P S Form 3077) (request to forward Salary Check) form that you can download by going to WWW.APWU.ORG ...go to the top right hand corner where it says “Search” and type in P S Form 3077. You can also go online to determine the amount you are due by going to the same www.apwu.og and enter the “Members Only” tab and follow the prompts for the 56 Million 1.6.B Global Remedy Initial Payout Submitted to the USPS. Follow the process for retirees and/or employees no longer working for the Postal Service.
BE ON GUARD when taking any advice from a financial planners..take everything they say “with a grain of salt”. The Fiduciary Rule that required financial advisers to act in the “Best interest of their Clients” when handling your retirement and investment funds, has been delayed by the Trump administration and its ultimate future is unknown. Conflicts of interest in retirement advice cost America's families an estimated $17 billion a year.
DID YOU KNOW: Pharmaceutical Corporations spent $5.6 BILLION on advertising direct to consumers in 2016 an increase of 9% over the previous year. The increased advertising comes as prescription prices continue to rise and pharmaceutical companies seek to increase volume. Americans pay the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs,...maybe if the Pharmaceuticals didn't spend billions on ads, they could make their products affordable for working and retired people.
REPORT From your State Retiree Legislative Director Corliss Ball...at the spring seminar for the APWU in Daytona, Judy Beard, our National Legislative and Political Director spoke on HR bill 756, the Postal Service Reform Act (formerly known as HB 5714. She also spoke on how they are closely monitoring the issues of Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security in Washington, D.C. The following week, President Dave Bernstein and I went to Tallahassee to attend the Florida Alliance for Retired Americans Legislative Conference. We had visit by several Legislatures...speaking on various State
Legislative topics. For a little variety, Eva Domingez, Legislative Aide with the Alliance for Retired Americans, spoke on a National topic... the success of voting down the replacement to the Affordable Care Act. The replacement had many flaws. The majority of Congress seemed to agree that the Affordable Care Act should be repealed, or at least amended, but not with the proposed replacement. As of this time, President Trump has said that he would listen to new suggestions. Let us hope so. Back to Florida Laws...State Rep. Emily Slosberg asked for support for her bill, HB 69/SB 144 – Primary texting while driving. This bill would make texting while driving a primary offense instead of a secondary one. I think we should all support this bill. People who text while driving are a menace on the road. Please call your State Representative and Senators and urge them to support this bill. The following day we had a breakfast meeting hosted by the Florida AFL-CIO before going to the Capital Building where president Bernstein and I Visited 10 different State Representatives including our newest Rep. In Tampa's District 60, Jackie Toledo...where we asked them for their support on numerous topics, including Medicare, Social Security, and a funding increase for Law Enforcement and Programs under the Department of Elder Affairs that assist the elderly.
Hope everyone had a Healthy and Happy Easter and/or Passover. Wish all you moms and grand-moms a happy Mother's Day.
Yours in Union Solidarity
For the Florida Postal Worker –May/June, 2017
DAVE’S RETIREE’S CORNER: By David Bernstein, President APWU “Jack Gose” State of Florida Retiree Chapter.
IMPORTANT: It has come to our attention that it has not been possible for out entire article to be printed in the Florida Postal Worker...we are therefore asking that everyone start trying to remember to check our State Website...just go to www.APWUFlorida.org/departments/retirees . We will be posting the entire message every month as well as some other items from time to time.
THE IMPORTANCE OF RETIREES...and why active members should be welcoming us! According to the National APWU's Constitution and Bylaws Article 2, Section 12...which states “The APWU shall encourage the formation of local, area local and state, retiree chapters of the Retirees Department in every state and territory of the United States, in order that all dues-paying retirees and their families shall have access to state, area local and local Retirees Department chapters to continue to fight for those issues which affect APWU members, retirees and their families”.
DON'T FALL FOR ANTHER SCAM...the newest one is being contacted by someone who says they can help you collect “Missing Money” due you for a fee. You should be aware that it does not cost you anything to collect “forgotten” moneys from banks, insurance companies, pensions and even back wages. There are billions sitting in government accounts waiting to be claimed...and you can check if any are due you by going on line at www.missingmoney.com. This site collects information from many states (though not all). If you once lived in a state that isn't associated with Missing Money.com (Florida is) it will give you a link to that state's site. All you need to do is fill in your name and your state and select search. The site will come up with a list of names that match your along with addresses associated with the names. It also lists where the money originated from..such as it might say I.R.S. or the name of a bank, etc. The National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators (NAUPA) is committed to helping consumers locate their unclaimed money. Unfortunately, some unscrupulous scammers stole the organization's letterhead and has been sending out bogus letters offering to help find uncollected funds for 25% finders fee...this letter is a FRAUD. The NAUPA does not charge for reuniting rightful owners with their “lost” property.
JUNE 14TH...FLAG DAY! “REMEMBER ME”...Some people call me Old Glory. Others call me the Star Spangled Banner, but whatever they call me, I AM YOUR FLAG! The Flag of the United States of America. However, something has been bothering me, and I thought we might talk it over...because it's about you and me.
I remember some time ago people would line up on both sides of the street to watch the parade, and naturally, I was leading the way, proudly waving in the breeze. When your daddy saw me coming, he immediately removed his hat and placed it against his left shoulder so that his had was directly over his heart...REMEMBER?? And you, I remember you...standing there straight and tall like a soldier. You didn't have a hat, but you were giving the right salute. Remember little sister? Not to be outdone, she was saluting too with her right hand over her heart...REMEMBER??
What happened? I'm still the same old flag. Oh, I have a few more stars since you were a boy and a lot more blood has been shed since those parades of long ago. But now I don't feel as proud as I used to. When I come down your street you just stand there with your hands in your pockets and I may get a small glance before you look away. Then I see the children running around and shouting...they didn't seem to know who I am. I saw one man take his hat off then look around...he didn't see anybody else with their off so he quickly put his back on.
Is it a sin to be patriotic anymore? Have you forgotten what I stand for and where I've been?...Anzio, Guadalcanal, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan. Take a look at the Memorial Honor Rolls sometime. See who never came back in order to keep this Republic free...ONE NATION UNDER GOD...when you salute me, you are actually saluting all of them.
I hope that the next time you see me you will stand straight and tall, placing your right hand over your heart...and I'll know that you REMEMBER!
Yours in Union Solidarity
THE FOLLOWING IS A PARTIAL REPRINT FROM AN ARTICLE WRITTEN BY DAVE FOR THE TAMPA 'MAILBAG NEWS"
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.