“This is no time to be complacent”
When CSEA retirees move to Florida after their careers, they bring with them their pensions, health care and retirement benefits that allow them to have a dignified retirement.
At recent retiree local meetings in Florida, our members pledged to not only fight for retirement security for all public employees, but to stand strong with future retirees who are facing challenges.
“We’re at a tough time for retirees,” CSEA President Danny Donohue said. “While we need to continue to protect our own pensions and benefits, we also need to help protect our brothers and sisters who provide public services [in Florida]and are paid little money. Working people everywhere deserve respect. It’s up to us to make the change.”
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in early 2019 that while 24 percent of all workers in New York State are represented by unions, only 6.8 percent of all workers in Florida have union representation.
While CSEA retirees in Florida know they are facing challenges, they are still ready to fight.
“This is a very serious time for unions,” said Florida State Retirees North Local 952 1st Vice President Joan Reinhart said. “This is no time to be complacent. Make calls and write letters [to elected officials]and attend rallies. You may be retired, but you are a strong voting bloc. We have to do what we can.”
Reinhart urged meeting attendees to reach out to other union members.
“We all have friends who are union members, and they may say to you, ‘they can’t touch me because I’m retired,’” Reinhart said. “We need to tell these people to wake up, because they can touch us.”
Meeting attendees also heard from Florida state legislators who are standing up for retirees and working people.
Florida State Rep. Amy Mercado, who represents the Orlando area, spoke about how union-negotiated benefits made a difference in the life of a relative who has been battling a serious illness for years.
“Thanks to a union, she is still alive and fighting,” Mercado said.
Florida State Rep. Tina Scott Polsky, who represents the Palm Beach area, decided to get involved in politics to make positive change.
“Though you are retired, it’s great to see you working for retirees and working people,” she said.
In addition to learning more about challenges facing our union, retiree members got important updates on their health insurance, learned about the My CSEA App (see page 8), learned about member-only benefits through a lively round of “Jeopardy” and even got to strike a pose through our CSEA Selfie Station.