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Capital Region 8 Retiree Summer Updates

Hope you all are enjoying a great summer. I know the officers are enjoying a break, but are still doing business, and getting ready for fall and the start up of our retiree meetings.

Our first fall meeting will be on Monday, October 1, 2018 noon check in at Colonie Elks off Rte 155, Latham NY. Our guest speaker will be Greg Amorosi our PEF Legislative Director. Since this is an important election year we have asked Greg to come and speak to members with legislative information as well as any candidate endorsements.
Please email *protected email* or call (518) 785-1900 ext 288 to RSVP by 9/24/2018.

Our November meeting is on Monday November 5, 2018 same time and place. Our guest speaker will be Barry Kaufman of NYSARA. Barry has much knowledge on Social Security, Health Care, and current issues that can affect retiree members as well as many other topics.

Retiree Health Insurance Lawsuit update: here is a note from our PEF counsel: “As you know, on or about Nov 3, 2017, the State Defendants filed a motion for summary judgment, seeking to dismiss our lawsuit (and all the other similar law suits brought by the other Union Retirees) in its entirety, on grounds that our contracts do not contain specific language that guarantee’s retirees are entitled to a specific, fixed percentage premium cost contribution from the State (for the entire duration of their retirement). This type of motion is, basically, where one party claims no key facts are in dispute in the case and that they are entitled to judgment as a matter of law. If the Court were to fully grant the Defendants motion, it would result in a judgment against Plaintiffs and a dismissal of our complaint.

On or about December 20, 2017 we responded with opposing papers explaining, in substance, that our Contracts have always provided the right for Retirees to retain their health insurance (which included the State’s fixed premium cost contribution) in retirement. On or about January 26, 2018 the defendants filed a reply to our opposition papers. The Court has not permitted any further reply (from us) to the Defendant’s reply. Thus, the Defendant’s motion and our opposition are now in the hands of the Court for a decision. Right now we are still waiting for the Courts’ decision…. We do not have a date-certain of when the Court is likely to rule…” No new information is available.

If we get any notice before the October meeting I will send it ou in an email.

JANUS Decision- “the conservative majority on the U.S. Supreme Court turned their backs on workers to side with the wealthy and powerful who have spent hundreds of millions of dollars to attack and defund unions. In today’s decision in the Janus v. AFSCME case, the Court overturned a precedent that for more than 40 years had recognized the ability of unions to collect “fair share” or “agency” fees to compensate the union for bargaining contracts and providing other services.
The corporate and wealthy interests that bankrolled the Janus case know that without unions, workers don’t have a voice to fight for a better life and greater opportunity. It appears that with today’s ruling the anti-union and anti-worker forces think they’ve won. They think we are defeated. They couldn’t be more wrong!”

Statewide Officer Elections- Ballots cast by members of the New York State Public Employees Federation (PEF) for the union’s top leadership positions were counted by the American Arbitration Association in Manhattan. During this triennial election period, PEF members had to decide between three slates, Members’ Voice, New York Union Proud, and Member Empowered Union. Wayne Spence, who ran for a second term as president on the Members’ Voice slate, received 6,346 votes, while Maureen Kellman of New York Union Proud received 2,066 votes and Kevin Hintz of Member Empowered Union received 1,438 votes.

Members elected Kay Wilkie as the next PEF secretary-treasurer. The union has three vice-presidents and the members voted in Sharon DeSilva, Randi DiAntonio, and Adreina Adams, who won a second term as a PEF vice president. Members also voted for three trustees: Christopher Buman, Jeanette Santos, and, Maddie Shannon-Roberts, The new officers were sworn in Wednesday, August 1, 2018, at PEF headquarters in Latham.

Statewide Retiree President Jim Carr has sent a letter to newly elected President Spence with recommendations for PEF retiree members to serve on Committees and will be setting up regular meetings/calls to President Spence to discuss retiree issues that the PEF Retiree Executive Board feels are important to our members.
RETIREE’S Mission Statement- Many of you ask: what is the mission of the retirees. I thought I would share it again with you all:

To provide a venue for social interaction and political activity in furtherance of the well being of the members.
To support this mission, the PEF Retirees will:

Provide necessary, high quality membership benefits at the lowest possible cost;

Identify critical issues on both the federal and state levels that may impact the pension and health care security of the members;

Educate members about critical issues and other issues which will enhance their retirement;

Advocate and lobby on behalf of the members, for pension, health care, and economic security enhancement;

Work for the election of candidates endorsed by PEF and the PEF Retirees and cooperate with the Regional PACs to support local candidates;

Coordinate with other organizations throughout New York State to further the aims of the PEF Retirees.
Your officers will continue to bring speakers and information we feel is of importance to members. We are always willing to take suggestions for speakers into consideration. Please pass your ideas on to us and we will make every effort to try and accommodate them.

COLA Legislation- Senate Bill S3306B and Assembly Bill A6045A would raise the pension COLA amount from the on the first $18,000 to the first $21,000 of pension. There are others also being discussed. The retiree e-board will be discussing this further and our Legislative Director will talk about it at the October meeting.

Retiree Members should click on their Chapter to receive news about current meetings and events in their area.