Thursday, February 29, 2024

RPEC Weekly Newsflash, July 21, 2023

RPEC Weekly Newsflash, July 21, 2023

Register Today – RPEC Speakers’ Series Featuring Congresswoman Marie Gluesenkamp Perez, August 2, 2:30-3:30 PM

Registration is now open for RPEC’s first virtual Speakers’ Series: Congresswoman Marie Gluesenkamp Perez Discusses Threats to Medicare & Social Security.  Congresswoman Gluesenkamp Perez represents Washington’s 3rd Congressional District (the southernmost portion of Western Washington including Lewis, Pacific, Wahkiakum, Cowlitz, Clark, and Skamania counties). While new to Congress as of January 2023, Congresswoman Gluesenkamp Perez is quickly earning a reputation for her ability to work effectively on the bipartisan issues prioritized by RPEC members. Her presentation will be followed by a Q & A period.  Look for more details in next week’s Newsflash.

Register here >>

Member Volunteers Shine at WSLC Convention

The Washington State Labor Council held its Convention on July 17th through July 20th and granted RPEC an opportunity to host an RPEC information table, providing resources and support to public employees as they approach retirement. Labor events are huge opportunities for RPEC to generate visibility through face-to-face conversations with actives about how RPEC can support them in retirement, providing RPEC membership materials for actives to post at their workplace, and building relationships with union leaders. The foundation for RPEC’s tabling opportunities is its members, as they are living examples of what RPEC can do for public employees in retirement. Multiple members were in attendance as delegates representing their respective regional labor councils while other members attended to help run the RPEC membership table.

Members who helped staff the table were Jeff Paulsen (Ch 2), Martin Rollins (Ch 2), Alma-jean Marion (Ch 28), Bill Ziegler (Ch 35), Colleen McGinn (Ch 3), Katie Kerfonta (Ch 46), RPEC President Clair Olivers, RPEC Vice President Maurice Garrott, Robert Devlin (Ch 10), and Debbie Haigh (Ch 30). Thank you to the members who attended as delegates and to those who sacrificed their time to help with the membership table.

Are you social, have a union background, or have a drive for recruiting? If you’re interested in staffing a membership table and representing RPEC at future events, contact RPEC Membership Coordinator Jakob Canup at (360) 352-8262, ext. 106 or jakob.canup@rpecwa.org.

RPEC Sponsored Medicare Resolution Passes WSLC Convention

RPEC, along with Council 28 (WFSE), WSARA and other partners of the Public Employees Benefits Board Stakeholders’ Medicare Coalition, sponsored a resolution at this week’s WSLC Convention held in SeaTac. The resolution was titled “Level the Medicare Playing Field to Save Our Medicare from Total Privatization.”

The resolution’s purpose is to increase healthcare equity in the Medicare plan arena by (1) adding benefits to traditional Medicare now only offered in private Medicare Advantage plans (adding vision, dental and hearing, eliminating the 20% Medicare co-pays and setting an out-of-pocket cap), (2) eliminating the excessive administrative costs and profits in the Medicare Advantage and ACO-REACH programs, and (3) recouping funds for the Medicare Trust Fund from fraud and abuse by Medicare Advantage plans and ACO-REACH contractors in order to use the money thus saved to support a robust Traditional Medicare system that will lower costs and improve benefits, access and equity in Traditional Medicare for all seniors and disabled beneficiaries.

The resolution passed WSLC’s convention, with over 500 delegates, unanimously and will be forwarded on to Congress, President Biden and the Secretary of Health and Human Services. The full resolution can be viewed here.

RPEC President Clair Olivers offered testimony during floor discussion of the resolution encouraging WSLC to stand with us “to enrich Medicare benefits and to extend the subsidies to government self-insured Medicare supplement plans so that they remain affordable” and “save Medicare from total privatization.”

State Treasurer Hosting Retirement Security Town Halls

State Treasurer Mike Pellicciotti is hosting retirement security town halls across the state to raise awareness about challenges that current and future retirees face.  These town halls will be an opportunity to share ideas and hear what work is on the horizon that could ensure that all Washingtonians have equitable access to long-term retirement security.

Joining Treasurer Pellicciotti will be guest panelists April Sims, President of the Washington State Labor Council; Aaron Keating, Managing Director at Economic Opportunity Institute; and Cathleen MacCaul, Advocacy Director at AARP Washington.  Members of the public are invited to attend and participate in the conversations.

READ MORE >>

Register Today – Members-Only Benefits Webinar, July 28, 1-2:00 PM

Do you know about the various member-only benefits offered by RPEC? Whether you’re a new member or just looking to maximize the value of your membership, register today for the RPEC Benefits Webinar on July 28th from 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM. The webinar will include an overview of RPEC member-only benefits, including discounts on dental services with Bright Now! Dental and hearing services with Hear in America, as well as various other cost savings and discounts through AFSCME Advantage. Utilizing these benefits can improve your fixed income by saving you money on various services. Easily offset the cost of your membership by saving money with RPEC’s member-only benefits! 

Register here: https://rpecwa.org/members-only-benefits-webinar/ 

Member-only benefits: https://rpecwa.org/member-only-benefits/ 

RPEC Political Action Committee Looks Ahead to 2024

The 2024 elections are only a year away and the RPEC Political Action Committee (PAC) needs your support.  As a retired public employee, your retirement security is in the hands of elected officials at the state level.  You rely on the State Legislature to make responsible decisions when it comes to funding your pension and benefits.  In many ways, your fate is in their hands.  But, once every two Novembers, the tables turn.

The mission of the RPEC PAC is to elect pro-retiree candidates to the State Legislature and to statewide office.  By monitoring the voting records of current elected officials and interviewing new candidates, the RPEC PAC identifies and endorses candidates who are committed to protecting our retirement security.  But to help our candidates win, we must be able to provide financial support to their campaigns.

Last year, RPEC members made it clear that retirees are serious about political action.  Our PAC income tripled, we succeeded in electing many pro-retiree candidates, and that success translated into major legislative victories in the 2023 Legislative Session.  For the first time ever, the RPEC PAC is among the top 100 best-funded political action committees regulated by the Washington State Public Disclosure Commission.  We’re also the top retiree-focused political action committee in the state.  But to compete in Olympia, we must go toe-to-toe with some of the wealthiest corporations in the world.  Last year, Amazon, Microsoft, T-Mobile, and Boeing spent over $823,000 on political action at the state level.  If we want to accomplish our goals, including protecting and restoring cost-of-living adjustments for all retirees and increasing state funding for health insurance plans offered by the Public Employees Benefits Board (PEBB), we must up our game.

This week, you likely received a letter asking you to contribute to the RPEC PAC.  Currently, only 5% of RPEC members contribute.  If every member gave only $1 per month, we would be among the most formidable political action committees in the state.  The mailing went to all members who contribute less than $5 per month.  If you didn’t receive the mailing and would like to contribute or change your existing contribution amount, you can do so with this form.  Checks made out to “RPEC PAC” can also be mailed to 906 Columbia St SW Ste. 501, Olympia, WA 98501.  Only RPEC members can contribute to the RPEC PAC.

If you have any questions about the RPEC PAC, please reach out to RPEC Government Affairs Coordinator Emmett Mills at emmett.mills@rpecwa.org or (360) 352-8262 ext. 103.

Let’s work together to protect our retirement security by sending pro-retiree candidates to Olympia.

Upcoming Events:

Please refer to our calendar page for more information about each event, including links to Zoom meetings, if available.

  • July 26 – Public Employees Benefits Board Meeting (9:00 am)
  • July 27 – Membership Committee Meeting (10:00 am)
  • July 27 – Healthcare Workgroup Meeting (3:30 pm)
  • July 28 – Member-only Benefits Webinar (1:00 pm)
  • August 2 – RPEC Speaker’s Series, Congresswoman Maria Gluesenkamp Perez (2:30 pm)
  • August 4 – Monthly Legislative Update Call (2:00 pm)
  • August 10 – Healthcare Workgroup (3:30 pm)
  • August 21 – Senior Lobby (10:00 am)
  • August 22 – Executive Board Meeting (10:45 am)
  • August 24 – Healthcare Workgroup Meeting (3:30 pm)
  • September 1 – Monthly Legislative Update Call (2:00 pm)

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