Wednesday, November 29, 2023

RPEC Weekly NewsFlash, October 13, 2023

RPEC Weekly NewsFlash, October 13, 2023

Get ready for PEBB Open Enrollment, November 1-30

In preparation for PEBB Open Enrollment during the month of November, RPEC has created an extensive online guide full of information regarding open enrollment and decisions you may be making regarding your healthcare plan. The guide’s primary feature is a three-part video series of a conversation with Tim Smolen, Program Manager of the Statewide Health Insurance Benefits Advisors (SHIBA). This webinar series has been developed to specifically help RPEC members who earn their healthcare benefits from PEBB. The content is organized to help you better understand your choices among PEBB plans. The HCA-PEBB/RPEC 2023-2024 Open Enrollment Guide can be found at https://rpecwa.org/health-insurance-open-enrollment-2023-2024/.

HCA/RPEC Open Enrollment Webinar (PEBB)

HCA, in concert with RPEC, will hold a PEBB Open Enrollment informational webinar on Friday, October 20th, from 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. via Zoom. To attend this event, please register through Zoom at https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZModeqrqz4vHNJ9r2gp2eRHH4un5b6h7mhq. After you register, Zoom will send you a confirmation email with a meeting link. RPEC will resend the meeting link one day prior to the event as a reminder.

Registration for 2024 Legislative Day Opens November 1

2024 will be here before we know it, and with it, the legislative session begins on January 8. The RPEC/WEA-R Joint Legislative Day is set for January 22, 2024!

The day-long event begins at the Olympia Hotel at Capitol Lake where the Legislative Committee chairs from RPEC and WEA-R will lead trainings on how to speak with your legislators about issues that are important to retirees. You and other constituents from your legislative district will review your meeting schedule and materials to devise a game plan over a working lunch. From there, you will bus to the Capitol to meet with your legislators and urge them to support our shared legislative priorities.

Registration opens on November 1, 2023, and closes on January 3, 2024. More information will be available soon on RPEC’s website, www.rpecwa.org. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to meet face-to-face with your legislators and advocate with other public sector retirees to accomplish our goals.

DRS Hosting Seminar for RPEC Members

One of the perks of being a member of RPEC is the diversified partnerships and affiliations the organization has with other entities and organizations. These connections allow us to offer a variety of news, training, and support for our members. An upcoming opportunity for RPEC members is an upcoming seminar hosted by the Department of Retirement Systems (DRS) in which they will address a variety of topics that are most relevant to current and soon-to-be retirees. DRS manages and administers pensions for our members in PERS, PSERS, SERS, and TRS.

Please join us on November 3rd @ 1:00 PM for an opportunity to hear directly from the experts about topics relevant to you and your pension. There will be a brief presentation given by an Administrator from DRS followed by a Q & A session. Whether you’re a new retiree, soon-to-be-retired, or have been retired for some time, there will be relevant and valuable information for you.

Register in advance for this meeting at https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZcrcumgqDkjEtSTFcGFh1SE3Ur15LsLERpK. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting. 

AFSCME Retirees Council Annual Meeting

The 43rd annual meeting of the AFSCME Retirees Council was held in Washington, D.C. during the last week of September. The AFSCME Retirees Council represents 200,000 public sector retirees nationwide, consisting of 45 chapters from 38 states.

The RPEC (AFSCME Retirees Chapter 10) delegation to the AFSCME Retirees Council annual meeting was President Clair Olivers and Secretary Nancy Heley, with Associate Director Derek VanSpoor attending as staff and guest.

The AFSCME Retirees Council held a Tuesday evening reception for all the delegates and guests at the AFSCME headquarters, just up the street from the White House, which was viewable as we walked from our hotel. The reception granted us time to meet and mingle with leaders from other retiree chapters. We had a great conversation during our meal with Oregon AFSCME Retirees Chapter 75 and AFSCME Wisconsin Retirees Chapter 32.

Delegates from retiree chapters across the nation gathered at the National Education Association (NEA) building’s conference room. The meeting convened on Wednesday morning and was emceed by Jeff Birttnen, Chair of the AFSCME Retirees Council and President of Chapter 5, Minnesota Retirees United. AFSCME International President Lee Saunders was the opening speaker. President Saunders pointed out the annual growth to date in 2023 of 7,800 new retirees to AFSCME Retirees, on top of 13,000 in 2022, and made specific mention to Washington State, along with 3 other states (CA, IL, & TX), as to providing the bulk of that growth. Here in Washington, we added almost 1,700 new members to RPEC in 2023. 

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RPEC shines at WFSE Annual Convention

RPEC was highly visible at the Washington Federation of State Employees (WFSE) 50th Biennial Convention, October 6-8, in Seattle. Not only was RPEC an exhibitor with a booth staffed by RPEC volunteers, but RPEC also provided two two-hour workshops for Convention-goers.

The Convention’s theme focused on the union’s 80-year history. A focal point included spotlighting former WFSE leaders who had made their mark not only on the union but also on the entire state, forever changing the working conditions and benefits for state employees. WFSE’s public relations team developed video vignettes highlighting the successes and challenges of each decade. To complement the event theme, Tim Welch (Chapter 2 president), was asked to coordinate and co-facilitate a panel discussion (one of the workshops) about WFSE’s milestone years and achievements. The panel featured RPEC champions, who had made significant contributions to WFSE and state employees, as well as April Sims, president of the Washington State Labor Council, and Peggy Holmes, who was instrumental in WFSE’s fight to earn pay equity for women performing jobs of equal worth. The RPEC panelists included: Claude Burfect (District 9), Carol Dotlich (District 8, Chapter 12 president), George Masten (Chapter 2), Penny Hall (District 5, Chapter 20 vice-president), and Gail Spaeth (Chapter 13 president). Each panelist responded to questions, sharing insights and stories about key achievements that they helped WFSE navigate for the betterment of its members and state employees.

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Upcoming Events:

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

  • Oct. 17 – Select Committee on Pension Policy Meeting (10:00 am)
  • Oct. 19 – Senior Lobby Fall Conference (9:00 am)
  • Oct. 20 – Get Ready for Open Enrollment! HCA Webinar (10:00 am)
  • Oct. 26 – Membership Committee Meeting (10:00 am)
  • Oct. 26 – Healthcare Workgroup Meeting (3:30 pm)
  • Nov. 1 – 2024 Legislative Day Registration Opens
  • Nov. 3 – DRS Webinar (1:00 pm)
  • Nov. 3 – Monthly Legislative Update Call (2:00 pm)
  • Nov. 9 – Healthcare Workgroup (3:30 pm)
  • Nov. 10 – Council Office Closed, Veterans Day (observance)
  • Nov. 13 – Executive Board Meeting (10:00 am)
  • Nov. 14 – Select Committee on Pension Policy Meeting (10:00 am)

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