2022 has been an exciting year for AFGE’s Retiree Program run by the Legislative Department.
From launching Retiree Program’s Facebook page to awarding the very first Retiree of the Year Award, AFGE has never stopped looking for ways to advocate on behalf of federal workers and retirees.
AFGE delegates at the 2022 convention also passed a resolution to waive the national portion of the first year of membership dues for those who stay on as retirees. This is to encourage people to stay involved with AFGE even after they retire.
Since AFGE delegates at the 2015 convention passed a resolution to establish the Retiree Program, which was started a year later, retirees have been making AFGE stronger. They take part in legislative advocacy, political mobilization, mentoring, representation, organizing and helping at local events and in locals’ offices.
Retirees are crucial to our union’s success. After a lifetime of work, they know the issues and organization, and are a key part of AFGE. They help fight against attacks on our pay, retirement, and health benefits. They are instrumental in our fight for retirement security. AFGE, for example, is pushing for a higher appropriation for Social Security, asking for $16.1 billion in our FY 2023 Appropriations request.
Having retirees at locals is extremely important also because current federal employees who are members and/or union volunteers are always juggling several responsibilities and are restricted in the types of activities they can engage in on duty time under the Hatch Act, but retirees have no such restrictions. That’s why each local and district should reach out to members before they even retire to tap into their flexibility and experience.
At the heart of the program are district retiree coordinators who help with outreach to locals and take part in advocacy and organizing. Most districts have at least one coordinator or are looking to fill this volunteer position.
And we didn’t waste our time during the pandemic. We launched a monthly e-newsletter, AFGE Retiree Report, in April 2016 to keep retirees informed of news and events that affect them.
Because of retirees’ important contributions, AFGE decided to create a new award to recognize the continued leadership of our retirees: Retiree of the Year Award.
There are many retirees doing amazing work in their communities with AFGE. This year we gave an honorable mention to:
Jeffrey White with Local 2090 in District 7
Anthony Ferriera with Local 1647 in District 3.
Gail Tate with Local 3283 in District 2
But it was District 12 Retiree Coordinator Glenn Dixon who was honored with the first Retiree of the Year Award.
When Glenn retired, he immediately stepped up to expand retiree opportunities in the Council of Prison Locals and throughout District 12. He would set up an AFGE Retiree table at events and sit for hours on end, engaging with everyone he met.
When COVID upended in-person meetings, Glenn adapted by setting up an exhibit table in his garage for virtual events and doing virtual presentations.
Glenn was no stranger to AFGE events – he was eager to stay with the union and help out because his love for the union was borne of years of serving his brother and sisters at CPL, his local and nationally.
“I’m so grateful for this recognition I received, but honestly I don’t think I deserve it. I feel there are more deserving retirees out there over these years that have stepped up in countless way. They too deserve this honor,” Glen said in his acceptance speech video.
We hope current workers stay active with AFGE even when you retire from the federal government. We need you!
A discovery that remote workers at an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) facility in Ann Arbor, Mich., were about to get kicked out of the bargaining unit led an AFGE local to spring into action and save the employees’ workplace rights.