Retired and Ready to Organize

Categories: The Insider, Retirees

Born out of a convention resolution, AFGE’s retiree program is taking shape. With the onboarding of a program director and assistant, retirees have a national resource to build a strong retiree activist cohort.

The program’s first training for district retiree coordinators was in early November and was the first time coordinators from nearly every district learned their roles and responsibilities.

“For many retirees, staying active with AFGE makes sense: continued access to AFGE’s Member Benefits program helps them save money and AFGE provides a platform for them to continue organizing and look out for one another,” says AFGE Retiree Director Julie Tippens. “These are people who have spent much of their lives lifting up the voices of working people and have been on the front lines of the labor and civil rights movements for decades.”

Retiree coordinators at the district level reach out to locals to introduce the program and its benefits, recruit and support local retiree coordinators, develop a retiree club, and engage retirees in actions that interest and affect them. District coordinators also help identify retirees, retiree groups and issues affecting retirees to feature in AFGE publications, measure progress, and report on their retiree activities.

At the training, the coordinators learned that organizing, legislative and political action, communications and mentoring are critical pieces to their efforts in growing the program. Fellow retiree and AFGE activist, Art Johnson, who now serves as the vice president of the Missouri chapter of Alliance for Retired Americans (ARA), shared with the group his work with ARA and encouraged the coordinators to become active in their local chapters and engage AFGE retirees in more ARA activities.

“I’m thrilled to see our retiree program take shape,” says District 10 National Vice President Cheryl Eliano, who serves as chair of the National Executive Council’s retiree committee. “We have a diverse group of activists who are ready to bring more retirees into the program and show the strength and power behind retiree membership. Being active in our union through retirement means mentoring new unionists, collaborating with fellow retirees, and growing our AFGE family.”

Coordinators spent the final day of their training creating plans for growing their retiree network within their districts. Some of their goals are shared below:

My goal is to incorporate the retirees and the near retiring in to the district’s union building.

- Diana Snedegar, District 9 Retiree Coordinator

I plan to train someone to take my place, after I have this up and running better than anyone in AFGE!

- Horace Cooper, District 5 Retiree Coordinator

My goal is to encourage and educate local presidents of the important role of retired members, and how they can be used to assist locals and move our agenda forward.

- Jane Nygaard, District 8 Retiree Coordinator

My first objective is to contact the 10 largest locals that have the lowest number of retirees and coordinate an action plan to increase the retiree membership. I’m looking forward to spending as much time in the district as I can.

- Glenn Dixon, District 12 Retiree Coordinator

My goal for the next year is to reach out to at least 50% of locals in New England to make them aware of the benefits of a retiree program.

- Carol Kilbride, District 2 Retiree Coordinator

My initial goal is to contact each local president in my district, introduce myself and the goals of the retiree program.

- Robert Fraker, District 3 Retiree Coordinator

Here’s a full listing of the appointed district retiree coordinators:

  • Carol Kilbride, District 2 Retiree Coordinator (New England)
  • Allen Chopik, District 2 Retiree Coordinator (New York)
  • Marona Griffin, District 2 Retiree Coordinator (New Jersey)
  • Robert Fraker, District 3 Retiree Coordinator
  • Horace Cooper, District 5 Retiree Coordinator
  • Aaron Walker, District 6 Retiree Coordinator
  • Albert Thomas, District 7 Retiree Coordinator
  • Jane Nygaard, District 8 Retiree Coordinator
  • Diana Snedegar, District 9 Retiree Coordinator
  • Fredna White, District 10 Retiree Coordinator
  • Steve Kofahl, District 11 Retiree Coordinator
  • Glenn Dixon, District 12 Retiree Coordinator
  • Yvette Martin-Gross, District 14 Retiree Coordinator

Want to join the AFGE Retiree Program?

Visit to join or learn more about the AFGE Retiree Program.

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