Author Archives: Miami APWU

COVID-19, Health Disparities and History Black Women’s Health and Treatment

Join us on Tuesday, March 2, 2021 at 7pm as Jasmine D. Shirley hosts Roslyn Frazier, CEO of Broward Community & Family Health Centers and Dr. Cheryl Holder, Physician and Adjunct Professor at FIU on Women’s health during Covid and the impact on Black Women. Jasmin D. Shirley former Senior VP, Community Health Services. In 2019, Shirley was recognized as one of the 2019 African-American Achievers by JM Family Enterprises.

Hosted by: Democratic Women’s Club of West Broward

COVID-19, Health Disparities and History Black Women’s Health and Treatment | Facebook

Men, Make Health Your Goal This Year

healthy living

doctor appointmentSource: APWU Health Plan Newsletter

SUNDAY, Jan. 24, 2021 (HealthDay News) — The new year is the ideal time to focus on your health and one expert has some tips, especially for men, for doing that.

According to Dr. Kevin McVary, director of Loyola Medicine Men’s Health Center, in Maywood, Ill., “Men don’t always focus on their health and, in fact, men are less likely to see a doctor or utilize health resources, and wait longer than women to seek care. Often, it’s a man’s spouse or partner who convinces him to see a doctor.”

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, “a focus on health is especially important this year,” McVary said in a Loyola news release.

“We know that obesity, heart disease, diabetes and a lack of exercise can lead to poorer COVID-19 outcomes. In addition, some men may have stopped eating healthy during the past year, and/or may be consuming more alcohol due to stress. Others may have a condition or concern that they are not seeking treatment for due to the pandemic,” McVary explained.

“And yet, lifestyle choices — exercising, eating healthy, not smoking, limiting alcohol consumption and managing stress — combined with preventive care can keep you healthy this year and throughout your lifetime,” McVary added. “And it’s never too late to start.”

McVary offers the following tips:

Boost your physical activity.

Men should exercise 150 minutes each week. “That sounds like a lot of time, but it’s not,” McVary said. That could be 30 minutes a day, five days a week. And you can spread your activity out during the week. “Sitting less and moving more is a great start as some physical activity is better than none,” he said. “Adults who sit less and do any amount of moderate-to-vigorous intensity activity gain health benefits.”

Think about what you eat.

January is a popular month to start a new diet. “One of the issues with New Year’s resolutions is that they often involve sudden, drastic lifestyle changes. It’s not easy to turn these changes into healthy behaviors and to fully adopt them as a regular part of your daily routine. Be careful with fad diets. Instead, make permanent improvements that focus on healthy eating habits and maintaining a healthy weight,” McVary said.

A healthy diet is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and fat-free or low-fat dairy foods. It should also include lean proteins — such as poultry, fish, eggs and nuts — and foods that are low in saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, salt and added sugars.

Visit your primary care physician.

It’s important to schedule an appointment with your doctor. “Concerns about money, not having a primary care physician, inconvenience or stoicism are common excuses, but the reality is that visiting a medical professional can greatly improve your health,” McVary said. “And don’t just visit your doctor when you’re sick. Make a habit of scheduling an annual wellness exam. This ensures that you stay in good health and identify health issues before they become serious.”

Understand your risk of a heart attack.

Heart attack risk factors include being male, advanced age, a family history of heart disease, race and ethnicity (Black, Mexican Americans, American Indians and Asian Americans are at highest risk), smoking, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, a sedentary lifestyle, being overweight or obese, diabetes, stress and excessive alcohol consumption.

If you’re 50 or older, schedule a colonoscopy.

“Regular screenings are the key to preventing colorectal cancer as they identify precancerous polyps that can be removed before they become cancerous,” McVary said. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends colorectal cancer screening for men aged 50 to 75. For men age 76 and older, alternative screening tests, including stool tests, flexible sigmoidoscopy or a CT colonography (a virtual colonoscopy), may be recommended.

Know the symptoms of prostate cancer, and the pros and cons of screening.

Prostate cancer screening through a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test is available; however, for men aged 55 to 69, the decision to have PSA screening means weighing the benefits of cutting rates of advanced disease and death against potential harms of screening and treatment. “A PSA test may result in a false positive, leading to an unnecessary biopsy or treatment,” McVary said.

Recognize and manage stress.

“As with physical symptoms, men tend to downplay or ignore the symptoms of stress, depression or anxiety, and yet ongoing mental health issues can cause sleep, heart and other physical health problems. An annual wellness exam should include an honest discussion about mental health and sleep quality, as well as strategies for mitigating stress,” McVary said.

More information

For more on men’s health, head to the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

SOURCE: Loyola Medicine, news release, Jan. 15, 2021

Union Support Surging During COVID-19

AFL-CIO banner

You already know that unions give working people a voice.

But the COVID-19 pandemic is showing more and more people the union difference: better access to personal protective equipment, hazard pay and safer working conditions. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka (UMWA) connected the dots between the pandemic and surging public support for unions on CNBC.

The majority of Americans support unions. We have a pro-labor Senate, House and White House. This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to transform the labor landscape into one that works for all of us.

We’ve laid out five priorities lawmakers should focus on in our Workers First Agenda. Add your name to show you’re ready for legislation that puts workers first.

In Solidarity,


» CLICK HERE to Support the Workers First Agenda

Answering Your Qs on the New COVID Vaccines

APWU health news

MONDAY, Jan. 11, 2021 (HealthDay News) — As the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccines continues, scores of questions are emerging. Here, experts from Penn State Health answer some of the more common ones.

How do the COVID-19 vaccines work?

The COVID-19 vaccines work by teaching the immune system to protect against the virus, experts said. 

Neither of the two vaccines approved in the United States — made by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna — contains the live virus. They give the body a blueprint to create a bit of the virus that causes COVID-19, called a spike protein.

Once you are vaccinated, the cell’s machinery uses the blueprint to make the spike protein. This protein then appears on the surface of the cell and the immune system responds to it. 

While the blueprint is a genetic code, it never enters the nucleus of the cells. 

“That means it never converts into DNA,” Dr. M. Fahad Khalid, chief of hospital medicine at Penn State Health Hershey Medical Center in Hershey, Pa., said in a health system news release. “The mRNA itself is destroyed by the cells after they produce the spike protein.”

Can the vaccines make you sick?

“The spike protein itself cannot cause an infection,” said Dr. Mohammad Ali, an infectious diseases physician at Penn State Health Holy Spirit Medical Center in Camp Hill, Pa.

How safe and effective are the vaccines? 

Khalid and Ali say the vaccines are very safe and effective.

“Their effectiveness is tremendous,” Ali said. “The flu vaccine is typically 40% to 60% effective, and the COVID-19 vaccines are 94% to 95% effective.”

Some people, however, can have an allergic reaction to the vaccine.

People who have had allergic reactions to other vaccines should ask their doctor about taking the COVID-19 vaccine. People with non-vaccine related allergies — such as food allergies, pet allergies, seasonal allergies — can be safely vaccinated, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Possible side effects, such as swelling or pain at the injection site, fever, headache, or muscle pain, are temporary.

“Those side effects aren’t nearly as bad as severe cases of COVID-19, which can be fatal,” Khalid said.

If I’ve had COVID-19, do I need to be vaccinated?

Yes. The CDC recommends vaccination for people who have had COVID-19. This is because it’s not known how long immunity to the virus lasts after an infection.

Once vaccinated, can I get rid of the masks?

No. Wearing a mask, hand washing and social distancing are necessary even after being vaccinated.
The vaccine protects you from getting sick, but researchers don’t know if you can still get infected and transmit the virus to others.

Is it true there are microchips in the vaccines, or that they can cause infertility?

No, there are no microchip tracking devices in the vaccines. And the vaccine will not cause infertility.

“There’s a lot of misinformation out there,” Ali said. The most trustworthy resource for accurate information is the CDC website.

More information

For more on COVID-19 vaccines, see the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

SOURCE: Penn State Health, news release, Jan. 8, 2021

Kenyon Pease, Former National Business Agent, passed away January 2, 2021.  

Kenyon PeaseKenyon “Ken” Pease, Former National Business Agent [Clerk Division], Washington, DC Region passed away Saturday, January 2, 2021.  

As a retiree, Kenyon worked tirelessly for retiree issues.  Ken Pease served as a regional board member of the Alliance for Retired Americans and he often shared his personal story on Capitol Hill in behalf of the  Alliance for Retired Americans.  Ken Pease was an officer and member of the Northern Va. Area Local Retirees Chapter.

A private service and burial will be held at Arlington National Cemetery in the future.

Florida Alliance for Retired Americans Monday Alert – January 4th

Florida Alliance for Retired Americans Monday Alert banner

People 65 And Older Express Frustration, And Excitement, As They Get Vaccinated Against COVID-19 in Broward County

COVID-19 vaccinations started in Broward County this past weekend, for people who are 65 and older, while healthcare workers and people in long-term care facilities have been getting the vaccine since December.

Noreen Stephens and her husband, Larry, drove to Davie’s Vista View Park from Hollywood on Jan. 3, and arrived at about 6 a.m. Stephens sat in the passenger seat of their vehicle and said through the window that they couldn’t be happier to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

“I am so grateful that the county did this for seniors,” Stephens said. “We’ve been so scared for so many months, stuck in the house, so, thank goodness.”

They said they got an appointment online, and then it took a while to confirm by phone.

“You can’t give up, you have to keep trying and trying,” she added. “It was a two-hour process to get the appointment.”

The couple left a few hours after they got there. COVID-19 vaccinations started on Jan. 3 in Broward County for people who are 65 and older, while healthcare workers and people in long-term care facilities have been getting the vaccine since December.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended vaccinating frontline essential workers after healthcare workers but Gov. Ron DeSantis chose to include seniors next instead. Read More

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Florida Agriculture Commissioner recommends DeSantis mobilize National Guard

“We are the first in the nation to begin offering vaccine to staff and residents of long term care facilities,” Gov. Ron DeSantis said.

DeSantis touted that Florida is the first to mobilize county health departments and county emergency managers to actively vaccinate seniors 65 and older, however he also adds supply is limited.

“We don’t’ have enough vaccine currently on hand for all four million plus senior citizens in the state of Florida. Now we will get there but it’s not going to happen overnight, so please be patient,” DeSantis said.

Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried says even with our supply: “While Florida has received over 1.2 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine, only 146,160 vaccine doses have been administered.”

Fried sent a letter to the governor Wednesday strongly recommending him to mobilize the National Guard to fix the COVID-19 vaccine distribution which she says, according to reports, is very chaotic and lacks of clear strategy to vaccinate the public. She also said “health care professionals have lacked clear direction from the state”

When asked about more call centers or more help the governor says: “If the hospitals need some support, we will be willing to provide that. We had some discussions with some of the big systems about maybe they could use some more nurses.”

As far as long lines, DeSantis said it’s important for hospitals to communicate with people. Read More

U.S. Supreme Court Set To Hear Florida-Georgia Water Battle

After years of battling between Florida and Georgia, the U.S. Supreme Court next month will again take up a dispute about water in a river system that links the two states.

The Supreme Court last week scheduled oral arguments Feb. 22 in the case about divvying up water in the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint river system, which stretches from northern Georgia to Apalachicola Bay in Franklin County.

Florida filed the lawsuit in 2013, though the two states have fought for decades about water in the river system. Florida contends that Georgia is using too much water from the system, damaging the Apalachicola River and the long-iconic oyster industry in Apalachicola Bay.

Federal appellate Judge Paul Kelly, a special master appointed by the Supreme Court, dealt a blow to Florida in December 2019 when he said Florida had not adequately shown that Georgia’s water use caused problems in the Apalachicola River and Apalachicola Bay.

Kelly’s recommendation went to the Supreme Court, where Florida and Georgia in 2020 filed briefs that gave vastly different descriptions of the issues.

In one brief, Florida’s attorneys attacked Kelly’s findings and argued that “Georgia’s insatiable upstream consumption (of water) has decimated Apalachicola’s oyster fisheries.”

“The harm to the Bay’s oyster fisheries is undeniable. Apalachicola is renowned across America for its oysters, which account for 90% of Florida’s oyster harvest and 10% of the nation’s,” the brief said. “What’s more, oysters — and oystering — have created a distinct way of life in Apalachicola passed down from generation-to-generation; whole communities depend on the fisheries for their economic livelihood. The oyster is to Apalachicola what the lobster is to many New England towns.” Read More

The Alliance wishes all of our members a healthy, safe and happy 2021!

Those Over Age 75, Essential Frontline Workers Should Be Next in Line for Covid Vaccine

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), a federal panel advising the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has approved recommendations that people over the age of 75 and essential frontline workers be next in line for the Covid-19 vaccines. They would follow the health care workers, nursing home residents and staff vaccinated during the initial phase of the inoculations.

The panel’s recommendations are non-binding and state officials will make the final decisions on the order of vaccinations; however, many states are looking to ACIP to help them settle challenging ethical questions over the distribution of the scarce supply of doses.

About 20 million people are 75 or older and there are about 30 million front-line workers, including police, firefighters, teachers and grocery workers. Seniors between the ages of 65-74, other essential workers and people between the ages of 16-64 with high-risk conditions would be inoculated after those groups.

“The recommendations reflect the fact that seniors are the most likely to face serious illness or death from the virus,” said Alliance Executive Director Richard Fiesta. “Unfortunately it will take months to complete the process. We must continue to wear our masks and social distance as much as possible in the meantime. Please follow the CDC guidelines.”

Nursing Home Occupancy is Down Sharply Across the Nation

The pandemic is changing the way Americans care for seniors, with a growing number of families opting for in-home care over nursing homes. Nursing home use has been decreasing gradually for years, with occupancy in 2019 at 80%, down from 84% a decade earlier. The pandemic has accelerated the trend due to deaths, fear of infection and family members’ concerns over restricted visitation at the facilities.

This year alone occupancy in nursing homes is down 15%, or more than 195,000 residents. More than 115,000 deaths caused by Covid-19 have been linked to long-term care facilities.

Nursing-home operators say that rising numbers of baby boomers with a need for institutional care will drive occupancy rates back up.

Surveys have long shown many seniors prefer aging at home, and the pandemic has made nursing homes even less popular, according to a September survey of adults 40 and older by AARP. Just 7% said they would prefer a nursing home for family members needing long-term care, and 6% said they would choose one for themselves. Nearly three in 10 respondents said the pandemic had made them less likely to choose institutional care.

“Once the pandemic is over, long term care trends are unlikely to return quickly to the way they were,” said Robert Roach, Jr., President of the Alliance. “We are going to see the after-effects from the pandemic for a long time, with more seniors aging in place, before demographic changes bring the number of nursing home residents back up.”

Scam Alert: Seniors Being Targeted With Promise of Early Access to Covid Vaccine

Public health officials are warning the public of scammers who promise early access to the vaccine in exchange for sensitive personal information.

Beware of any call from someone asking for your Social Security number or credit card information in conjunction with the vaccine. No legitimate doctor’s office, pharmacy or insurance company would call asking for this information.

vaccine bottle“Be on the lookout for those contacting you via phone, text and email,” said Joseph Peters, Jr., Secretary-Treasurer of the Alliance. “If what they are offering seems too good to be true, it probably is. Access to the vaccine is strictly controlled, so do not believe strangers saying they have early access.”

If you receive one of these solicitations, experts say the best thing to do is hang up immediately. Do not open or respond to any messages or click on any links or email attachments from unknown sources. If you are unsure about a message, check with your healthcare provider, as they will be able to pass on the most accurate information about the vaccine.

Georgia Senate Runoffs are Only Five Days Away

Retiree-led phone banks will continue this week as the important Georgia Senate runoff elections approach. With only a few days left until Election Day on January 5th, Alliance members from all states are invited to call Georgia voters in support of Democratic candidates Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock. The next shift will take place on January 2nd, 2021 at 2:00pm Eastern Time. Click here to sign up.

Georgia votersThe early voting period is well underway, and the number of voters turning out for the election is breaking records. According to an NBC News data analysis, almost 70,000 voters have registered in the state since the general election in November.

“Given how close the races were during the general election, any slight shifts in voter turnout can determine the winners,” said President Roach. “A phone call really could make a big difference.”

Message from Nancy Olumekor, APWU Retiree National Director

Thank You for Your Service

Nancy OlumekorThank you to my sister and brother postal workers for showing up and moving the mail in service to America. Thank you to all of the veterans and all the active military personnel for your service; thank you to all the essential workers who are our families, our friends, our neighbors for your continued service.

As I reflect on 2020 it is clear to me that I must never miss an opportunity to say “Thank You.” I am mindful of the friends, families and loved one that APWU members and retirees have lost this year, including our first Retirees Director John R “JR” Smith, as well as the other great unionists who helped build APWU. Without their service and committment we would not be here.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Good Health and Happiness in the New Year to all.

Thank you for allowing me to serve you.

– Nancy Olumekor, Director

Season’s Greeting from the U. S. Office of Personnel Management

As we welcome in 2021, the following announcements are provided:

Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA)

Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) and eligible Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) retirees and survivors will be receiving a COLA effective December 1, 2020. The increase will be reflected in your January 2, 2021 payment. CSRS and FERS recipients will receive a 1.3% COLA.

Combined Federal Campaign (CFC)

Calling all Federal retirees! Are you looking for a way to make an impact in the community – or even around the world? The CFC allows you to continue your service and support the causes you care about. Transition your CFC pledge to your annuity during this year’s campaign, September 21, 2020 – January 15, 2021 at

Electronic Annual Notice and 1099R

Why not start 2021 by receiving your annual mailer and 1099R electronically using your Services Online account. Simply log into and enter your claim number, password and update your communication preferences in your Profile. If you have forgotten your password, it’s easy to request another one, just follow the on-screen directions. If you have an email address associated with your account, a password will be sent to you or contact to have a password sent to you.

Your annual mailer will be available for viewing in mid-December and your 1099R in mid to late January. You will receive a separate email from OPM informing you of when they are both available to view.

Have a safe and Happy New Year.