Category Archives: Latest News

Latest News and Articles relevant to the APWU Retirees.

Workers Memorial Day

APWU newsletter

Today, we are marking Workers Memorial Day by taking action together to protect our health and safety at work.

Workers Memorial Day marks the anniversary of the passage of the Oc­cupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA), which came into effect fifty years ago today. It is a day to remember workers killed or injured at work and to redouble the labor movement’s fight to secure safe workplaces for all.

This year’s Workers Memorial Day takes on special sig­nificance after a year of working through this terrible pandemic which has deeply affected all of us.

As we think of those we have lost and who have suffered, let’s also recommit ourselves to organizing for safe workplaces. The best way to make changes at work is by joining together and demanding management provide a safe work envi­ronment for all employees.

Today we are asking you to work with your union brothers and sisters to identify safety issues in our local facilities/post offices and completing PS Form 1767 (Report of a Hazard, Unsafe Condition or Practice).

We have put together a quick guide for reporting safety issues on Workers Memorial Day.

Together, we will continue pressing management to address health and safety issues and ensure every APWU member has a safe and sanitary workplace to return home from every day.

In union solidarity,

Mark Dimondstein, President
Vance Zimmerman, Industrial Relations Director

1300 L Street NW, Washington, DC 20005 | www.apwu.org

John Lewis Voter Advancement Day Votercade – May 8th

John Lewis Voter Advancement Day Votercade

Date and Time: May 8, 2021,  2:00pm – 4:00pm

Venue: MORGAN LEVY PARK | 5300 NW 102nd Ave | Doral, FL 33178

Organizers: Broward For Progress and Labor Community Alliance

The voting rights of America’s Voters of Color and Youth Voters are under attack nationally by state legislators introducing and passing laws to suppress their participation in elections. Meanwhile, big business and billionaires are able to spend unlimited amounts of funding to buy our elections.

Join us as we mobilize as a CAR PARADE on May 8 in the name of John Lewis as part of 100 events across the nation to pass the For the People Act (H.R. 1), the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act (H.R. 4), D.C. Statehood and address the filibuster to do so.

Together, we can build a better nation and a stronger democracy.

Alliance for Retired Americans Monday Alert – 4/26/21

Florida Alliance for Retired Americans Monday Alert banner

GOP voting reforms would hurt FL voters in nursing homes and ALFs, but that could change

Residents in nursing homes and assisted-living facilities have long cast their paper ballots on-site, getting help from various people who could bring them blank ballots to be completed and then delivered to authorized sites.

But residents may not realize that lawmakers in the Florida Legislature would no longer allow that practice if controversial voting-reform measures get approved in Tallahassee.

One provision would require only immediate family members to get help with residents for on-site balloting.

On Thursday, state Sen. Janet Cruz, a Hillsborough County Democrat, told Florida senators she wants the family-only provision removed for nursing-home and ALF residents. As does AARP Florida.

Sen. Tina Polsky, a Palm Beach Democrat, spoke in support of Cruz’s recommendation.

“It has been very common practice for years and years,” Polsky said. “They’ve been doing it for years. Read More


Florida’s online sales tax is now law. So what does this mean when you click ‘Buy?’

Now that Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law a bill (SB 50) that requires out-of-state online retailers to collect sales taxes on purchases made by Floridians, the state is soon poised to collect an estimated $1 billion a year in revenue.

Supporters, such as many Florida brick and mortar businesses and the Florida Retail Federation, applauded the move that made it official on Monday, April 19. But what does that mean for you, the consumer, when you hit “buy” on your laptop or smart phone?

You have questions. We have answers.

WHEN DOES THIS ONLINE TAX GO INTO EFFECT?

July 1, 2021.

WHAT WILL THE SALES TAX BE?

6%.

Read More


The jobless win one: GOP Senate votes to boost benefits to as much as $375 per week over 14 weeks

The Florida Senate voted unanimously Thursday to raise Florida’s meager unemployment payout to a maximum of $375 per week and extend the benefits period to a minimum 14 weeks, creating a faceoff against the state House and Gov. Ron DeSantis in the waning days of the legislative session.

The Republican House majority and the governor have spurned benefit increases.

But in the Senate, the final vote on the bipartisan measure (SB 1906) was 40-0.

House Republicans earlier in the week voted down amendments to separate legislation that would have improved the state’s miserly benefits, with Republicans arguing that there are plenty of jobs for people who want to work and that boosting benefits might encourage otherwise able-bodied people to sit at home instead of finding a job. Read More


Sen. Romney, Rep. Gallagher Re-Introduce the TRUST Act

On Wednesday, Sen. Mitt Romney (UT) and Rep. Mike Gallagher (WI) introduced the “Time to Rescue United States’ Trusts” (TRUST) Act as stand alone bills in the U.S. Senate and House (S.1295 and H.R. 2575), reviving a threat to the retirement security of hundreds of millions of Americans.

The legislation paves the way for cuts to Social Security and Medicare by establishing so-called “Rescue Committees” charged with recommending changes to the Social Security, Medicare and Highway Trust Funds in the name of “long-term solvency.” The committees are not required to conduct any public hearings; their recommendations could not be amended by the full House or Senate; and the recommendations must receive an up or down vote on the House and Senate floor. There are no limits to what could be recommended, including benefit cuts, changes to the eligibility age, means testing of benefits, or higher taxes on working Americans.

Senator Romney first introduced this legislation in 2019 and offered an amendment in support of the concept during a debate on the Senate Budget Resolution earlier this year. The Senate voted 71-29 in favor of that amendment but it was dropped from the final version of the bill. Since then, several senators have told Alliance activists that they would not vote in favor of the TRUST Act if it comes for a vote again.

“The Alliance strongly opposes the TRUST ACT. Retirees have earned their Social Security and Medicare benefits over a lifetime of hard work and we will fight tooth and nail against any scheme to cut or weaken them,” said Richard Fiesta, Executive Director of the Alliance. “Every Senator and member of Congress must reject this bill and any future bills or amendments that aim to slash these essential programs. We will make this clear to all members of Congress in the coming weeks and months.”


Rural Seniors’ Lower Vaccination Rates Signal an Urban-Rural Divide

Among people 65 years old or older, urban counties’ vaccination rates outpace rural ones in all but seven states for which there’s complete data, according to NPR. Nebraska, Massachusetts and Louisiana have the largest gaps.

Similar disparities in vaccination rates may be emerging among other age groups. Since the end of March, three-quarters of states have seen urban vaccination rates for all ages grow slightly faster than rural rates.

pharmacist administering a vaccine
A pharmacist administers a COVID-19 vaccine to a worker at a processing plant in Arkansas City, Kan., on March 5.

Experts say the reasons for the gaps are likely a mixture of hesitancy, access and the impact of misinformation from some politicians and media outlets. Rural Americans are 11 percentage points more likely than city-dwellers to say they will definitely not get a COVID-19 vaccine, according to recent Kaiser Family Foundation polling.

Individuals in rural areas tend to be more conservative, and many conservatives are less likely to vaccinate, according to Timothy Callaghan, a health policy researcher from Texas A&M University’s Southwest Rural Health Research Center. Research shows people living in rural communities are also significantly less likely to take preventive measures against COVID-19, including wearing face masks and avoiding restaurant dining.

Other factors that explain the divide include a shortage of health care providers in rural areas, poor transportation options and language barriers among migrant workers.

“We cannot defeat the coronavirus until the entire country reaches herd immunity,” said Robert Roach, Jr., President of the Alliance. “Leaders and trusted local health care providers need to make sure everyone has the facts about the vaccine, a chance to have their questions answered, and a simple and convenient way to get vaccinated.”


CFPB Offers Tips for Seniors Seeking a Financial Adviser

Recognizing both the importance of financial advisers and the difficulty in identifying a competent and trustworthy one, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has published a new guide called Know your financial adviser.

Financial planning for older adults is complicated and should encompass estate planning, income tax laws, savings, pension and Social Security earnings, and investments. The guide can help seniors ask the right questions and ensure that the adviser they hire has the client’s best interest at heart, not their own.

“The fact is that some financial advisers’ titles and credentials require advanced coursework and passing tough exams, but not all,” said Joseph Peters, Jr., Secretary-Treasurer of the Alliance. “The CFPB guide will definitely help seniors make wise choices about their financial future.”

When interviewing a financial adviser, the CFPB recommends asking about their level of training, the ethical standards of their training, and whether their financial title is accredited. Seniors should also be able to file a complaint easily with the organization that issued an advisor’s credentials, and that organization should discipline or ban members who don’t follow the rules.


KHN: From Rotten Teeth to Advanced Cancer, Patients Feel the Effects of Treatment Delays

By Bruce Alpert, Kaiser Health News

With medical visits picking up again among patients vaccinated against COVID-19, health providers are starting to see the consequences of a year of pandemic-delayed preventive and emergency care as they find more advanced cancer and rotting and damaged teeth, among other ailments.

dentist

Dr. Despina Markogiannakis examines a patient at her dental practice in Chevy Chase, MD. Markogiannakis says she has noticed an increase in patients grinding or clenching their teeth, conditions likely caused by pandemic-related stress.

Dr. Brian Rah, chair of the cardiology department at Montana’s Billings Clinic, was confused in the early days of the covid pandemic. Why the sudden drop in heart attack patients at the Billings Clinic? And why did some who did come arrive hours after first feeling chest pains? Two patients, both of whom suffered greater

heart damage by delaying care, provided what came to be typical answers. One said he was afraid of contracting covid by going to the hospital. The other patient went to the emergency room in the morning, left after finding it too crowded, and then returned that night when he figured there would be fewer patients — and a lower risk of catching covid.

“For a heart attack patient, the first hour is known as the golden hour,” Rah said. After that, the likelihood of death or a lifelong reduction in activities and health increases, he said.

Dr. JP Valin, executive vice president and chief clinical officer at SCL Health of Colorado and Montana, said he is “kept awake at night” by delays in important medical tests. “People put off routine breast examinations, and there are going to be some cancers hiding that are not going to be identified, potentially delaying intervention,” he said.

Click to read more.

USPS Update – Tell the Senate to Confirm the nominees to the USPS Board of Governors

progress america logo

President Biden has sent his 3 nominees for the USPS board of governors to the Senate. Once confirmed, Democrats will have a majority on the board―and can use it to remove the Postmaster General.

The Senate must not delay the confirmation of these nominees! The Postal Service is a critical piece of American infrastructure, and every day DeJoy has control of it is another opportunity to degrade it.

Tell the Senate: Expedite the confirmation of President Biden’s USPS Board of Governors nominees!

Louis DeJoy has been running the USPS into the ground. He has ordered the dismantling of sorting machines, cut hours for letter carriers, and generally offered worse service from something most Americans haven’t had cause to think about.

That’s because DeJoy sees his mission not to continue the USPS’ world class service, but to strip the USPS for parts and sell them to private logistics companies like the one he got rich on.

President Biden’s nominees can literally save the USPS from Louis DeJoy―but every day confirmation is delayed, more damage is done.

Tell the Senate: Expedite the confirmation of President Biden’s USPS Board of Governors nominees!

Thanks,

Progress America

Florida GOP looks to cut vote-by-mail

Gov. DeSantis recently proposed a new measure that would impose new voting restrictions in Florida — one that Florida Republicans are all too willing to implement!

In 2020, more Floridians than ever before cast their ballot using vote-by-mail. Now, Gov. Ron DeSantis is trying to make it harder for people to access their ballots by requiring voters to re-enroll every two years.

Voting by mail is proven to be a safe, secure and efficient way of voting. We MUST protect Florida’s voters from DeSantis’ crusade against democracy! Chip in to help us oppose this voter suppression!

DeSantis just welcomed Trump and other far-right politicians into our backyard at the annual CPAC gathering, and now he’s quickly trying to prove just how devout he is by suppressing democracy for far-right GOP gains.

We can’t let the people of Florida be caught in the crossfires while the GOP continues their assault on our democracy! Donate whatever you can to help us oppose this voter suppression.

-FDP

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. https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83456699035

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