Florida Retirees Never Quit Standing Up for AFSCME Members

For millions of Americans, retiring to Florida’s warmth, sun and sand is part of the reward for years of hard work. But former AFSCME members know that fighting hard for their rights and benefits doesn’t end once retirement begins.

And with everything from health care and pensions to the basic right to a voice on the job at stake in the current legislative climate, AFSCME Florida retirees understand that they are advocating not just for themselves but for future generations of workers as well.

“When you are working you often focus on the next contract but you quickly see how critical AFSCME is for putting you in a position to make the most of your retirement,”  said Ron Patrick, a member of AFSCME Florida Retiree Subchapter 43. “So it is important to me that I am out there speaking up not just for me but for the next generation of workers who deserve a secure retirement as well.”

Free from any fear of retaliation from management and with the time to really dig into the issues, Patrick and some of his fellow retiree members in Tallahassee recently started a legislative committee to attend hearings, coalition meetings and events so the voice of labor can be heard loud and clear. The issues they are working on are as diverse as the group, ranging from a pay raise for state employees and protecting the Florida Retirement System to opposing fracking and stopping the preemption of local living wage ordinances.

“You spend a career working on something, building up a passion and expertise on issues and that doesn’t stop just because you are not going into an office every day,” said Patrick. “So we have people who care passionately about the environment, or our schools or dozens of other issues because this is what we worked on for years. So, now we are making sure we are speaking up on those issues and the issues that unite us all together as Americans, as AFSCME and as retirees.”

Patrick and his fellow legislative committee members are making sure they are a force to be reckoned no matter the issue that Florida’s elected leaders are discussing!