(October 26, 2014) More than 700 APWU members and retirees attended the 32nd congressional breakfast sponsored by the SOAR Coalition of Michigan on Oct. 19. The coalition was formed in 1982 to unite active and retired federal and postal employees and their spouses to protect benefits and achieve a secure retirement.
Former U.S. Rep. David Bonior, who served as Democratic Whip from 1991-2002, was the keynote speaker. Rep. Kerry Bentivolio (R) of Michigan’s 11th District and Rep. Dan Kildee (D) of Michigan’s 5th District also attended, along with Timothy O’Malley, executive vice president of the National Association of Letter Carriers, and APWU Retirees Director Judy Beard.
“When the SOAR coalition started, I was nowhere near retirement age,” Beard told the group, “but I thought this was an excellent initiative to bring Congressional representatives together to let them know how we felt about our retirement and how legislative issues before state and federal represenatives impacted our lives if voted into law.” Postal and federal workers and retirees must let candidates and our congressional representatives know that we keep a watchful eye on their positions and how they vote, she said.
The breakfast is also a great way to thank congressional representatives who continue to be on the right side of workers and retirees, Beard added. She has attended all SOAR events since its founding breakfast.
Beard also urged attendees to participate in the Nov. 14 National Day of Action, which will demand that the Postmaster General and USPS Board of Governors Stop Delaying America’s Mail! The event is being sponsored by the four postal unions. She also thanked them for their participation in our ongoing Stop Staples campaign.
SOAR’s founding officers, Doug Holbrook and Peter Romanelli, expressed pride in the work the coalition has done over the years to protect retiree benefits. Holbrook was president of APWU’s Detroit District Area Local and later served as the union’s national Secretary-Treasurer. Romanelli served as president of Branch 1 of the National Association of Letter Carriers.