Retiree leaders from Nevada and California came together last week to discuss new ways to build up and improve IBEW 1245’s retiree program. IBEW retiree group leaders and representatives from the California Alliance of Retired Americans (CARA) and the Nevada Alliance for Retired Americans (NARA) met in Reno for a brainstorming session that they hope will pave the way towards a more rewarding and engaging retiree program.
IBEW 1245’s retiree program is widely known as one of the most robust union retiree groups in the country. Together with CARA and NARA, the retiree chapters provide useful resources and assistance for seniors, while also fighting for issues that matter most to their survival, including combatting senior fraud and protecting Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. But maintaining the retiree program is increasingly more challenging, and requires more coordinated planning and strategies to draw newly retired members in, provide them with the support they need, keep them active and transform them into retiree leaders.
Currently, IBEW 1245 has nine retiree chapters that meet every month throughout California and Nevada, but the leaders of these chapters rarely have the occasion to come together in an official capacity to discuss the program as a whole.
Despite their geographical and demographic differences, all the chapters are facing many of the same challenges: meeting attendance and member retention is low, communication is lacking, new member recruitment is a challenge and the current leaders of the groups aren’t focused on finding and preparing successors to keep the program going strong in the future.
“Our goal is to collectively share ideas, create plans and open a dialogue about these issues. This discussion is really past due,” said Tom “T” Bird, President of IBEW 1245’s Yerlington retiree chapter and President-Elect of NARA. “The one thing we have to remember is that a problem for one of our chapters or affiliated groups is a problem for all of us.”
Seven retiree leaders — T-Bird, Ron Borst, Ken Rawles, Bill Keating, Sandra Draper, Bob Vieira and Rita Weisshaar — were in attendance, along with half a dozen IBEW 1245 staffers and a few members of the Executive Board. The group plans to continue meeting regularly to come up with even more tactics and strategies to strengthen and improve IBEW 1245’s retiree program.
All retiree chapter meetings are open to IBEW 1245 retirees and their spouses, as well as soon-to-be-retirees and the spouses of active or deceased members. For meeting times and locations, visit //www.ibew1245.com/ibew-1245-retirees-club/. If you’d like to get involved in the retirees club or start a chapter in your area, contact Office Manager Tonya Alston at 707-452-2718.