In Retirement

(Submitted by Former Statewide Rep. Tom Jefferson, now retired, Feb. 22, 2001)

I know the activists have heard and continue to experience the questions and answers often asked by membership and a lot of the questions come without reflection. Once State workers retire, an opportunity exists for them to reflect upon their work history, the benefits and salary increases that you have enjoyed as a result of the collective effort of your union activists.

I started 39 years ago when the only benefit received was an occasional pay raise and a health insurance program, so I write this quiz in the hope of enlightening some who still question why I pay union dues or what does the union do for me or why can't you do more?

Start by asking yourself, Do I compare car prices when shopping?

  1. Do you have a dental program provided by your employer or union?
  2. Do you have an annual vision program, one that supplies glasses?
  3. Do you have a health plan?
  4. Do you have a health plan that follows you into retirement?
  5. Can you accumulate sick leave from year to year? How much?
  6. Do you have accumulated sick leave that can be used to offset health insurance premiums in retirement?
  7. Do you have a prescription drug program?
  8. Does it follow you into retirement?
  9. Do you have a legal program?
  10. Does it follow you into retirement?
  11. Does your friend have a job that is relatively immune from layoffs and downsizing?
  12. Are you allowed to accumulate vacation from year to year?
  13. Do you get annual sick leave?
  14. Are you allowed to carry it over from year to year?
  15. Can the sick leave days unused pay for your health insurance premiums in retirement?
  16. Does your friend get twelve holidays with pay? If not, how many?
  17. Do you have a sick leave bank?
  18. Do you know what a sick leave bank is?
  19. Can he donate some of his accumulated time on the job to help out a sick friend?
  20. Does he get regular pay raises?
  21. Does your friend get increments and longevity bonuses on top of pay raises?
  22. How much vacation time do you get? What is the maximum?
  23. Do you have a union that fights to get new benefits? How much are your dues?
  24. Will your union assist you if you get into a job dispute?

If the person you ask responds with mostly NAYS, then take a moment and reflect and say thanks to your union activist. I know I do!

You control your futureā€¦if you are that unhappy, make a career move! Watch out what you wish for!

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