What is the Alliance for Retired Americans?


Organization of retired union members affiliated with the AFL-CIO, and non-union, community-based members

Part 1 of a series

The Alliance for Retired Americans is a 501 (c)(4) non-profit, nonpartisan organization of retired union members affiliated with the AFL-CIO, as well as non-union, community-based members.

It was founded in May 2001 to mobilize retired union members, seniors and community activists into a nationwide grassroots movement advocating a political and social agenda that respects work and strengthens families. The Alliance is chartered in 39 states and has 4.4 million members. There are 1,500 local chapters. These members work together to make their voices heard in the laws, policies, politics, and institutions that shape American life.

The mission of the Alliance for Retired Americans is to ensure social and economic justice and full civil rights for all citizens so that they may enjoy lives of dignity, personal and family fulfillment and security. Alliance members visit the polls in record numbers. We use the power of our membership and our Congressional Voting Record to educate and mobilize seniors to elect leaders committed to improving the lives of retirees and .older Americans.

Any retiree is eligible for membership in the Alliance. Retired workers who were not union members or whose national unions are not affiliated with the Alliance may become full members by paying member dues of $10 a year. The dues of some retired union members are paid by their national unions. Some unions pay the dues out of their budgets, rather than assess their retirees or members a special fee to pay the dues.

Alliance members are the governing body of the organization. The membership meets in a national convention every non-presidential election year. The membership elects a president, a secretary-treasurer, a community-based executive vice-president, and six community-based board members. There is no provision for proportional representation within the Alliance; every member may attend the national convention and vote, and sponsoring unions may send as many delegates as they choose. The membership also discusses and approves policies and raises voluntary donations for the organization’s political operations.

Between conventions, the Alliance is governed by a national executive board. The Alliance is headquartered in Washington, D.C. and their website is retiredamericans.org.

The Alliance has four executive officers. These are the president, secretary-treasurer, community-based executive vice-president, and an executive vice-president appointed by Alliance affiliates. These four officers oversee the day-to-day operations of the organization. The Alliance also has an executive director, who oversees the staff and implements the policies of the organization.

Currently, the Alliance’s officers are:

  • Robert Roach, Jr., president. Roach started his career as a ramp serviceman for TWA in 1975 and was a member of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (1AM) Local Lodge 1056 in New York. He was elected to and held several union leadership positions including serving as the General Secretary-Treasurer of the 1AM from 2012 until his retirement in July 2015. He currently serves as an Auditor for the International Trade Union Confederation and is a board member of the Pension Rights Center.
  • Joseph Peters, Jr., secretary-treasurer. Peters began his career at the Ford Motor Company. He was elected to a leadership position in the United Auto Workers (UAW) in 1978 and rose through the UAW ranks, culminating in his serving as regional director of UAW Region 1.
  • Jo Etta Brown, executive vice-president. Brown lives in northern Nevada and is retired from the banking industry.
  • Liz Shuler, executive vice-president. Elizabeth “Liz” Shuler was elected Secretary-Treasurer of the AFL-CIO in 2009.
  • Richard Fiesta. executive director. Fiesta has been the executive director of the Alliance since 2013. He served in the Clinton Administration in congressional and public affairs positions at the Departments of Labor and the Interior and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation. Fiesta also has extensive experience on Capitol Hill.



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