Chapter 12 of the Steelworkers Organization of Active Retirees president Rick Lewis and vice president Steve Dewell stand behind the memorial in the future place for a bench honouring steelworker retirees. Photo: Jim Bailey

Chapter 12 of the Steelworkers Organization of Active Retirees president Rick Lewis and vice president Steve Dewell stand behind the memorial in the future place for a bench honouring steelworker retirees. Photo: Jim Bailey

Greater Trail retiree organization seeks new members

SOAR is in recruitment mode after a palpable loss in membership over the past three years.

Chapter 12 of the Steelworkers Organization of Active Retirees (SOAR) is in recruitment mode after a palpable loss in membership over the past three years.

SOAR’s Chapter 12 includes all Greater Trail communities, and like the national organization, its bylaws were amended in 2019 to welcome any like-minded individual, age 45 or over, who agrees with and supports the guiding principles and programs of the organization and the union.

Membership is available to all steelworkers union retirees, as well as retiring family members and supporters.

“Because of COVID we haven’t had a meeting for two years, and we’re going to try to reactivate if we can,” SOAR president Rick Lewis told the Trail Times. “That is our hope.”

SOAR has been integral to the union’s mission by helping defend vital programs like Social Security and Medicare, protecting steelworker pension plans, and more.

SOAR Chapter 12 has been active in the Greater Trail community for more than 20 years and supports a number of events including the Local 480 retirees picnic, food distribution, and memorial supports.

“If there is a strike, we in the past have been in charge of distributing the food, and when they have a memorial for workers we participate in that too.”

However, Lewis and his Chapter 12 vice president Steve Dewell says they are unsure how many members remain after several passed away since the onset of COVID.

“We don’t even know who has passed and who hasn’t,” said Dewell. “Not everybody keeps in contact, and a lot of people moved away.”

In addition, the pandemic’s adverse affect on mental health and isolation has made recruiting new members more challenging.

“It’s a matter of getting the phone list out and starting to call again, explaining what we are trying to do, and who we might get as a speaker, and getting together at the Legion for breakfast,” said Lewis.

SOAR held its last meeting on March 6, 2020. The group meets quarterly and is trying to resume meetings in June at the Royal Canadian Legion hall, and then every three months after that.

The meetings are both informative and educational, as SOAR invites keynote speakers who advise members on taxes, scams, social information, health care, vacations and other information requested by members.

In addition, members can enjoy a toonie ($2) breakfast.

SOAR membership costs just $1 per month for singles ($12/year), or $15 per year for a couple, and $3 per year for a retiree widow.

For more information or to become a member contact Rick Lewis at 250.368.8871 or Steve Dewell at 250.231.1866.

City of TrailRossland