University News

Advocating for Employees & Retirees: WIU SUAA

July 24, 2014

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MACOMB, IL -- With pension reform at the forefront of the General Assembly's business, one local non-partisan group ensures that the voices of employees and retirees are heard loud and clear.

Western Illinois University's chapter of the State Universities Annuitants Association (SUAA), which has been in existence since 1971 and boasts over 700 members, serves as an advocate for WIU employees and retirees, noted WIU SUAA President Marcia Lucas.

"Our purpose is to promote the interest and welfare of our annuitants and current employees," Lucas added.

The WIU SUAA board meets monthly to discuss current events that may affect pensions, and also participates in community service events. WIU-SUAA executive board members communicate frequently with legislators, public officials and political candidates to discuss issues of importance to WIU retirees and future retirees, such as full pension funding, cost of living increases, retiree health insurance and tax exemptions, she noted.

WIU SUAA's Board of Directors holds monthly meetings at 10 a.m. the first Thursday of each month at Wesley United Methodist Church's library conference room.

While the majority of the WIU SUAA membership is comprised of University retirees, the local chapter is seeing an increase in current WIU employee participation, which is vital to the organization's success, said board member and membership co-chair Patti Jones.

"Perhaps one of the biggest misconceptions is that this organization is reserved for retirees only. Current employees are most welcome to join the local chapter, and are encouraged to do so as we are advocating for their future as well," Jones added.

SUAA currently has nearly 16,000 members from Illinois public universities and community colleges. The association is funded almost entirely by membership dues.

For more information about the WIU SUAA chapter, visit A membership form is also available from this site.

For more information, or to join the WIU SUAA chapter, contact Jones at or Karen Helmers at A complete listing of the WIU SUAA board can be found at

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