Steve Regenstreif, Chair
Maria Cordone, Executive Vice-Chair
Max Richtman, Vice-Chair
Judy Beard, Secretary
Linda Chavez-Thompson, Treasurer
James F. Centner, Executive Board Member
Lauren Luchi, Executive Board Member
In 2013, Steve Regenstreif retired as director of the Retiree Department of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME). AFSCME, the nation's largest public employee union began organizing public sector retirees in 1980 and has had the distinction of being the fastest growing retiree organization in the labor movement. It is also the largest organization of public sector retirees in America. Since 1983, while Steve was director, the membership grew from 18,000 dues paying members to some 250,000 retirees in 250 state and local groups. During the last 15 years, the AFSCME Retirees added better than 10,000 new members each year.
Mr. Regenstreif began his career with AFSCME in 1973 and has held various positions including Assistant to the Secretary-Treasurer William Lucy, Assistant Director of the AFSCME Organizing Department and an assistant to the late national President, Jerry Wurf. From 1978 to 1981, he worked in New York and played a leading role in the permanent affiliation of the 220,000 member Civil Service Employees Association (CSEA) which brought the AFSCME membership to the one million mark. He was Director of the national Retiree Program from 1983 until his retirement. During his tenure as director, he served on the boards of the Leadership Council of Aging Organizations (LCAO) and the Alliance For Retired Americans. He was also a delegate to both the 1995 and 2005 White House Conferences on Aging, the 1998 White House Conference on Social Security and the 2006 National Summit on Retirement Savings. In August 2013, he was re-elected to a second term as Chair of the National Democratic Seniors Coordinating Council. As a result of holding this position, he is a member of the Democratic National Committee.
Maria Cordone is a 41-year member of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM&AW), an organization with over 300,000 retired members. Director of the Community Services/EAP/Retirees Department since 1997, she provided training and growth opportunities for active and retired members by recruiting, organizing and coordinating senior members in retiree chapters, and working with active members to initiate and implement programs for Employee Assistance and Community Services Representatives. She developed literature and materials for these departmental programs.
Ms. Cordone is currently the Executive Vice-Chair of the Democratic National Committee Senior Coordinating Council and is Co-Chair of the Democratic Seniors Network. She also serves on the boards of the Elderly Housing Development and Operations Corporation and the Fields of First Foundation, College Park Aviation and is active in the community, serving on the Prince George’s County Sheriff’s Department Citizen Advisory Panel and serving on the Board of the Towers in Westchester Park. She is the President and CEO of Mustard Seed, Inc., a non-profit organization involved in community-based outreach programs.
A former staff director of the Senate Special Committee on Aging and 16-year veteran of Capitol Hill, Max Richtman is executive vice president of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, the nation’s second-largest senior advocacy and education organization. Richtman, who joined the organization in 1989 as director of government relations, was named executive vice president in 1991. He also serves as director of the National Committee’s political action committee.
During his congressional career, Richtman directed a lengthy investigation of Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s enforcement of age discrimination statutes and played key roles in reforms of the multi-billion-dollar federal and Indian oil and gas royalty collection system and Indian health care system.
Richtman began his career on Capitol Hill in 1975 as a staff assistant and counsel to the American Indian Policy Review Commission, chaired by Senator Jim Abourezk (D-SD). In 1977, Abourezk selected him as counsel to the Senate Select Committee on Indian Affairs, which Abourezk chaired. In 1979, Richtman assumed the position of staff director of the committee under new chairman, Senator John Melcher (D-MT).
In 1987, Richtman was named staff director of the Senate Special Committee on Aging, a position he held until 1989, when he joined the National Committee.
Richtman was born in Munich, Germany, and grew up in Omaha, Nebraska. He graduated cum laude from Harvard College in 1969 and received his law degree from Georgetown University Law School in 1973. He is a member of the District of Columbia Bar.
Judy Beard serves as the elected Director of the American Postal Workers Union Retirees Department, a position she has held since 2007. The department has over 40,000 members. Ms. Beard takes pride in providing her members with educational information regarding senior issues and keeping them informed on bills introduced into Congress that could impact their retirement. She also interacts with members of her union that are still working to ensure the transition from employment to retirement is smooth, stays abreast on the problems that workers face, and informs her retiree members of those problems that the APWU president has identified can be resolved by legislative action.
Prior to serving as National Retirees Director, she held a staff position as Executive Assistant to the National Secretary Treasurer of APWU for over twenty-five years and both her current and former position are based in Washington D.C. Prior to coming to Washington D.C., she held the position of Union Minorities & Women Leadership Program Specialist at the University of Michigan in the School of Industrial Relations. She is a retired postal employee and has been a member of the APWU for over 45 years. Ms. Beard is committed to helping the working class fight for the benefits they are entitled to.
Linda Chavez-Thompson was elected as executive vice president of the AFL-CIO at the federation’s 1995 convention and served in this position for twelve years, until September of 2007. She was the first person to hold the post of executive vice president and the first person of color to be elected to one of the federation's three highest offices. She now holds the title of executive vice president emerita.
A native of Lubbock, Texas, Chavez-Thompson is a second-generation American of Mexican descent. Upon her retirement, she celebrated 40 years of experience in the labor movement, beginning in 1967 with her first work for the Laborers' local union in Lubbock. She went on to serve in a variety of posts with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) in San Antonio, Texas, and became an international vice president in 1988, a post she held until 1996. She also served from 1986 to 1996 as a national vice president of the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement, AFL-CIO. In 1993, Chavez-Thompson was elected and served a two-year term as one of 31 vice presidents on the Executive Council of the national AFL-CIO.
As executive vice president emerita of the federation, Chavez-Thompson will continue work on behalf of the AFL-CIO as Chair of the AFL-CIO Immigration Committee and as a member of the board of the American Association for People with Disabilities. She will continue to serve as a Vice Chair of the Democratic National Committee and as the president of the Trade Union Confederation of the Americas, which is the Western Hemispheric arm of the International Trade Union Confederation.
Jim is a 36 year member of the United Steelworkers, an organization with over 400,000 retirees. He currently serves as Director of the Steelworkers Organization of Active Retirees (SOAR); a position he has held since 2001. Prior to this, Jim served as a Health and Safety Specialist and as the Assistant Director of the union’s Membership Development Department.
SOAR was established in 1985 to allow the union’s retired members to continue to be actively involved in their union. Centner handles the day-to-day administration of the Steelworkers retiree organization. He assists it leadership in recruiting, organizing and coordinating senior members in retiree SOAR chapters.
Jim is a member of the United Steelworkers Leadership Team. He also serves as a board member of the Alliance for Retired Americans and chair of the Emerging Retirees and Benefits Committee. In addition, he serves on the board of the Elderly Housing Development and Operations Corporation, Pennsylvania properties.
Lauren Luchi is the manager of the American Federation of Teachers’ Retiree Program, with over 300,000 retired members with 122 retiree chapters in 33 states. A political strategist and policy analyst on economic, income and health care issues related to retirement security, she trained leaders and organized communities for political action for a variety of large organizations in the social justice movement and aging community.
As part of AFT’s work to Reclaim the Promise of Retirement Security, Luchi’s role is to inform, educate and organize AFT members about the importance of earned retirement benefits such as defined benefit pension, retiree health coverage, Medicare and Social Security to ensure that all Americans, after careers of hard work and service, are covered by retirement benefits that provide consistent and adequate income to remain independent and maintain a dignified and reasonable standard of living in retirement.
Reclaiming the promise is about ensuring earned retirement benefits are fully funded and safeguarded from market volatility or changes in employers’ economic situations.
She is a board member of the Alliance for Retired Americans and the Leadership Council of Aging Organizations.
Lauren was born in Philadelphia, grew up in Houston, received her Masters in Gerontology with a concentration in public policy from University of Southern California, and now lives in Washington, D.C.