To ensure that pension and health care benefits earned by Los Angeles County employees are protected while promoting their health, well-being, happiness, and continued productivity.
RELAC was incorporated on Feb. 5, 1958 as a non-profit organization consisting of retired employees of Los Angeles County (government) and those on the threshold of retirement. Its purpose was to preserve and promote the general welfare of its members. It has done so ever since.
Over the years we have variously been known by two different names: Retired Employees of Los Angeles County (RELAC) and the Alumni Employees of Los Angeles County (AEOLAC). Our organization adopted its final name change on Dec. 20, 1979 when it reverted to RELAC.
In 1961 RELAC was hosting its annual picnic in Sycamore Park at 4800 N. Figueroa St. and its general meetings in Patriotic Hall at 1816 S. Figueroa St. in Los Angeles. Attendance at the picnic was 400 and at the general meeting about 740. The flight to suburbia had not yet begun, our retirees were then mostly living in Los Angeles and their lives were more centralized to downtown – RELAC activities were close at hand. We still hold the annual picnic and general meetings, but they are located throughout the region to accommodate a membership that is far-flung.
Membership grew from 2,050 in 1961 to 4,000 in 1964, to a high of 30,000 in 2002. Membership began to decrease, due primarily to deaths as our members aged, and today we have about 18,500 members. We are diligently working to increase that number by reaching out to present employees and recent retirees, and have begun to see an increase in applications. In 2017, for the first time in many years, we recruited more members than we lost. To assist in recruitment, we’ve developed a colorful brochure. Click here to take a look.
RELAC officers were active during the 1960s in promoting the passage of retirement pay packages and the County adoption of the retirement COLA (cost of living adjustment). During that same period they were likewise actively seeking out better health insurance for retirees. As they did so, they were at the same time advancing the revolutionary idea of paying dues via payroll deduction. More importantly, in 1965 there were discussions about “What if the Medicare Bill passes?” It did on July 1, 1966.
RELAC’s most important mission today is defending our pensions and health benefits against the relentless attacks of their critics. Three of our directors serve on the LACERA Boards of Retirement and Investments, helping to ensure retirees’ interests are protected. RELAC also works with the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors and the California Retired County Employees Association.
While LACERA, County unions, the Board of Supervisors and the state Legislature all care about retirees’ well-being, they have to deal with other competing interests. Only RELAC is exclusively interested in protecting and improving retiree benefits.