For more than 125 years, employees who retired from municipal service had no organized group representing their interest. City pensions were paltry until the 1940’s and included few benefits. Most employees were forced to work until they died because of the prevailing financial realities. Retirement with a pension became possible only after the City of Detroit granted a defined benefit plan based on average wages and years of service. After the 1960 founding of the DRCEA retiree pensions and benefits were regularly and significantly improved.
DRCEA began with a small group of retirees who formerly worked in the Assessors, Public Works and Water Departments. From the very beginning DRCEA was dedicated to protecting and improving City pensions and retiree benefits.
At first, DRCEA was not welcomed as a participant in municipal affairs and had minimal influence on city leadership. However, with steady growth in membership and successful challenges to City pension and benefit plans, DRCEA gained considerable respect and attention at City Hall.
As DRCEA became more effective representing retirees, pensions were significantly increased and previously non-existent retiree benefits were obtained.
The DRCEA is and has always been a volunteer-based organization. All services provided by the directors and elected officers are done in the spirit of service without compensation.