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POLISH UNION OF USA/AMERIPOL
53-59 N. Main Street, Wilkes-Barre, PA 18701 (Location)
P.O. Box 660, Wilkes-Barre, PA 18703-0660 (Mailing Address)

OFFICE HOURS
AT NATIONAL HEADQUARTERS
Monday through Friday
8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Phone: 570-823-1611
Fax: 570-829-7849

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About the Polish Union of USA

The Polish Union of U.S.A. came into existence on August 27, 1890 at St. Paul, Minnesota, then the site of a flourishing Polish colony. Stationed in the thriving Middle West Metropolis was a distinguished Roman Catholic prelate, Monsignor Dominick Majer, who turned out to be a man of destiny. In the discharge of his priestly duties, he recognized the pressing necessity for the establishment of an organization to hurdle the barrier of language, protect the immigrant from unscrupulous strangers, provide for him adequate life insurance benefits, educate him the ways of the land of his adoption and preserve both religious faith, and culture of his native Poland.

At his invitation, 94 residents of St. Paul affiliated with three established groups assembled in St. Adalbert's Church to canvass the situation. Msgr. Majer outlined his program to form a national fraternal organization and it was enthusiastically accepted. With characteristic thoroughness, he had prepared a constitution and it was adopted. It made membership available to Catholics of Polish heritage and stressed loyalty to the United States. The name adopted by the organizers was Unja Polska w Ameryce (Polish Union of America).

The Polish Union prospered from the beginning. In 1893, it had 3,000 members on its rolls. With organizational work in full swing, a decision was reached in 1896 to move national headquarters closer to the Atlantic coast since St. Paul was on the perimeter and a central location was desirable if the best interest of the immigrants were to be served. Buffalo, New York, was the choice and there the offices remained until 1906, then moved to Wilkes-Barre, P A. An unfortunate incident occurred at the 8th Convention held in Chicago, in 1908, when delegates decided a corporate split of the fraternal. One half of the membership voted Buffalo, NY. and the other half decided to remain in Wilkes-Barre, P A. Both fraternals share a mutual history. The fraternal in Buffalo, adopted the name of Polish Union of America and the membership in Wilkes-Barre, incorporated as Polish Union of the United States of North America.

Despite the split, Polish union in Wilkes-Barre continued to prosper, both in membership and assets. In 1918 it had a membership of 19,000; in 1921, 28,000. In 1927 the membership reached 39,000. As the membership was nearing the 45,000 mark, it was decided by the board that a two-story structure be built at 53-59 N. Main St., Wilkes-Barre, P A., to house the fraternal. The impressive and architecturally acclaimed edifice was dedicated June 5, 1938.

Polish Union from its inception offered low interest mortgages to its members. During the depression years of 1930's, when commercial banks were foreclosing on delinquent mortgages, the Polish Union, in a benevolent act towards its members who were unemployed, unable to meet payments, gave them amnesty. Thus, Polish Union saved hundreds of families in Northeastern Pennsylvania from losing their homes.

During the two World Wars, Polish Union has answered the call of this nation. Millions of dollars of Liberty bonds and War bonds were purchased by the fraternal and its individual members. A total of 3,345 young men and women, members of the Polish Union, served in the armed forces during World War II. And, 122 members paid the supreme sacrifice during that war. The Polish Union has been a member and a strong supporter of the Polish American Congress since its inception in 1944. It has participated in all its civic and political programs both on the local front and on the national scene.

Prior to and at the end of World War II, Polish Union had its turbulent years, as did many other similar ethnic fraternals. Adding to the problems was when the Insurance Department of the State of Pennsylvania changed the rate structure of the fraternal's insurance portfolio, and instructed Polish Union to convert thousands of its certificates which forced an increase in premium rates. Many members refused to accept the conversion and the higher premium rates and thus dropped their life insurance certificate.

There were other factors that have been attributed to the decline of interest in Polish Union and other ethnic fraternals among third and fourth generations, including intermarriage, overall decline in birth rates, the immigration restrictions, the inability to speak the Polish language, overall change in society and the assimilation of the Polish American into that society; and most important their diversified needs which were served by other civic, social and veteran organizations much more satisfactorily than by ethnic Fraternals.

In order to combat the apathy amongst the present generation toward ethnic fraternals, following the 1974 Polish Union Convention in Scranton, P A., the new administration under the leadership of Henry J. Dende, president, accepted the challenge to revitalize the Polish Union by issuing new programs and projects to attract people of all ages, especially the youth. The life insurance portfolio was modernized. The scholarship aid program was expanded. A Fraternal Activities Coordinator as well as a Membership Coordinator was named. The following activities are offered for members and community enrichment: Debutante Ball, Holiday parties for youngsters, crowning Miss Polish Union, arts & craft classes, ethnic cooking classes, paper cut-out (Wycinanki) classes, family picnics, egg coloring (Pisanki) workshops, Flag Day ceremonies, bus trips, Christmas ornament classes, polka & country dance classes, preservation of Polish customs, e.g., St. Joseph Day party, Easterfare, Christmas wafer (Oplatek) suppers, Polish Language classes, etc.

Thousands of hours are spent by Groups and members in "volunteerism" visiting the sick at home and at hospitals, assisting families in need, donating food to the poor, financial donations to numerous needy causes, fighting discrimination, and members are doing their part to help keep our streets free from crime.

Healthy, vigorous, seasoned, the Polish Union of U.S.A. looks to the past with pride and to the future with justifiable confidence, as it enters the second century of its existence. Today the business office is completely computerized, and is on the "direct-billing" system. Polish Union is financially strong, possessing a good solvency, and it has over $27 million of life insurance in force. It has its own official newspaper, the Fraternal Journal, which is distributed four times per year to every Polish Union family. The officers and board members see a bright future for the organization as it vows to attract the present generations into its ranks.

Our Privacy Policy

The Board of Directors of the Polish Union of U.S.A. has adopted the following policy regarding the fraternal at its members right to privacy of individual information we possess for insurance purposes. That policy is printed below for your information. If you have any questions regarding this policy, please call the Polish Union home office.

THE PURPOSE OF THIS POLICY SHALL BE TO: insure the security and confidentiality of customer records and information; protect against any anticipated threats or hazards to the security or integrity of such records; and protect against unauthorized access to or use of such records or information which could result in substantial harm or inconvenience to any customer.

PERSONS BOUND: This policy shall be applicable to and adhered to by the Officers, members of the Board of Directors, employees of and all of the Officers of the groups comprising the Polish Union and all of our group secretaries and licensed agents. Further, all of the members of Polish Union are requested to adhere to the letter in spirit of this policy.

INFORMATION SUBJECT TO THIS POLICY: All of the information we have collected or will collect in the future regarding our officers, members of the Board of Directors, District Directors, employees, officers of our groups, group secretaries and our members and their beneficiaries concerning demographic data such as names, addresses, social security numbers, etc. along with information regarding employment, finances, health, avocations and other personal characteristics.

4. DECLARATION OF CONFIDENTIALITY: All of the information collected by Polish Union is hereby declared to be confidential and shall not be disclosed to any individual or other entity without the express written consent of the affected person.

5. EXCEPTIONS TO THIS PRIVACY POLICY: In the course of our business, we must disclose certain information to other individuals or firms in order to enable them to provide business services to us including our re-issuers, actuarial and data processing services subcontractor. However, our contracts with any of our subcontractors require them to keep confidential any information which may be disclosed to them. In addition, information may be disclosed to our auditors or for research purposes, regulatory agencies such as state insurance departments. In addition, Polish Union will comply with all lawful subpoenas issued by order of any court or regulatory body.

6. DISCLOSURE TO THIRD PARTIES: Polish Union at present does not disclose any personal information to other companies or organizations not affiliated with it that would use this information we have provided them to contact you about their own products or services.

7. DURATION OF CONFIDENTIALITY: Should you cease to be a member of Polish Union, we will continue to protect and safeguard your personal information in the same manner as we do with our members.

8. SOURCE OF INFORMATION: The great bulk of the personal information which Polish Union obtains from its members comes directly from the members particularly in the form of policy application. This information provides Polish Union with those facts which it needs in order to conduct its business. In many cases, it may need to verify this information or it may need additional information which it may obtain from third parties such as employers, consumer reporting agencies and health care providers.

9. USE OF THIS INFORMATION: Polish Union uses the information gathered from its members and from other third parties in the normal course of our insurance business and our fraternal relationships with its members. The business purpose for collecting this information includes the evaluation of a request for our insurance or other services, an analysis of benefit claims and administration of our products or services in addition to processing transactions and other requests by members. In addition, we will use this information to contact you about services and products which we currently provide or may provide in the future.

10. SAFEGUARDING OF THIS INFORMATION: Polish Union shall take all steps reasonably necessary to safeguard the integrity of the information in its custody including the continued use of our office vault, the use of all reasonable methods of safeguarding information contained in our computerized data system and the control of the office area.

11. ADHERENCE TO THIS POLICY: All of the Officers and each member of the Board of Directors, District Directors, employees, officers of groups, group secretaries, and licensed agents shall be given a copy of this policy and asked in writing, to acknowledge its receipt on an annual basis.

12. SANCTIONS FOR VIOLATION OF THIS POLICY: The Board of Directors will investigate all alleged breaches of this policy and will impose sanctions and penalties, on a case by case basis, should a violation of this policy be shown. In addition, the Board of Directors will, in appropriate cases or when required by law or regulation, report all violations to state and federal authorities. Penalties for violation may include dismissal from employment by Polish Union in addition to those sanctions and penalties provided by law.

13. PROCEDURE: If anyone to whom this policy applies is requested by a third party to divulge any confidential information, the CEO/National Secretary must be notified of such requests. The CEO/National Secretary shall have the responsibility, in consultation with the Executive Committee, of deciding whether or not to comply with such requests.

 

© Polish Union of USA, PO Box 660, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, 18703

contact: info@polishunionusa.com