Governor Newsom proposed significant increases for education and a 5.33% Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA) in his state budget for 2022-23 released January 8. In his proposal, the governor addressed five concurrent state crises — COVID-19, climate change, inequality, homelessness, and public safety — several of which are reflected in the education budget. This budget is a preliminary proposal subject to negotiations with the Legislature and will be revised in May, with its final passage in June.
UC lecturers’ victory inspires broad movement for equity across higher education
CFT wages a campaign for part-time faculty in the community colleges
By Jeffery M. Freitas, CFT President
For about three years the University Council-AFT engaged in protracted negotiations on behalf of lecturers in their unit. Their aims have always been about fairness — better working conditions for lecturers and improved learning conditions for students. Their fight has been about not only winning economic and contractual gains for members, but gaining professional respect and recognition for their teaching at the University of California. Their campaign has been a true member-driven effort, rooted in years of organizing by the statewide local that represents both continuing lecturers and librarians, led by their president, Mia McIver, and a committed negotiations team.
The view from Westwood
UCLA — It was about 3 a.m., UC-AFT President Mia McIver recalled, when negotiators for the University of California texted the administration’s “final offer.” McIver knew that all major contract issues, from job security to salary increases, were settled. She also knew that 6,500 lecturers were set to strike at all nine UC campuses in a few hours.
Reviews by Bill Morgan
It used to be hard to find quality non-fiction, especially history, for kids. It was dumbed-down, or poorly formatted, or biased, or written in dry adultese, or some combination of these. Thankfully, that has changed.
A new generation of high-interest, attractively packaged kids’ books dealing with social justice issues and using leveled vocabulary are now available. This is a group of some of the best recent ones that I have used in my years teaching social studies for social justice.
CFT launches campaign to secure healthcare for part-time faculty
“Adjuncts deserve, at the very least, the basic right of healthcare”
The pandemic has pushed many harsh realities in higher education to the forefront, none more so than the inadequacy of healthcare for part-time faculty. With the cost of an average COVID hospitalization, according to a number of sources, running in excess of $20,000, the financial effects alone on an uninsured part-timer contracting COVID can be devastating. Add a possible uninsured family member or members to the mix, and the reality becomes even more frightening.
CFT wins top awards in national labor media competition
Federation lands 11 awards for communications in 2020
In a friendly competition with state and regional labor groups around the nation, the CFT won 11 awards from the International Labor Communications Association.
The awards show that content is still king. The CFT website won First Place in “best electronic content” for the third year in a row. Seven member-based stories won awards, with four claiming First Place honors.
Find Key Resources
The WEP and the GPO are penalties that negatively affect retirees who receive pensions from government agencies that do not participate in the Social Security system. This includes California teachers who are in CalSTRS. Many of these retirees have earned Social Security retirement benefits from other work during their lifetimes or for being an eligible spouse. The GPO and WEP cut or eliminate earned Social Security retirement benefits.
WEP — Windfall Elimination Provision
Can cut an amount up to to half the value of your pension from the Social Security you have earned in other work. The WEP may reduce your Social Security benefit, but it will not eliminate it.
GPO — Government Pension Offset
Affects your spousal, widow or widower Social Security benefits that are based on your spouse’s earnings. If you are married to someone who is earning Social Security, you will probably lose all spousal or survivor retirement benefits due to you from taxes paid by your spouse during the marriage.
U.S. Social Security Administration
- Windfall Elimination Provision
- WEP online calculator
- WEP reduction chart
- Government Pension Offset
- GPO online calculator
Congressional Research Service
- Search for WEP and GPO to find current reports
Social Security Offset Penalties
By Jeanette A. Wicks (Cactus Valley LLC)
Covers how each offset penalty will affect you, how offsets are calculated, why they are unfair, and how to take action to end them.
The Hero’s Penalty
How Social Security Works for Educators
By Devin Carroll
Directly focused on the WEP and GPO, but more from the viewpoint of how to work around them rather than how to repeal them. Carroll also has a YouTube channel that covers retirement issues.
Social Security Works!
Why Social Security Isn’t Going Broke and How Expanding It Will Help Us All
By Nancy J. Altman and Eric R. Kingson (The New Press)
A highly respected, thoroughly detailed factual rebuttal of misrepresentations of Social Security’s problems, a book that offers solutions in a progressive framework that make clear sense about how to resolve “the crisis.”
The CFT has passed the following resolutions in support of repealing WEP and GPO.
the Social Security Act to eliminate WEP and GPO
March 27, 2021
The AFT has passed these resolutions.
- Achieving national retirement security for all workers (2018)
- Strengthening Social Security (2008)
- Social Security offset and public employees Social Security benefit reductions (2002)
These articles help explain the impact of the WEP and GPO on California teachers and other public service workers.
From the Union
What are the WEP and GPO and how will they affect your
CFT, December 10, 2021
Texas retirees fight to repeal rules that cut benefits
AFT, December 13, 2019
From the General Media
Retired teachers in California struggle to make ends meet with
no access to Social Security
KTVU, September 21, 2021
Find all of our articles related to retirement security in the CFT Newsroom.
Sign the Petition
The national Alliance for Retired Americans started a petition to push the U.S. Congress to enact legislation that will repeal the WEP and GPO. Add your support by signing on to the Moveon.org petition. It’s fast and easy!
Contact Your Congressional Representatives
Please contact your elected representatives to urge support of these bills before the U.S. Congress. The legislation listed below is current as of December 15, 2021.
- Contact your member of the U.S. House of Representatives
- Contact California U.S. Senators (Dianne Feinstein and Alex Padilla)
H.R. 82 The Social Security Fairness Act of 2021 was introduced by Rep. Rodney Davis (D-IL) and would repeal WEP and GPO. It is the most comprehensive and bipartisan piece of legislation with 237 co-sponsors,180 Democratic and 57 Republican.
H.R. 5723 Social Security 2100: A Sacred Trust was introduced by Rep. John Larson (D-CT) on October 26, 2021, and would repeal WEP and GPO, among other issues. The bill has 194 co-sponsors, all Democratic. (This bill was originally titled “To protect our Social Security system and improve benefits for current and future generations.”)
S. 1302 The Social Security Fairness Act to repeal WEP and GPO was introduced by Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) on April 22, 2021. The bill has 36 co-sponsors, 30 Democratic, 2 Independent, and 4 Republican.
Limited Scope Bills
H.R. 2337 The Public Servants Protection and Fairness Act was introduced by Rep. Richard Neal (D-MA), chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, and proposes a modified repeal of WEP. It has 183 co-sponsors, all Democratic.
H.R. 5834 The Equal Treatment of Public Servants Act of 2021 was introduced by Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX) on November 3, 2021, and would eliminate the WEP. The bill has 38 co-sponsors, 35 Republicans and 3 Democrats, all Texans. (At introduction, the bill’s working title was “To amend Title II of the Social Security Act to replace the Windfall Elimination Provision with a formula equalizing benefits.”)
In addition to working with the AFT and the NEA, the CFT partners with the following organizations, to fight for elimination of the WEP and GPO.
National WEP/GPO Task Force
A national coalition of representatives from retiree organizations including the CFT working to repeal the WEP and GPO.
A grassroots coalition working to change the WEP and GPO that deny many public employees, including California teachers, the Social Security benefits they have earned.
Alliance for Retired Americans
The statewide alliance that unites retired union workers and community groups to win a more secure future for individuals, families, and future generations.
California Retired Teachers
CalRTA’s mission is to protect and advocate for retired and active educators’ pensions and other retirement benefits and to support public education in our communities.