2023 Council of Classified Employees Conference
The theme, "Flexing our Power, Protecting our Progress," was felt throughout the weekend
The annual Classified Council of Employees Conference took place at the Hyatt Regency in San Francisco October 27-October 29. The theme of the conference was Flexing Our Power – Protecting Our Progress. Some of the local wins over the past year that were discussed by members included a six-figure settlement for employee overtime, paraeducators getting a living wage, and bilingual employees’ checks reflecting their expertise.
Kati Bassler, President of the Salinas Valley Federation of Teachers, AFT Local 1020, says the salary formula the local has had since 2011 ensures members they will get a fair share of district funds.
“Their increase in salary is based on financial standing of district,” she said on a video call. “It creates a culture where everyone understands that if the district gets more money, they’re going to get a raise.”
CalSTRS and CalPERS Data Breach: Impacts and Actions
Information and action items to protect yourself
Both Dennis Cox, the Southern Vice President for the CFT Council of Retired Members, and Doug Orr, Chair of the CFT Retirement Policy Committee, want impacted members to do whatever they can to protect themselves from a recent data breach that affected both CalSTRS and CalPERS.
In June, officials from both pension funds announced that cyber attackers stole information, including names, Social Security numbers and birth dates.
New Look for Orange County Classified Professionals
“Employees” is now “Professionals” – in line with the CFT approach
Get out your smart phones and change your listing for AFT Local 4794. Members of the Coast Federation of Classified Employees voted unanimously at their spring meeting for a new name and look. “Employees” is now “Professionals” – in line with the CFT approach – and a Local 4794 task force created a new logo.
Lawndale Federation brings home medical coverage for part-timers
The District scheduled part-timers so they were always a few minutes short of the ACA requirement to provide health benefits.
Watch this powerful video of members talking about their hard fought win for medical benefits.
For 30 years, the Lawndale Elementary School District denied their part-time classified employees health benefits. The District scheduled part-timers so they were always a few minutes short of the ACA requirement to provide health benefits.
Find Key Resources
Sign the AFT Petition!
The AFT is collecting signatures to help repeal the WEP and GPO.
Sign the Move-On 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 (search by zip code upper right)
- Contact California’s 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 301 co-sponsors as of September 27, 2022!
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.
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.
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
Use the WEP online calculator and WEP reduction chart.
Government Pension Offset
Use the GPO online calculator.
CalSTRS — How does Social Security affect me?
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.”
These articles help explain the impact of the WEP and GPO on California teachers and other public service workers.
From the CFT and AFT
gearing up for national midterm elections: Voices of experience
hope to educate younger Americans, reverse Social Security
CFT United, May 31, 2022
What are the WEP and GPO and how will they affect your
CFT United, 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.
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.
- Repeal the Windfall Elimination Provision and Government Pension Offset (2022)
- Achieving national retirement security for all workers (2018)
- Strengthening Social Security (2008)
- Social Security offset and public employees Social Security benefit reductions (2002)
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.