Gun violence in America — something is gravely wrong here
Let’s imagine a world free of gun violence and schools that are open, free, and welcoming
By Jeffery M. Freitas, CFT President
I taught high school math in a picturesque Southern California location with a view of the Pacific Ocean. On nice days, we used to keep the doors and windows of our classrooms open. We had no fences around our school and there were open courtyards that welcomed gatherings of students and staff alike. Much of that has disappeared. Now doors and windows must remain shut on campus and chain link fences surround the beautiful campus in case someone shows up with a weapon of war and the intent to kill.
Anatomy of a victory: Teachers stand up, insist upon being valued
How the ABC Federation’s work-to-rule campaign succeeded
Ruben Mancillas, chief negotiator for ABC Federation of Teachers, was pleased about getting a 5% raise for teachers in their latest contract, which he says is the single largest increase since the recession. But it’s not only the raise that pleased him.
Local 2317 was headed towards a strike for the first time in three decades, after uncharacteristically tough negotiations with a new school board in place. Instead of a strike, ABC did a work-to-rule campaign, asking teachers to only do what was specified in their contract.
Groundbreaking CFT survey calls out healthcare crisis among part-time faculty
Critical insights into part-time faculty in community colleges statewide
The results of CFT’s groundbreaking statewide survey of part-time faculty offer critical insights into the daily, personal, and structural challenges that part-time and contingent faculty experience when it comes to healthcare.
Faculty at Dominican University choose AFT/CFT as their union
With resounding 84% vote, faculty elect to have union representation
On April 11, faculty at the Dominican University of California watched excitedly as the National Labor Relations Board in San Francisco conducted a ballot count resulting in a resounding 84% yes vote for union representation with the AFT/CFT.
The new local union — the Dominican University of California Faculty Federation of Teachers, AFT Local 6604 — will represent 103 full-time faculty members at the private liberal arts college in San Rafael. The university was founded in 1890 and offers more than 60 majors, minors, and concentrations.
The new normal for special education instructional aides
‘‘SpEd IAs’’ face student pandemic trauma, larger classes, and low pay
California schools have returned to in-person learning, but acute staff shortages are hobbling the return. The hardest positions to fill are often special education instructional aides.
For “SpEd IAs,” as they are known from early childhood programs to post-secondary classrooms, there is no “social distance” with their students. Assignments may require feeding children, changing diapers, and handling medical equipment. Emotional outbursts can also be physically punishing to paraeducators.
Retirees gearing up for national midterm elections
Voices of experience hope to educate younger Americans, reverse Social Security penalties
Political season is in full swing and, with days to go until California’s June 7 primary, CFT retirees are already looking ahead to the November 8 General Election.
“I can’t tell you how many people have told me they are mad as hell and ‘ready to do something’ because of the leaked Supreme Court ruling on abortion rights,” said Mike Nye at-large representative on the CFT Council of Retired Members.
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.