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San Diego student Joshua McCann

Faculty push for the face-to-face classes that students want
In-person college classes improve learning, build campus community, and lifelong connections

Joshua McCann much prefers going to campus for his San Diego Community College District classes. Now in his second year and intending to transfer to a UC and major in political science, McCann says connections on Zoom or in your Canvas inbox can’t compare to being with a person in real life.

McCann goes to campus for three out of his four classes. The other night after his philosophy class, he stayed for office hours with the teacher, and ended up having a two-hour conversation about the class with some of the other students.

Article lecturers librarians
UC-AFT President Mia McIver

Retrospective: Organizing to win in tumultuous times
Reflecting on five years of union gains for UC librarians and lecturers

By Mia McIver, President, University Council-AFT

When I was elected president of University Council-AFT in 2017, I never could have predicted that the next five years would be as tumultuous as they turned out to be. I also could never have foreseen how our union of University of California lecturers and librarians would organize, build power, win contracts, and accomplish gains that far exceeded my hopes and expectations.

Article Elections 2022
Katie Porter

California voters crucial to holding U.S. Senate and House
Your vote as a CFT member matters more this November than ever!

You’ve no doubt heard pundits debating the fate of the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives. Like most midterm elections, this November will be crucial in determining the tone and tenor of national politics, as well as the ability of our elected representatives to get things done on behalf of educators and working people.

Though California is often described as a “safe blue state,” it has an important role to play in protecting progressive incumbents and working to flip House seats.

Article Up Front staff shortage

We are united for education and justice
Back-to-School tour and opinion poll provide strong foundation for strategic planning

By Jeffery M. Freitas, CFT President

Another school year has started. As an educator, August and September have traditionally been the time when I set New Year’s resolutions for the coming academic year. It starts me off on a positive note to identify my goals, my priorities, and the areas in which I want to learn and grow.

I think about our work at CFT in much the same way, and just like when I was teaching, beginning a new school year as an organization is not just the work of one person. Setting goals for the CFT is not just the work of leaders or the Executive Council. Rather it demands real-time feedback from our membership so that we, as a statewide union, can respond to the issues members identify as top priorities. To do that important work, we have undertaken a number of projects to listen to members and respond to what we have heard.

Article racial justice
Latina dancing with words Hispanic Heritage Month CFT

Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month at school and home
Honoring Latinx history and achievement September 15 to October 15

Hispanic Heritage Month takes place September 15 to October 15 every year to recognize and celebrate the contributions, diverse cultures, and histories of the American Latino community. With California’s Latino population continuing to grow, and to make up nearly 40% of the state, it’s particularly important to recognize accomplishments and history. In fact, two of the state’s most iconic labor leaders, Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta, the founders of the United Farm Workers, are Latino.

Find Key Resources

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WEP/GPO Repeal Toolkit

TAKE ACTION

Sign the AFT Petition!

The AFT is collecting signatures to help repeal the WEP and GPO.

SIGN THE AFT PETITION

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!

SIGN THE MOVE-ON PETITION

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.

Priority Bills

 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 FACTS

Quick Definitions

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.

Resources

U.S. Social Security Administration

CalSTRS — ​How does Social Security affect me?

Congressional Research Service — Search for WEP and GPO to find current reports.

Books

Social Security Offset Penalties book coverThe Hero's Penalty book cover

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.”

NEWSROOM

These articles help explain the impact of the WEP and GPO on California teachers and other public service workers. 

From the CFT and AFT

From the General Media 


Find all of our articles related to retirement security in the CFT Newsroom.

RESOLUTIONS

The CFT has passed the following resolutions in support of repealing WEP and GPO.

The AFT has passed these resolutions.

PARTNERS

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.

Social Security Fairness
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.

California 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 Association 
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.

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