Celebrate AAPI Heritage Month at school and home
May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month
The month of May was chosen to commemorate the arrival of the first Japanese immigrants to the United States on May 7, 1843, during the beginning of the California Gold Rush. It also marks the anniversary of the completion of the First Transcontinental Railroad on May 10, 1869. Most of the workers who laid the tracks that connected the frontier to the rest of the country were Chinese immigrants.
Part-time faculty power up for change
Conference spotlights CFT equity campaign for contingent faculty
A crowd of more than 100 members strong — some seasoned part-timers with decades of experience, others new adjuncts for which this was their first union event — were engaged as the CFT Part-Time Faculty Conference, with a theme of “Equity for Contingent Faculty” opened to roars and cheers. The feeling one had as a part-timer was best summed up by Lin Chan, co-chair of the CFT Part-Time Faculty Committee, “You’re not one person…you’re one of thousands.”
Groundbreaking CFT survey calls out healthcare crisis among part-time faculty
CFT surveys part-time faculty in community colleges statewide
The results of CFT’s groundbreaking statewide survey of part-time faculty offers critical insights into the daily, personal, and structural challenges that part-time and contingent faculty experience when it comes to healthcare.
AFT task force tackles national staff shortages in education
CFT seeks to set minimum salaries and hourly pay
COVID didn’t create the national staffing crisis we face, but the pandemic has stretched classified and certificated members so thin that some schools have been forced to shut their doors.
AFT has stepped up to the challenge and created an Education Staffing Crisis Task Force co-chaired by Carl Williams, head of the CFT Council of Classified Employees and an AFT Vice President, and Michael Mulgrew, leader of AFT’s largest local union, New York City’s United Federation of Teachers.
What does losing healthcare look like for part-time faculty in our community colleges? Part 1
Pandemic, declining enrollment has led to loss of health benefits
Honour Harry works two jobs — as a freelance illustrator and doing children’s education at a local church — in addition to her job teaching art for the North Orange Community College District. Harry doesn’t teach on campus. Instead, she goes into nursing homes, often working with people who are in memory care and who are immunocompromised.
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.
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.