Retired Articles

Overview

Retiree Articles

News about issues affecting retirees and retirees continuing to support the work of the union. Activists never retire!

Article

How American education has changed since “Leave it to Beaver”
Tracking diversity and achievement in our schools since 1960

By John Perez, President, Council of Retired Members

In 1960 America was a very different place. Father Knows Best was ending a seven-year run, but we were still watching Leave It to Beaver. Women earned only 63 percent as much as men for the same job. Teachers were considered “tall children,” better seen than heard.

California Teacher

Retirees stay true to the cause – keeping political, union skills sharp

AFT activists don’t stop being active when they retire. United Teachers Los Angeles retiree Jimmie Woods-Gray, for example, remains a whirlwind in the fight to stop the privatization of public education. UC-AFT Riverside’s Stephanie Kay, meanwhile, continues the daily fight for lecturers’ rights on University of California campuses.

California Teacher CFT 100

Council of Retired Members taps a resource: Retirees are “stickin’ to the union”

Download a single-sheet illustrated history of the Council of Retired Members

What retirees have that unions need — knowledge, experience and memories — are concentrated in the Council of Retired Members, the newest division of CFT. Convention delegates in 2014 overwhelmingly voted to add the council to the union’s governance structure so retirees could contribute in the same way as working teachers and classified employees. 

California Teacher Medicare

Medicare-for-All could free billions for our classrooms

Most American schools and colleges pay for employee healthcare out of their budgets. Education activists are enthusiastic that a Medicare-for-All approach for faculty and staff would free up billions of dollars for classrooms.

Los Angeles schools, for example, could cut their current $1 billion healthcare bill in half, according to John Perez, a retired president of United Teachers Los Angeles.

California Teacher CalSTRS CalPERS

Pension battles shift from ballots to courts
Tracking the latest strategies that attack public employee pensions

For years, people have been trying to attack pensions with ballot propositions, said Doug Orr, an economics professor at City College of San Francisco and the chair of the of the CFT Retirement Policy Committee. Those propositions always go down in defeat, Orr said, and now those attacks on pensions are coming to the courts. 

California Teacher Medicare Social Security

Retirees prepare to stand firm in a hostile new world
Social Security and Medicare targeted by majority party

Candidate Donald Trump told the American people he didn’t want to cut Social Security, but Republicans have opposed the system since its creation during the Depression.

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan has talked about “means testing” Social Security. In other words, wealthy seniors wouldn’t get benefits because they don’t need them. But they wouldn’t pay into the system, either, and losing the top 10 percent of contributors could lead to financial havoc. 

California Teacher General Election 2016

Retirees work presidential election in swing states
Pajaro Valley’s Julie Armstrong named top volunteer in Florida

Because Hillary Clinton needed to win in Florida, I volunteered, along with CFT and AFT retirees from other states, in the Sunshine State.

We worked with diverse groups of Floridians in the AFT and other labor unions through the Working America Coalition, a political action committee of the AFL-CIO. Working America fights for working families, union and non-union, in campaigns to elect progressive candidates and pass legislation to improve the lives of working families.

California Teacher

A veteran teacher’s perspective on magic, old and new
Will “newer” always be seen as “better,” despite the evidence?

I recently received an email from a first-year sixth grade teacher asking about my classroom management system. I’ve taught for 37 years, making me a veteran teacher by any reckoning.

Flattered of course, I revealed the nitty-gritty of my ticket system. Long and short of it — when kids are good they get tickets. When negative behaviors transpire, tickets are taken away.

California Teacher Retiree chapters

Union establishes Retiree Organizing Committee to build new chapters

The CFT has established the Retiree Organizing Committee to help local unions take advantage of the experience, skills and commitment of retired union members.

The goal of this new standing committee is to organize AFT retiree chapters around the state so that retirees may continue to contribute to their unions — and have opportunities to connect with former colleagues.

California Teacher Retiree chapters

New retiree chapters offer social connection, wield political clout
Expertise of post-career members brings valuable asset to mid-size local unions

Although it began as a social group, the recently chartered retiree chapter of the ABC Federation of Teachers has become increasingly political, says its president, Gayle Pekrul. “Many retirees are not interested in just being social — they want to be involved in the issues.”