Retired Articles

Overview

Retired

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

Article WEP/GPO Social Security
rally to end WEP/GPO in Washington D.C.retirees rally to end WEP/GPOretirees fighting to end WEP/GPORepeal WEP/GPO

Take action now to avoid income shock at retirement
End the Social Security penalties WEP and GPO

Districts are supposed to tell new hires about the impact “WEP and GPO” will have on their Social Security—but often they don’t, says Dennis Cox, president of the CFT Council of Retired Members. That means teachers who are counting on a certain amount of income for their retirement get a shock when they find out they won’t be getting it. This happened to Cox.

“I found out I wasn’t going to get my full Social Security benefits and Medicare would be taken out of that,” he said. “I got clobbered, and there’s many people in a worse situation than I am.”

Article Elections 2022 WEP/GPO Social Security
retirees rally to end WEP/GPOretirees fighting to end WEP/GPOBonnie Ciedel

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.

Article retiree chapters
Retirees comb the local filesRetiree Chapter President Ann KillebrewLocal President Malaika Finkelstein at a white boardretirees walking on San Francisco Bay

Elders Speak! project preserves union history for future generations
AFT Local 2121 marks 50th anniversary with oral history

By Bill Shields

Janitors organize live onstage, in multiple languages. A domestic worker ponders the meaning of life as she mimes ironing clothes. Dancing hotel workers tell how they won a good contract. These stories emerged from an oral history project called Work Tales produced by the Labor and Community Studies Department at City College of San Francisco. I spent 25 years teaching in this department.

Article retiree chapters
Kate Disney, president of the West Valley-Mission Federation of TeachersWhen You Retire booklet cover

You can help start an AFT retiree chapter!
Retiree division sets sights on organizing more chapters

For most of her career, Kate Disney taught engineering at Mission College in the Silicon Valley city of Santa Clara. Disney learned the ins and outs of the West Valley-Mission Federation of Teachers contract when she became a union rep in 2017. She was elected president of the local in 2019.

“You learn about different sections of a contract as you go through different phases of your life and career,” she said. “Certain portions are more important at different ages.”

Article Elections 2020 members elected

Paul da Silva became the candidate he wanted to see
First teacher elected to College of Marin Board of Trustees

For years, Paul da Silva, a biology teacher at the College of Marin and a member of United Professors of Marin, Local 1610, wondered about the lack of teachers on the college’s Board of Trustees and tried to talk retiring professors into running. No one took him up on it.

So when he decided in the summer of 2019 that he would retire, he concluded, to paraphrase Mahatma Gandhi, he’d have to be the candidate he wished to see in the world.

Article coronavirus retiree chapters Elections 2020

Retirees mobilize for most important election in their lives
The threat to our social norms is “mind boggling”

Every senior has a long personal view of U.S. history, but nearly all would agree that this presidential election will be the most important ballot they cast in their lives. The prospect of Donald Trump in the White House for four more years has ratcheted up emotions.

“The threat to our Constitution, to our institutions, and to our social norms is mind boggling,” said Dennis Cox of the CFT Council of Retired Members.

Article retiree chapters coronavirus

Tips for seniors during the COVID-19 pandemic
How one retiree chapter is supporting seniors during stay at home

By Susan Morgan, President, AFT Local 1931 Retiree Chapter

As a retiree chapter, one of our current challenges is to find new ways to stay connected, be supportive, and sustain our esprit de corps. The current pandemic has increased challenges for retirees, many of whom were already dealing with the social challenges of isolation and loneliness. These newly heightened mental health concerns are real, and our task is to find meaningful ways to connect with our members to support our common union values and goals.

Article coronavirus retiree chapters

Being retired in the time of Covid-19

By Dennis Cox, Southern Vice President, Council of Retired Members

AFT retirees have contributed so much to American education, and are in line for well-deserved gratitude from their students, colleagues and communities. You warrant a heartfelt thanks for what you have done, and for staying home and keeping yourselves safe during this outbreak. You are extremely valuable citizens. So, thank you to all who have served, and are now staying safely sheltered in your homes! Please continue to do all you can to stay safe.

Article Elections 2020 Prop 15

Retirees are leaving their mark on 2020 elections
Seniors work on local and statewide measures

For more than four decades, California corporations have evaded their fair share of commercial property taxes, leaving our schools with some of the most overcrowded classrooms and worst ratios of students to counselors, librarians, and nurses in the nation.

Schools and Communities First will close those property tax loopholes in 1978’s Proposition 13 — without affecting homeowners or renters — and channel more than $12 billion per year to local schools, community colleges and other vital services.

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.