Retired Articles

Overview

Retiree Articles

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

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.

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

Retirees represent Federation at CARA Convention
How CATs — CARA Action Teams — advocate for issues important to seniors

One of the things Hene Kelly likes most about the California Alliance for Retired Americans is its democratic structure where the concerns of all its members get heard.

Another thing Kelly, a vice president of CARA and its legislative director, appreciates is that she thinks CARA goes beyond listening — they act.

Kelly attended the recent CARA Convention in Sacramento where attendees learned how to strategize and make change.

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.”