With the 2023-2024 California Legislative Session beginning, the CFT will be engaging in a new environment at the state Capitol. With several education champions reaching their term limits, and a large sector of the legislative staff turning over, the Legislative Department will be focusing on building new relationships with newly-elected legislators and their staff.
Both CalSTRS and CalPERS have mechanisms in place to guard a retiree’s defined benefit pension against eroding purchasing power. The first is a cost-of-living adjustment, or COLA, and the second is a “floor” below which the buying power of a pension cannot fall. Now thanks to a CFT-sponsored bill recently signed by Governor Newsom, CalSTRS retirees from earlier decades will see additional relief.
Governor Newsom signed six union bills at the end of September that the CFT successfully lobbied in both houses of the Legislature. The CFT had sponsored or co-sponsored 16 legislative bills alongside several budget proposals in the last year of the 2020-22 legislative session. A majority of these priorities made it to the governor’s desk or were included in the state budget, with only one bill being vetoed by the governor.
On August 16, 2021, Governor Newsom issued Executive Order N-12-21 to provide additional flexibility to hire retired K-12 teachers, community college faculty, and classified staff during the COVID-19 State of Emergency.
Several CFT leaders and members testified today at the CalSTRS Investment Committee meeting in West Sacramento, urging the second largest pension fund in the country to pressure companies that they invest in to stop profiting off family separations at the border.
Most public school teachers working today count on traditional pensions — which guarantee a monthly income based on age, salary and years of service — as their main source of financial security in retirement.
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.
In April 2013, a few months after the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut that killed 20 children and six adult staff members, the board of California State Teachers’ Retirement System voted to divest from firms making weapons that are illegal to own in California. More than two years later, that hasn’t happened, and Joshua Pechthalt, president of the CFT, wants to make sure it does. Soon.
Part-time instructors at Allan Hancock College negotiated an 8 percent pay increase over the next two years starting this spring when all part-time academic employees received a 4 percent salary increase. They will get a 2 percent raise this fall and another in fall 2016. In a tremendous boost, service faculty (counselors, librarians, and nurses) received an additional 20 percent pay increase.
UPDATE! On June 5, 2015, CalSTRS cashed out of its investment in gun manufacturer Remington Firearms, part of the Cerberus Capital Management portfolio. We thank CalSTRS for listening to CFT. Read story in the Sacramento Bee.
By Sharon Hendricks, Los Angeles College Faculty Guild and CalSTRS Board Member
To help part-time faculty understand how districts report service credit and to ensure they receive all service credit they have earned throughout their teaching careers when they retire, CalSTRS has opened new centers in Irvine, Glendale, and Santa Clara, staffed by benefits counselors trained to navigate part-time-faculty issues.
In June 2014, the California Legislature made significant changes in contributions to the California State Teachers Retirement System. The CFT formed a task force to study the issue of the system’s “unfunded liability” and to submit the union’s recommendations to the governor and the Legislature. Learn about the changes passed by the Legislature and the union’s positions below.
CalSTRS reports that its unfunded liability grows by $22 million every day that nothing is done. While most California public pension funds can raise annual employer rates when they need more money, CalSTRS requires legislation to raise rates.
The Legislature has begun public hearings to address a $71 billion funding gap in the pension system for K-14 teachers. Without an increase in contributions, CalSTRS predicts its assets will be depleted in about 30 years.
San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed is mounting a major attack on educators’ pensions. He has filed a voter initiative with the Secretary of State and may start collecting signatures in early 2014 to qualify it for the November ballot.
In a victory for part-time community college faculty enrolled in the CalSTRS retirement program, Gov. Brown signed into law CFT-sponsored SB 114 to correct the misreporting of retirement service credit.
The governor signed CFT-sponsored SB 114. Authored by Sen. Leland Yee (D-San Francisco), this bill helps correct misreporting of part-time faculty work to ensure the right amount of retirement service credit.
A new law passed in the final hours of the legislative session makes sweeping changes to public employee pensions that impose most of the changes on workers not yet hired, creating a two-tier system in the workplace where two groups of workers doing the same work receive different retirement benefits.
In 2012, CFT sponsored three bills that aim to improve the working conditions for part-timer faculty. What are the bills and how can they help you in the workplace? Find out in the recap below.
Teachers at Ohlone Elementary School were greatly relieved when Arysta LifeScience, a Japanese chemical company, announced on March 20 that it would no longer sell methyl iodide in the United States for use as a pesticide.