It is 12 noon on Friday and the California Alliance of Retired Americans is ready to Zoom. Scores of CARA members from San Diego to San Francisco are gathered around home computers, ready for the next best thing to an in-person meeting.
By Susan Morgan, President, AFT Local 1931 Retiree
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.
By Dennis Cox, Southern Vice President, Council of Retired
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
CFT has formed a new division welcoming retiree
participation and action, the Council of Retired Members. It is
the first constitutional division the union has added in several
decades. The Council elected its first officers at CFT
Convention on March 20.
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.
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.”