When You Retire


How to Remain a Union Member When You Retire
An FAQ for members readying for retirement

How do I remain a CFT/AFT member when I retire?

If you are a union member at the time of your retirement, you are a member for life. Membership is free for retirees.

But check with the president or treasurer of your AFT local union to make sure the local keeps you on the membership roster when you retire. Remind the officers that the local union does not pay dues for retirees

The local union must keep you on the membership list as an Active Retiree so that you remain on CFT and AFT mailing lists. You will then continue to receive newsletters and have access to other benefits of union membership. 

What if my local has a Retiree Chapter?

If your AFT local has a retiree chapter, the local may switch your designation to the retiree chapter. Some larger locals have well-established retiree chapters, others have smaller more informal retiree chapters. A retiree chapter is indicated with an R at the end of the local number, for example AFT Local 2121-R.

The retiree chapter may charge very minimal dues, or a small annual fee. Retirees find this small cost is easily offset by the benefit of belonging to a group of like-minded former colleagues.

What are the benefits of belonging to the union as a retiree?

  • Continued access to the union’s membership benefits through the AFT+ program
  • Regular communications from the state and national unions, including stories specifically about retiree issues in the newsletters CFT United and AFT Retirees
  • Staying current on union positions regarding local, state, and national issues of interest, including elections 
  • Membership in the California Alliance for Retired Americans

There are additional benefits when you belong to a Retiree Chapter.

  • Continued connection to your former local union and social activities with former colleagues
  • Representation at CFT Convention and AFT Convention
  • Political action to protect our pensions and retiree healthcare benefits
  • Structured support for the organizing and contract campaigns of our active local unions
  • Connections to community service and other unions in your area

What if my local’s Retiree Chapter is no longer active?

Consider reaching out to other retirees to see if they’d like to help reactivate your retiree chapter. If you would like assistance from the Council of Retired Members, we can arrange for a meeting with one or more of the CRM officers to discuss ideas for how to get the chapter functioning again.

Can I help start a Retiree Chapter?

Yes! We would love to help you and your local union! Learn how to start organizing a retiree chapter here.

What if I am a CFT member-at-large when I retire?

Some educators choose to be members-at-large of the CFT, making them members of AFT Local 8004. If you are a member-at-large at the time of your retirement, you will automatically become a member of the CFT Member-at-Large Retired Chapter, Local 8004-R.

The chapter elects delegates to represent retiree interests at CFT Convention. Chapter members may also run for office in the Council of Retired Members, the CFT’s retiree division.

Still need help with your membership status?

If you still have questions about your membership status, please email the CFT Membership Department, or phone the department at our CFT Administrative Office in Burbank, 818-843-8226.