When You Retire


When You Retire
Helpful FAQ for union members readying for retirement

Learn how to stay involved with the union when you retire.

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 per capita affiliation fees 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 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 has a retiree chapter?

Numerous AFT local unions in California have retiree chapters. Find out if your local union has a retiree chapter here, look for a retiree chapter listing after your local union listing in our online directory or contact your local officers.

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 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 council 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! Local unions in Northern California may contact Northern Vice President Ann Killebrew for organizing assistance, and locals in the south may contact Southern Vice President Cecelia Boskin.

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 Retiree Chapter, Local 8004-R.

The chapter elects delegates to represent retiree interests at CFT Conventions. 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 Los Angeles County Office at 818-843-8226.