Retiree activism: One of the union’s greatest resource
AFT retirees met in Washington, D.C., in November to learn how they can strengthen retiree chapters, actively engage members, and build coalitions with their local communities. The AFT has recognized the power of community alliances, but it’s important to continue building strong retiree chapters too, Sam Luebke, an AFT deputy director of organizing and field services, told retirees. “Having one-on-one contact moves people to join a movement. If you can get teachers and parents saying the same thing, it’s an alliance that can’t be broken. Retirees can play a direct role in meeting that goal.”
The two-day conference also focused on pensions, social media, voter protection, community engagement, and organizing around legislative and political issues.
Read the full story at AFT.org
Weingarten tops list of key pension players
Institutional Investor has put AFT President Randi Weingarten first in its inaugural ranking of the 40 most influential players in the fight for—and against—defined benefit pensions. Weingarten tops the list for her determination to see that AFT members retire with their pension security intact. AFT members participate in pension plans with more than $1.5 trillion in assets. These deferred wages provide a secure retirement for millions of families. Weingarten regards the push away from defined benefit pensions and toward defined contribution plans as especially dangerous because it puts the risk of investing and possibly outliving their retirement savings completely on the shoulders of individual workers. As a source of long-term capital, defined benefit plans also make critical investments in our economy, including rebuilding our nation's infrastructure.
Read more at AFT.org
Watch an interview on the topic on CNBC
Mobilizing for a National Day of Action on Dec. 9
AFT affiliates and their community partners are gearing up for a Dec. 9 National Day of Action to Reclaim the Promise of Public Education. In cities across the country, educators, parents, students, faith leaders, community activists and others will be coming together to push for reforms designed to reclaim the promise of public education as our nation's gateway to democracy and racial and economic justice. The National Day of Action—coordinated public actions organized by community and union partners in cities across the country—is the first step in coordinating and amplifying our voices, to be followed by multicity and multistate campaigns and larger actions in the spring.
Learn more about the events
AFT pledges disaster relief for the Philippines
The entire AFT family is heartbroken by the loss of life and devastation caused by Super Typhoon Haiyan and recent tornadoes in the Midwest.
The Philippines now faces the daunting task of rebuilding communities left without essentials such as food, shelter, clean water, schools, healthcare, power and transportation. The AFT will actively solicit volunteers to assist in relief efforts, accept contributions for the Philippines recovery through the AFT Disaster Relief Fund, and set up a toll-free hotline and an emergency email address to assist in any way we possibly can. For more information, call 888-238-2011 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hundreds of thousands were impacted by the tornadoes that cut a path through the Midwest on November 17, including more than 800 members of the Illinois Federation of Teachers. Washington, Ill., a community of 15,000 near Peoria, was devastated, with more than 120 people injured, at least one reported killed, and as many as 500 homes and buildings lost in the tornado ravaged community. The AFT is responding to this tragedy through the AFT Disaster Relief Fund and needs your help. Use this link to make your contributions for Midwest recovery.
Ask 'Dear Marci'
This month Kristoff writes: "I just received a notice from my Medicare Advantage plan, called an Annual Notice of Change. What is an Annual Notice of Change?"
See what Marci has to say
Make your voice heard as Congress debates budget
As we head toward the Dec. 13 deadline for a federal budget deal, conservative Republicans already are signaling that they want to put 99 percent of Americans on the chopping block while protecting the wealthy and corporations. We need to weigh in on key decisions affecting our economy and our nation, and to urge Congress to invest in public education, healthcare and other domestic programs. That means repealing the harsh cuts we saw during the first year of sequestration; protecting Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid from benefit cuts; and ending tax breaks to companies for sending their business overseas.
Tell your members of Congress we need a fair budget deal
Alliance salutes veterans all across the country
The Alliance for Retired Americans and its coalition partners held several events around Veterans Day to honor and thank those who served in the U. S. armed forces. The events were also used to draw attention to the fact that veterans would be negatively affected by the proposed chained CPI cost-of-living adjustment (photo credit: AFL Wisconsin). More events are expected to take place before Dec. 13, when a House-Senate conference committee is charged with reaching a budget compromise. "The chained CPI is a benefit cut that affects Social Security beneficiaries as well as those who receive veterans' disability benefits and military pensions," says ARA President Barbara Easterling. "Because of the number of programs that would be subject to the chained CPI, veterans would receive double, triple or more hits."
Read more about ARA events