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AFT Retirees

Going down the same road with

the Ryan 2015 budget

Ryan budgetOn April 1, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) introduced "The Path to Prosperity," his 2015 budget proposal. It's a road we've been down before. Once again, Rep. Ryan has proposed converting Medicare into a voucher program, in which Medicare recipients would receive a set amount of money to help them purchase coverage from a private insurance company or from traditional Medicare. As a result, older beneficiaries would likely choose to stay under the traditional Medicare plan, while many younger, healthier people would opt for the private plans, weakening traditional Medicare. In addition, Ryan has proposed raising the age of Medicare eligibility from 65 to 67 and making middle-class beneficiaries pay higher premiums. Although the budget has been passed by the U.S. House of Representatives, Senate leaders have said they do not plan to vote on the measure because  last year’s budget agreement has already set spending levels for the 2015 fiscal year.

Read the full story at AFT.org

Read "9 Reasons Why We're Giving a 'Thumbs Down' to the Ryan Budget" from the AFL-CIO

Sign the Medicare Rights Center petition rejecting the Ryan budget

The real retirement crisis

older coupleIn her latest column appearing in the New York Times, AFT President Randi Weingarten discusses "the real retirement crisis": the fact that most Americans lack the essential elements of a secure retirement—pensions and adequate savings. "They’ll depend on Social Security to stave off poverty once they stop working, and it will not be enough," Weingarten writes. America must confront retirement insecurity, a crisis that has been shamefully underreported, Weingarten notes in her column. Much more common are assertions that public employee defined benefit plans are unaffordable. In reality, defined benefit plans not only help keep retirees out of poverty, every $1 in pension benefits generates $2.37 in economic activity in communities. Confronting this issue requires going well beyond maintaining the modest, hard-won retirement benefits that too few workers currently have, says Weingarten. (Photo by Garry Knight/Flickr)

Read the full column to learn more about confronting this crisis

Ask 'Dear Marci'

In this month's "Dear Marci," Guy writes: "My doctor recently suggested that I seek out services like group therapy to help with my depression. Does Medicare cover mental health care like group therapy?"

See what Marci has to say

Mobilizing for quality services and equity

RTPIn May, the AFT, joined by affiliates and individual members, will be taking the next step in the fight to reclaim the promise of high-quality public services, public schools, higher education and healthcare. Affiliates across the country will be mobilizing and focusing attention on the urgent need to restore equity to national, state and local policies. Members will join with the community to reclaim the promise and push forward solutions that are right for our communities and for the future of our country. Activities will be organized around an issue tied to reclaiming the promise. Also, on May 17, the nation will mark the 60th anniversary of the Supreme Court's decision in Brown v. Board of Education. Many AFT affiliates will participate in celebrations of that ruling, which established the legal right to equal access to education.

Read more about Reclaiming the Promise

Court hears closing arguments in Vergara lawsuit

Attorneys delivered closing arguments on March 27 in Vergara v. California, a widely watched case that miscasts teachers as the problem, rather than a trusted part of the solution, when it comes to improving schools. The case was brought by Students Matter, a nonprofit created by wealthy Silicon Valley investors who have thus far been thwarted in securing their ideologically-tinged agenda at the ballot box and in the Legislature. Now, these interests have turned to the courts, armed with a lawsuit that betrays a "fundamental disconnect" between their agenda and the community when it comes to teachers and public schools, AFT president Randi Weingarten points out.

“Research and polling show that parents and community members believe the true trials students face are poverty, segregation, lack of funding and resources, and violence at home and at school," Weingarten said. "They don’t believe that teachers are the problem, and they actually trust teachers the most to help their children and to scale up and sustain solutions to reclaim the promise of public education."

Read Weingarten's statement on the case

Get Vergara background and updates

Chavez

New film honors Cesar Chavez's legacy as labor pioneer

If there was ever a hero for the labor movement, it was Cesar Chavez. Now the legendary activist's story is on film in "Cesar Chavez: History Is Made One Step at a Time," which hit theaters on March 28. It tells the story of Chavez's relentless commitment to migrant laborers, his personal sacrifice for civil rights, his determination in founding what became the United Farm Workers union, and his struggle to balance family responsibilities with activism. "We want people to come out of the theater knowing that one person can make a difference," says Christine Chavez, one of Cesar Chavez's granddaughters.

Read more

See the trailer

Celebrating Older Americans Month

Older Americans MonthMay is Older Americans Month—a month dedicated to appreciating and celebrating older adults—which is sponsored every year by the U.S. Administration for Community Living. This year's theme is "Safe Today. Healthy Tomorrow." The focus is on injury prevention, including fire, motor vehicle and consumer product safety; improper use of medicine; and more. Falls are the leading cause of both fatal and nonfatal injuries for those aged 65 and older. More than 21,700 older adults die from falls each year, and every 15 seconds, an older adult is seen in an emergency room for a fall-related injury. Yet, falls are not a normal part of aging, and they can be prevented through a combination of interventions, including regular exercise, getting a fall risk assessment, reviewing medications, having vision and hearing checked, and making the home environment safe. 

More tips are available from the National Council on Aging

April2014

In This Issue

Ryan budget seeks to dismantle programs for seniors

The real retirement crisis

Mobilizing for quality services and equity

All eyes on Vergara

Celebrating Older Americans

Your Union Power - Everyday

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