Fighting back after the Vergara decision
On June 10, a California Superior Court judge ruled in Vergara v. California that California's teacher tenure system violated the state constitution. In a message to members, AFT President Randi Weingarten and California Federation of Teachers President Joshua Pechthalt discussed the ramifications of the ruling and what the AFT is doing to fight back following the decision. They also are urging AFT members to sign a thank-you card to California teachers to let them know you honor their commitment and courage.
Read the full story at AFT.org
Senate holds hearing on Social Security office closures, service cuts
Earlier this month, the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging held a hearing to examine the impact of recent Social Security field office closures and service cuts. The hearing is the culmination of a bipartisan committee staff investigation into service reductions at the Social Security Administration, which comes at a time when baby boomers are filing record numbers of retirement, disability and survivor claims with the agency. Despite the rising demand, budget cuts have, in part, led the agency to close 64 field offices and 533 temporary mobile offices since 2010. But many beneficiaries don't want to seek out information online or on the phone, says Tammy DeLong, a Medicare specialist for the Aroostook Area Agency on Aging in Presque Isle, Maine. "They want to sit and talk to someone in person, where they are a name and not just a number, which is why the local Social Security office is so important."
Read more at AFT.org
Click here to tell Congress, "Keep our Social Security offices open, and fully fund the Social Security Administration"
Ask 'Dear Marci'
In this month's "Dear Marci," Thompson asks: "I wear glasses and need to get my eyes checked every year. I am about to become eligible for Medicare. Does Medicare pay for routine eye care?"
See what Marci has to say
Carol Keiser is a 2014 Everyday Hero
The votes are in and Carol Keiser, a retired teacher from the Rhode Island Federation of Teachers and Health Professionals retiree chapter, has been named this year's AFT retiree Everyday Hero for her commitment to mentoring new teachers and helping to build her local's retiree chapter. She will be honored in July along with eight other extraordinary union members from other AFT divisions at the national convention in Los Angeles. "These awardees are but a small sample of the tens of thousands of everyday heroes who educate our children, protect our communities, keep our families healthy and dedicate their lives to the service of others," says AFT President Randi Weingarten.
Read about our heroes
Thinking of co-signing a loan? Think again
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau recently issued a report on student loans, highlighting complaints from borrowers of private loans, which don't offer the same protections as federal loans. According to the report, many private student loan contracts include an option for lenders to demand the full balance of a loan when a borrower's co-signer has died or filed for bankruptcy. Complaints from private student loan borrowers suggest that industry participants are automatically placing loans in default—even when a borrower is paying as agreed. That is why Washington Post columnist Michelle Singletary doesn't recommend co-signing. "How crazy is that?" Singletary writes. "Someone is paying the loan as agreed. The co-signer dies or files for bankruptcy. Now the borrower is in financial trouble if he or she can't come up with money to pay off the loan."
Read Singletary's column
Check out the CFPB's report
Who stood up for retirees?
The Alliance for Retired Americans has released a report detailing the voting record of every U.S. representative and senator on key issues affecting current and future retirees.
The voting record examined 10 key Senate votes and 10 key House votes in 2013, showing the roll calls on issues such as:
• raising the retirement age and creating fast-track cuts to Social Security;
• privatizing Medicare;
• limiting voters' rights; and
• repealing the Affordable Care Act, which would take away some gains for seniors and Medicare beneficiaries in terms of coverage and benefits.
Review the voting record
AFT retirees to meet in Los Angeles
The 2014 AFT Retirees Conference will be held July 10-11, 2014, at the Los Angeles Convention Center as part of the AFT convention, which is set for July 11-14. This year's keynote address will be given by Rich Fiesta, executive director of the national Alliance for Retired Americans. The conference will include workshops on reclaiming the promise of a secure retirement, including sessions on building a dynamic retiree chapter, community engagement, and 2014 election issues and the senior vote. Look for coverage of the meeting in the next retiree e-newsletter.
For the latest details, visit our 2014 convention page