Texas Border Business
In the fall of 2018, Texas AFT, a union for public-education employees across the state, created a new arm, Texas AFT Retiree Plus.
“Too many retirees were feeling left behind,” said Ray McMurrey, treasurer of Texas AFT. “The political system in Austin failed our retired educators as they were being asked to pay more for less on a fixed income. Our goal is to be a strategic agent for advancing the agenda for retired educators.”
Texas AFT Retiree Plus has established three priorities:
- To secure the TRS defined benefit plan for all public-education retirees in the state, as well as a long-overdue cost-of-living increase
- To fight for a rollback of affordable health care for public-education retirees after this was taken from them during the 2017 Legislative Session.
- On the federal level, to fight for Social Security Fairness and the repeal of the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) and the Government Pension Offset (GPO), both of which unfairly penalize teachers, firefighters, police officers, and other workers in 15 states in the nation (including Texas), forcing them to pay into Social Security while working side jobs yet drastically reducing their benefits because they earn a pension.
Membership in Texas AFT Retiree Plus is just $2.00 per month. Members may also donate any amount each month to the Texas AFT Retiree Plus Committee on Public Education (COPE), which enables the group to support political candidates who fight for issues important to retired educators.
All retired educators in the state of Texas—teachers, bus drivers, administrators, cafeteria workers, secretaries, librarians, custodians, sign-language interpreters, counselors, maintenance staff, cafeteria staff, and all others—are eligible and welcome to join Texas AFT Retiree Plus, regardless of which union or association they belonged to while working. There is power in numbers, and activists never retire.
“The goals of Texas AFT Retiree Plus can be accomplished through increased activism from retirees,” said Cheryl Anderson, chair of the organization. “The best thing we can do is VOTE and ensure our elected officials are willing to advocate for retirees’ needs.”
To join Texas AFT Retiree Plus, go to texasaft.org. Click on “Join the Union,” and then click on “Retiree Membership.”
Texas AFT has local charters in McAllen, La Joya, Edinburg, and PSJA, as well as one that is currently forming in Brownsville. Texas AFT Retiree Plus members are meeting in McAllen in preparation for the 2020 elections, the Social Security Fairness Act, and the 2021 Texas Legislative Session. To learn more, contact McAllen AFT Retiree Representative Chris Ardis at firstname.lastname@example.org