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As a new member of Texas AFT Retiree Plus, you belong to the most active organization defending retired school employees in this state. Texas AFT values and respects all retired employees enrolled in the Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS). We firmly believe your pension and health care are worth protecting. By becoming a member of Texas AFT Retiree Plus, you too have decided to do your part. As the Texas Legislature has stepped up its attacks on retirees in recent years, we saw a growing need to organize and form a strong organization committed to retirees.
The formation of Texas AFT Retiree Plus assures that retirement issues will be placed on the front burner of state advocacy. Retired school employees deserve a full-time advocate willing to take a stand for retired workers.
Working toward a fair pension
Photo: Texas Tribune/Bob Daemmrich
More than 17 years has passed since the state of Texas delivered TRS pension recipients an across the board annuity increase, or cost of living adjustment including all retirees. (A 2013 increase only affected those who retired before 2004, and it was capped at $100/month. Those retiring after that date have never received an increase.)
Economic hardship is the result for many retirees facing rising inflation on a fixed income. Equally important to retirees is protecting affordable and accessible health care through TRS-Care. Over the last few years, retired school employees witnessed an attack on their health care—rising premiums and deductibles and shrinking benefits. These are the realities that prompted the formation of Texas AFT Retiree Plus.
During 2018, the Texas AFT Retiree Plus members organized and attended all TRS Board meetings. In June, 2018, our members and leaders held a major press conference outside of the TRS administration building in Austin that attracted major media coverage. The event drew retired educators from across Texas and spiked interest regarding the proposed rate of return on TRS investments and rising health care costs for TRS Care members. Shortly after, Lt. Governor Dan Patrick wrote the TRS Board of Trustees and recommended halting the proposed premium increase targeted for January 2019. Our members should be given tremendous credit for high- lighting these issues and stopping the proposed increase. Halting this increase saved retirees $50.00 per month or $600.00 annually.
Here comes the Legislature
The 86th Texas Legislature will formally begin its biennial regular session on Tuesday, January 8, 2019. There is high interest and much discussion about funding priorities for the session. Will there be new revenue? Will we see increased contributions to TRS?
Texas AFT Retiree Plus will be advocating and lobbying on your behalf. In fact, we are planning a large pro public education March on the Capitol on Monday, March 11, 2019. The Texas AFT Retiree Plus members are invited to join us in Austin! Our goal is to have thousands of Texans turn out and your participation is appreciated. You can RSVP on Facebook here.
Election brings good news
There is some good news after the November 2018 elections. We believe The Texas House of Representatives and the Texas Senate each saw new members elected who will stand with retired school employees. It is the responsibility of us all to now hold our elected officials accountable in the 86th Texas Legislative session. Texas AFT publishes a comprehensive daily report on the events of the session pertaining to public education and TRS called the “Legislative Hotline”. Click the link above to sign up for the Hotline. This regular briefing will provide a succinct explanation of events as the session progresses.
Meet your fearless leaders
Congratulations and much thanks to Cheryl Anderson and Aretta Runnels. Cheryl is a retired teacher from Houston ISD and member of the Houston Federation of Teachers. She has been elected to Chair the Texas AFT Retiree Committee and currently leads the Texas AFT Retiree Plus organization. Aretta Runnels, a retired teacher and school administrator from Cypress-Fairbanks serves as the organization’s new Secretary. She currently is a retired member of Cy-Fair AFT. These two leaders have been busy with the formation of the new organization. Their work and dedication is appreciated by all. The two elected officers of the Texas AFT Plus may be contacted at:
Pass this on and get your friends to join!
Joining Texas AFT Retiree Plus is easy and low-cost. We want to keep in mind the financial needs of retirees. The dues are only $2.00 per month, with a voluntary option to donate to our PAC., which is called COPE (The Committee on Political Education). This allows us to lobby for a stronger TRS where all members benefit. Also, those members joining Texas AFT Retiree Plus who identify with a local Texas AFT affiliate, where perhaps you were once a member, will see dues dollars return to your local and region. However, membership is open to all retirees in Texas. It is for former Texas AFT members and any retired school employee who may have belonged to another employee association during their career. Help us spread the work and build this movement for retired educators!