Retired Educators Hit the Polls to Win First Pension COLA in Nearly 2 Decades

This week — the first week of early voting in Texas’ statewide constitutional elections — retired educators across Texas showed up at the polls in force in support of Proposition 9, which will provide some retired educators with their first pension cost-of-living adjustment (COLA). Our Texas AFT Retiree Plus activists across the state are making calls, sending texts, and greeting voters at the polls to push Prop 9 across the finish line. 

But if we’re going to win this COLA, everyone needs to get out to vote — not just retirees. As of Thursday morning, across Texas, only 214,925 people have voted, a little over 1% of all registered voters across Texas.

On Monday, Texas AFT’s own Lydia Carrillo-Valdez spoke at a rally in support of Prop 9 hosted by Sen. José Menéndez, joined by fellow San Antonio legislators Rep. Josey Garcia and Rep. Liz Campos. Carrillo-Valdez, who taught for nearly three decades before retiring in 2014, bravely shared her own experiences and why fighting for a COLA was important to her. After the rally, participants walked over en masse to the polling place to vote.

Up until Election Day, retirees will be texting their peers to encourage them to vote for Proposition 9. This week, our retirees sent 30,000 text messages to voters across Texas, which was more than double the 15,000 texts that we sent last week.  

At 6 p.m. CT on Monday, Nov. 6, the day before Election Day, Congressman Vicente Gonzalez (D-McAllen) will join us as a special guest for our virtual Zoom textbank. Gonzalez has sponsored multiple bills to address the WEP/GPO issue that curtails retired educators’ Social Security benefits. Gonzalez will discuss WEP/GPO repeal and reform, as well as other issues before Congress.

Join us for all of our statewide texting actions on Zoom:

  • Wednesday, Nov. 1 from 6-7 p.m. CT
  • Monday, Nov. 6 from 6-7 p.m. CT | with special guest Congressman Vicente Gonzalez Jr. 

In addition to our virtual texting actions, throughout the early voting period and especially on Election Day, Texas AFT Retiree Plus members will be greeting voters at the polls and encouraging them to support Proposition 9.

Sign up to poll greet during early voting and on Election Day

On Nov. 4, the Saturday before Election Day, Texas AFT Retiree Plus Members will host events in their communities from 2-4 p.m CT., joining with their colleagues across the state via Zoom to phonebank in a final GOTV push.

Anyone can join the event via Zoom, but retirees in certain areas across the state will be gathering in their local union offices to make calls together at a single location. The unions listed below will be meeting at a central location to make calls together from 2-4 p.m. CT Saturday Nov. 4.

  • Houston area retirees will meet at the Texas Gulf Coast Area Labor Federation at 2506 Sutherland St, Houston, TX.
  • Corpus Christi retirees will meet at the Corpus Christi AFT office at 4455 S Padre Island Dr, #48, Corpus Christi, TX.
  • San Antonio retirees will meet at the Northside AFT office at 6502 Bandera Road, Suite 202, San Antonio, Texas.
  • More locations will be confirmed soon!

Sign up for Texas AFT’s Statewide Advocacy Day on Nov. 4

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