Retired Educators Keep up the Fight for COLA Heading to Election Day, Despite Low Voter Turnout

With only a few days left until Election Day on Nov. 7, retired educators have been busy getting out the vote for Proposition 9, which will provide some retired educators with their first pension cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) in nearly two decades. Early voting began last Monday, and retirees have been busy making calls, sending texts, greeting voters at the polls, and spreading their message to the news media.

But retirees can’t do it alone. If this long-awaited cost-of-living adjustment is to pass, everyone needs to go out and vote.

As of Thursday, Nov. 2, after nearly two weeks of early voting, only 4.4% of registered Texas voters have cast a ballot for Proposition 9. 

While the passage of this COLA would benefit all those who retired before Aug. 31, 2020, a strong showing at the polls in support of Prop 9 will undoubtedly increase the likelihood of COLAs being offered to retirees in the future. While retirees have been showing up to the Capitol for years, now is an opportunity for all of Texas to show up for them.

During these next few days, can you take some time to help us get out the vote by taking the list actions below?

Texas AFT’s Statewide Advocacy Day on Nov. 4

In order to ramp up turnout on Nov. 7, which is Election Day and, thus, the last day to cast a ballot for COLA, active and retired Texas AFT members will be making calls this Saturday, Nov. 4, from 2-4 p.m. CT. 

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 participants will meet at the Texas Gulf Coast Area Labor Federation at 2506 Sutherland St, Houston, TX.
  • Corpus Christi area participants will meet at the Corpus Christi AFT office at 4455 S Padre Island Dr, #48, Corpus Christi, TX.
  • San Antonio area participants will meet at the Northside AFT office at 6502 Bandera Road, Suite 202, San Antonio, TX.
  • Dallas area participants will meet at the Alliance/AFT office at 334 Centre St, Dallas, TX.

Texas AFT’s last statewide texting event on Zoom featuring Congressman Vicente Gonzalez

At 6 p.m. CT, 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. 

This week, Texas AFT members sent nearly 50,000 texts to registered voters who have not yet cast their ballots. On Wednesday alone, our retirees sent over 20,000 texts in less than 30 minutes. We need your help to increase that volume headed into Election Day.

Greet Voters at the Polls on Election Day

In addition to our virtual texting actions, on Election Day, Texas AFT Retiree Plus members will be greeting voters at the polls and encouraging them to support Proposition 9. We encourage you to join them!

Retirees in the news

With COLA prominently placed on the statewide ballot, Texas retired educator struggles have gained attention in the news media. Texas AFT Retiree Plus members have been sharing their stories across a variety of different publications and forms of media: 

Proposition 9: A beacon of hope for financially strained retired Texas teachers, featuring Texas AFT Retiree Plus member Lydia Carrillo-Valdez (Bexar County Federation of Teachers).

Retired teachers count on Texas voters for first cost-of-living increase in years, featuring Texas AFT Retiree Plus members Bob Gibbons (Education Austin) and Becky Bennett (Bastrop Federation of Teachers).

Retired Texas teachers could get pay raise if voters approve Proposition 9, featuring Texas AFT Retiree Plus member Sonja Pace (Southwest Dallas AFT).

Retired teachers hoping to get change in pay to combat rising cost of living, featuring Texas AFT Retiree Plus members Linda White and Elaine Jones (Corpus Christi AFT).