A Message From the President
State of the (NEA-Retired) Union
Barbara Matteson email@example.com
I’m pleased to report that the state of the NEA-Retired Union is fantastic. Our final 2005-06 membership was 275,595, an increase of 25,668 members. It’s our largest-ever annual increase and makes us the fastest growing segment of NEA.
Membership numbers alone don’t show the progress we’ve made. Look at the NEA-Retired Grant Program. In 2006, we awarded nearly $150,000 in grants to 40 state programs—$25,000 more than the previous year—and the approved 2006-08 budget has additional grant funds.
The increased National Program budget allows us to create and sustain programs that Retired members want. The regional conference budget also increased, reflecting our tremendous growth over the last five years. In 2000, we served 140 participants at each regional meeting; last year, we served close to 250 at each meeting!
Our brand new NEA-Retired Intergenerational Mentoring Toolkit, which is going to press as I write, is evidence of our commitment to intergenerational mentoring. We’ve conducted training sessions at past regional meetings, and six trainers will be available to help the states launch their own programs. Look for a feature on how retired teachers share their hard-earned wisdom with young teachers through intergenerational mentoring in an upcoming issue .
Political advocacy has helped position NEA-Retired as a key organization for NEA. Last year we placed more than 20 Retired volunteer campaign coordinators in 13 states and helped score some major victories on November 7.
Just because the ’06 elections are over does not mean that our advocacy work stops! We must keep an eye on state governments that are gearing up to change defined benefit programs. And we must continue to fight against privatization of Social Security and work to repeal the WEP-GPO. We can help save secure retirements for millions of Americans. That’s how strong our union is.