Day of Action: Thousands of NEA-Retired Members Demand Fair Retirement Benefits
NEA-Retired members across the country joined together in a Day of Action, giving Congress an earful about the need for better Social Security benefits for public servants. On May 24, members sent 6,200 emails and made 486 phone calls to Congress.
And some members went straight to the seat of power. NEA-Retired organized some 50 virtual meetings in which retired educators met with congressional staff, speaking up loud and clear about the need to repeal the Government Pensions Offset (GPO) and the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP). As part of the Social Security Act, these measures unfairly reduce or eliminate Social Security benefits for millions of Americans who have devoted their careers to public service.
NEA-Retired delivered this message to Congress: Bring the “Social Security 2100 Act: A Sacred Trust” to a vote! Stop penalizing public servants by doing away with GPO and WEP.
GPO reduces by two-thirds the benefits received by a surviving spouse who also collects a government pension.
And WEP currently reduces earned Social Security benefits for people who also receive a public pension from a job not covered by Social Security, such as a part-time or summer job.
As a result of the Day of Action, the chairs of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, Congressional Black Caucus, Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, and the House Democratic Task Force on Aging sent a letter to U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi urging her to bring the Social Security 2100 Act to the House floor for a vote. Read the letter at bit.ly/GPOWEPLettertoCongress. At press time, a congressional committee was expected to consider and vote on GPO and WEP in July, for the first time in 30 years.
Raise Your Voice
Go to nea.org/GPO-WEP to contact your U.S. representative and demand the repeal of GPO and WEP through passage of the Social Security 2100 Act.
Retiree’s Therapy Dogs Bring Comfort to Young and Old
Alen Ritchie was a dedicated teacher in Redlands, Calif., for 40 years, and a passionate union member, serving in many leadership positions, including president of the Redlands Teachers Association, president of
CTA/NEA-Retired, and most recently as a member of the NEA-Retired Executive Council. Now he’s turning his passions to new projects: Elliott, an 8-year-old labradoodle and Juniper, a 15-month-old goldendoodle. He and his wife, Carolyn, have trained their dogs to become therapy dogs.
“We provide home obedience training, take them downtown … for socialization,” he says. “We also introduce them to loud noises, like motorcycles, fireworks, and dropped pans.”
The dogs visit nursing homes, children’s hospitals, and schools to help students who need social and emotional support.
“We like to have the student read to the dog, without adult intervention,” Ritchie says. “The dog never corrects mistakes!”
Retired teacher finds new home for children’s museum
Pat Longly, a retired teacher from Lexington, Neb., always loved taking her grandchildren to the closest children’s museum she could find. When she retired, it became her mission to open a children’s museum in her hometown. In 2019, after eight years of fundraising—and using a local library and church as temporary locations—she finally found a building to house the Dawson County Children’s Museum.
Her board of active and retired educators and other volunteers painted the walls and erected displays, such as a toddler area, a tea party center, and a tree house reading center. Then, this spring, the landlord raised the rent, forcing her to relocate again. In May, the museum reopened in a new location—an old Pizza Hut that volunteers again transformed into a safe place where young minds can flourish.