TRIF retirees rally with Florida educators to secure critical education funding
The term "solidarity forever" gained new meaning this fall when Retiree Council 43, Teacher Retirees in Florida/Space Coast, joined the Brevard Federation of Teachers to successfully rally for a pro-education half-cent tax increase.
"Retirees are the daytime army in New York, so it was an opportunity to be the daytime army for the Brevard teachers," said Deb Peterson, RC 43 and TRIF/SC president.
Peterson and Maxine Knisley, TRIF/SC secretary, participated in the rally. "As Florida residents and retired educators, we want to use our union expertise to help out educators in our community."
Brevard County voters in November approved the tax hike to avoid the possibility of school closures. The Brevard County School District was forced to close three schools in 2013 because of a lack of funding after voters turned down the half-penny tax hike proposal in 2012. Two more schools were threatened with closure if the measure did not pass this year.
The helping hand of NYSUT's retirees, who number 9,000 throughout Florida, is particularly important. Florida is a right-to-work state, where union membership, and payment of union dues, is not mandated.
"They don't have the same participation level within their union, so it's a boost when they can get outside help," Peterson said.
The TRIF/SC and BFT relationship has been growing since 2007 after the retirees created the Virginia King Early Education Launch Award, an annual $250 scholarship named in honor of a founding member and given to a first-year BFT early education teacher. The BFT's current president, Jennifer Stokes, was the first scholarship recipient.
In the years since, TRIF/SC retirees have helped lobby for BFT school budgets, joined the BFT in protests and forged a relationship with BFT's retiree group.
Happy Birthday Medicare!
Did you know that Medicare turns 50 in 2015? The program was signed into law on July 30, 1965 by President Lyndon B. Johnson to ensure that citizens aged 65 and older had health care coverage. Previously, nearly half of all seniors had no health insurance or inadequate coverage. NYSUT and the Alliance for Retired Americans have launched a yearlong campaign to promote strengthening Medicare and defend it against privatization.
"We're committed to ensuring that future generations have access to this valuable program," said Paul Pecorale, NYSUT vice president who oversees the retiree program. Campaign actions include letters to the editor, opinion pieces in various publications, petitions and a postcard campaign. Visit www.retiredamericans.org.
DID YOU KNOW
NYSUT Retiree Services consultants serve as resources to retired members, retiree councils and in-service locals on NYSUT retiree matters.
David Cantor, Retiree Council 14-16
Judy D. Kalb, RC 43
561-994-4929, ext. 129
TBD, RC 1-3, 44
Kathleen Lyons, RC 17-19
Barbara McCarthy, RC 9 & 10
Louise Ortman, RC 4 & 46
Joan Perrini, RC 20-23
Peter Randazzo, RC 5 & 6
Meryl Sasnowitz, RC 11 & 45
Jennifer Shaad-Derby, RC 12 & 13
Anne Marie Voutsinas, RC 7 & 8
NYSUT 2015 Regional Retiree Conference Calendar
RC 12 — May 7, Glen Sanders Mansion, Scotia Retiree Services Consultant: Jennifer Shaad Derby
RC 10 — May 14, NYSUT headquarters, Latham Retiree Services Consultant: Barbara McCarthy
RC 4 & 46 — May 27, Radisson Hotel, Corning
Retiree Services Consultant: Louise Ortman
RC 1, 2, 3 & 44 — May 28, Ramada Hotel and Conference Center, Getzville Retiree Services Consultant: TBD
RC 11 & 45 — June 2, The Hathaway House, Solon Retiree Services Consultant: Meryl Sasnowitz
RC 7 & 8 — TBA Retiree Services Consultant: Anne Marie Voutsinas