RTC December 2023 General Membership Meeting

To: UFT Retiree

Register Now for December RTC Meeting

Tuesday, December 19, 2023, at 10AM Las Vegas Time

Date: Tuesday, December 19, 2023

Start Time: 10 AM Vegas Time

Zoom Meeting Link: Attend virtual event

Zoom Dial-In Number:(646) 876-9923

We look forward to seeing you.

Tom Murphy
RTC Chapter Leader

Free At-Home COVID Tests Available for Home Delivery

As Americans prepare to gather for the winter holidays, the federal government is offering four
free at-home COVID tests per address through the mail. Tests can be ordered online at
www.covidtests.gov. .

The release of additional tests comes days ahead of Thanksgiving and the busy holiday
travel season, which has corresponded with a surge in coronavirus cases in recent years.
According to a recent survey, sixty one percent of Americans aged 65 years or older have already
gotten the updated COVID vaccine or plan to get the new vaccine. However, smaller percentages
of Americans overall say they plan to get the updated vaccine.

“Information is power,” said Joseph Peters, Jr., Secretary-Treasurer of the Alliance. “Having a
few COVID tests on hand is a good idea if you are going to be spending time with people who are
particularly vulnerable.

Messaage From Prez Mulgrew

This year, as Thanksgiving approaches, I am grateful to be part of this strong union whose members have made such a difference in the lives of the people they have served.

This past Saturday, we hosted our annual Thanksgiving Luncheon for 160 students living in temporary housing, including children from asylum-seeking families. Thanks to the generosity of UFT members, each child left with a new coat and other cold weather accessories, such as mittens, scarves and hats. Read the story about the luncheon and see more photos.

I hope you take this time to relax and enjoy with your families and close friends. I wish all of you a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Michael Mulgrew
Michael Mulgrew
UFT President

Plan To Join Our Next UFT Retiree Meeting

Plan To Join Our Next UFT Retiree Meeting.

RTC November 2023 General Membership Virtual Meeting

November 28, 2023

12:30 PM Vegas Time

This is a Hybrid Event

At the upcoming general membership meeting of the UFT Retired Teachers Chapter, you will hear the latest information about important issues facing the chapter and the union. UFT President Michael Mulgrew will speak. A representative from the Manhattan District Attorney’s office will also deliver a presentation on identity theft and elder scam awareness.

Important Student Loan Info

To AFT/UFT Members:

If you or a loved one has student debt, this might be the most important email you receive in 2023.

Spurred in no small part by the AFT’s relentless advocacy and litigation, to date the Biden administration has already approved $127 billion in targeted relief for nearly 3.6 million student loan borrowers. But the effort is massively complicated and filled with roadblocks from congressional Republicans, the Supreme Court and loan services, to name a few.

As you probably know, after a pause in the collection of student loans because of the COVID-19 pandemic, loan payments have resumed this fall. In conjunction with this resumption in payments, the Biden administration has made several improvements to the repayment system that can save borrowers money and make it easier to access programs such as Public Service Loan Forgiveness.

The AFT has developed resources to help our members navigate repayment and these savings opportunities, including our web resources and our student debt clinics.

In addition, the AFT has partnered with a public-benefit corporation, Summer, to help you find the best repayment options to fit your individual circumstances. It’s free to all AFT members. Please sign up using the access code below—but do it soon, because the deadline to take advantage of all available debt relief options is Dec. 31, 2023.

If you have student debt, you should at least look into this AFT member benefit. For example, Summer is helpful if:

You are just entering repayment.
You have been in repayment and want to take advantage of more-generous repayment options.
You need to know the new rules to count your hours for Public Service Loan Forgiveness.
You need to consolidate older loans to enable loan forgiveness or reduction.
When you register on the Summer website, you will be asked to show you are an AFT member by providing the unique 32-character key below. Just copy and paste it into the appropriate field when you register, then you’re on to managing your student loan payments, hassle free. It’s that easy.

Register now! Your registration key is FBCE8393-D4C7-D0F9-B4F6-D943D73153C2.

I know that returning to repayment on your student loans is stressful, and the AFT will continue to work with the Biden administration on other solutions for our members. In the meantime, I encourage you to take advantage of this free member benefit before the end-of-year deadline passes. Take advantage of this free member benefit now!

We will keep fighting—it’s a critical part of the work we do to make life better for our members, our students and our communities. The progress we’ve made on student debt relief is a prime example of what it means to be a union member and why elections matter.

In unity,
Randi Weingarten
AFT President

Oakland Athletics Coming To Vegas

Today marks a historic moment as the MLB unanimously greenlights the relocation of the Oakland Athletics to the vibrant city of Las Vegas. The Nevada State AFL-CIO is thrilled to extend a warm welcome to the A’s as they embark on their new journey to make Las Vegas their new home. For the first 112 years of our city’s existence there were no major pro sports teams and in the last 6 years alone, our players have managed to pull off 5 series championship finals—3 of which we’ve successfully won. This significant milestone gives Las Vegas a golden opportunity to not only add winning championship titles, but to also do well for our community.

Building a new stadium that meets the standards of a Major League Baseball team is a momentous undertaking that will utilize the construction and service trades for both the groundbreaking and the maintenance required. The Oakland A’s coming to Las Vegas is not just a sports story; it’s the chance to set a standard of economic growth that hardworking union members will benefit from. Among the standout initiatives the A’s have pledged are comprehensive benefits, paid time off, and ensuring a livable wage. The Athletics entered into a project labor agreement with the Southern Nevada Building Trades Unions to guarantee that the project would create good-paying union jobs for members, in addition to reaching a deal with Culinary Workers Union 226 to ensure that service workers who are employed by the stadium have the right to organize and negotiate union contracts.

The Athletics are not coming to Las Vegas only to play ball, they are coming to Las Vegas to be exceptional members of our community and be an integral part of what makes Las Vegas home.

Fight The Cuts To Public Education

To: All UFT/AFT Retirees:

On Election Day, voters across the country made clear that they want pro-public school candidates, not dividers. This didn’t surprise me. As I visit schools and talk with families, I routinely hear what’s on parents’ minds—access to safe and welcoming public schools where their kids can recover and thrive; praise for our Real Solutions for Kids and Communities campaign, which addresses loneliness and learning loss; and implementing well-rounded education that starts with literacy and hands-on, experiential learning. This requires us to invest in and strengthen our public schools.

This week, the extremist forces in the House of Representatives are about to do the opposite of all that, as they consider an education funding bill with massive cuts to the critical education programs students and educators depend on.
And many are, yet again, threatening a government shutdown if they don’t get these cuts.
It’s up to us to stop them. Write to your lawmakers and tell them to oppose the extreme House Republican funding bill. We need real solutions, not cuts.

If these Republicans get their way, this spending bill will:

Cut Title I funding by 80 percent, which could gut all programs for poor kids in America, including forcing a nationwide reduction of 220,000 teachers from classrooms serving low-income students; Eliminate programs for English language learners (Title III), supports for teachers (Title II-A), social and emotional learning grants, Promise Neighborhoods and magnet schools;
Cut funding for community schools—schools that serve not just students but their families;
Decimate funding for job training, cancer research, mental health initiatives, addressing the opioid crisis, eliminating HIV/AIDS, and more; and

Cut programs to support maternal health, eliminating programs that provide contraception and health services.

These extremist lawmakers should listen to their constituents. We cannot make deep cuts to Title I, public education and healthcare when kids and communities need these resources the most.

Tell Republicans in Congress to stop trying to pass an awful appropriations bill aimed at cutting funding for public education for our most vulnerable students.

Tell your lawmakers: It’s time to get to work and provide real solutions for kids and communities to help our kids and families thrive, not smears, divisiveness and fear.

In unity,
Randi Weingarten
AFT President

Reminder To Get Free Credit Monitoring Services

All UFT retirees who belong to the Teachers’ Retirement System have the chance to get free credit-monitoring services for two years. TRS offered this protection to our retirees in response to the TRS data breach in July.

Oct. 12 was the original deadline to enroll with Kroll for this service. However, you may still enroll by following the instructions below:

Call Kroll at 866-373-9057 and ask a representative to extend your activation deadline. Your new deadline for enrolling is Sunday, Nov. 13.

Allow two to three days for the extension to take effect.

Then, go to Kroll's enrollment web page to set up an account. You will need to enter the information from your notification letter (including your Kroll “Member Number”) when prompted.
Please note that TRS representatives cannot enroll you in these free services or extend your activation deadline. You must contact Kroll for assistance. Kroll representatives are available Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. EST, through Nov. 13. After this date, Kroll's representatives and its free protection services will longer be available to TRS retirees and payees.

House Speaker Takes Aim At Seniors

Alliance Statement on New House Speaker Mike Johnson’s “Debt Commission” Plan.

Rep. Mike Johnson (R-Louisiana) was elected speaker of the U.S. House,
winning the top job in a party-line vote and ending a standoff that had gone on for more than three weeks.

The Alliance For Retired Americans immediately issued a statement regarding both Johnson's
record of voting against older Americans’ best interests and his announcement that he plans to create a bipartisan "debt commission."

“House Speaker Mike Johnson isn’t a household name yet, but he’s made it clear that he has no
intention of protecting seniors,” said Richard Fiesta, Executive Director of the Alliance. “He has
taken dozens of votes that put the needs of drug corporations, Wall Street, and the wealthiest
Americans ahead of older Americans.”

“It’s outrageous that Johnson announced plans to create a so-called ‘debt commission’ during his
first speech as Speaker of the House,” Fiesta added. “The commission, which would meet behind
closed doors, is supposed to come up with schemes to cut the Social Security and Medicare
benefits Americans worked a lifetime to earn.”

Calling the plan for a Commission “undemocratic, dangerous, and cowardly,” Fiesta said that if
Speaker Johnson and his buddies want to come after Social Security, they should at least have
the guts to do so in public.

Johnson earned a 0% pro-retiree score in the Alliance’s Congressional Voting Record last year.
His lifetime voting record score is a pathetic 5%.

“Speaker Johnson earned those scores by voting AGAINST allowing Medicare to negotiate lower
drug prices, FOR raising the retirement age, FOR privatizing Social Security and Medicare, and
even AGAINST funding for Meals on Wheels,” Fiesta concluded. “Speaker Johnson is already off
to a horrific start. Seniors deserve better.”

Join Us On NewsGuard

Dear AFT Members:

I’m writing to let you know about two fantastic free resources for AFT members who are interested in media literacy, accurate and truthful information, and maintaining students’ academic integrity.

As educators, we experience the daily challenge of ensuring that our students have access to accurate and truthful information about many crucial subjects, including current events and history, developments in government and society, and the current state of scientific knowledge on questions that range from the COVID-19 pandemic to climate change. The internet and social media can be powerful virtual libraries for education, opening up new vistas of learning for our students—but only if students are empowered to be critical, knowledgeable consumers of the vast amount of material that is now available on those media. Now more than ever, media literacy skills are an essential part of becoming an educated person and a responsible and engaged citizen in our democracy. This is where NewsGuard, a leading anti-misinformation tool, will be a helpful resource.

We are also already seeing the first signs of the impact that artificial intelligence will have on teaching and learning. We face new challenges in confirming the academic integrity of the work that students submit as their own. We have seen how AI can accelerate the spread of disinformation and propaganda, which poses real threats to our democracy and to the transmission of knowledge in our classrooms. And those who don’t understand that education rests on the foundation of the teacher-student relationship are already speculating about how teaching could be done by computers using AI. This is where GPTZero, the leading AI identification platform, will be a helpful resource.

All AFT members and their students and families can sign up for free access to NewsGuard and GPTZero, which includes:

NewsGuard’s media literacy browser extension

NewsGuard’s “Disinformation Risk Briefings,” a weekly digest of the top misinformation and disinformation trends and narratives

GPTZero’s AI identification tool platform and pedagogical writing tools

Teachers continue to support incorporating new technology into the classroom, advocating for tools and safeguards like these so educators, parents, legislators and tech companies can better work together to ensure accountability and oversight. But with disinformation and potential abuse of AI running high, educators have identified an increasingly urgent need to propose solutions, including the expansion of media literacy and tools to detect the misuse of AI.

These solutions will encourage critical thinking, enhance the pursuit of knowledge, and sharpen the ability of students to think critically and recognize misinformation—all important skills for students to be successful in college, career and life.

Sign up to take advantage of the free resources from NewsGuard and GPTZero—and please share the link with your colleagues.

Thank you.

In unity,
Randi Weingarten

AFT President

Call To Action

Dear AFT Members:

Copy and paste this email to friends to spread the word:

Subject: Take Action: CONGRESS: No Cuts to Family-Supporting Programs


I took an action on Action Network called CONGRESS: No Cuts to Family-Supporting Programs.

Will you urge Congress to say no to extreme budget cuts that could hurt our families?

Working people deserve a budget that creates good jobs and protects families, not another shutdown.

Here are the top 10 proposed cruel cuts:

Rip $750 million away from Head Start programs, meaning 82,000 children will lose access to Head Start.

Cut 80% of programs that impact 26 million low-income students, slashing 226,000 teacher positions.

Eliminate programs that train workers for jobs and provide entry into the workforce for millions of workers.

Slash funding to the Women’s Bureau at the Department of Labor.

Cut nearly $100 million to the National Labor Relations Board, funding that holds big corporations accountable.

Cut substantial funding to agencies that protect our health and safety on the job.

Repeal parts of the bipartisan infrastructure law, cutting $103 billion and causing the immediate stoppage of infrastructure projects that help local communities.

Gut transportation funds that are building the infrastructure to make commuting more accessible and affordable and create hundreds of thousands of good jobs.

Slash critical safety resources while rebuilding low-income housing with little regard to health hazards and toxins, threatening the health of thousands of children.

Drastically reduce funds to programs that tackle poverty by providing nutrition to millions of families and children.

Can you join me and take action? Click here: https://act.aflcio.org/forms/say-no-to-extreme-cuts-that-could-hurt-our-families?source=email& .



Social Security To See Modest COLA Increase

Social Security Beneficiaries Will Receive a 3.2% COLA Increase in 2024

Social Security recipients will receive an annual cost-of-living adjustment of 3.2% for 2024, a
much smaller increase than the inflation-fueled boosts of the past two years, Social Security
Administration officials announced Thursday.

“The seventy-one million Americans who rely on their earned Social Security and Supplemental
Security Income benefits will undoubtedly benefit from this modest cost-of-living increase, but it is not enough,” said Richard Fiesta, Executive Director of the Alliance. “The increase amounts to an additional $59 per month for the average retired worker. A COLA increase is always welcome
news, but too many older Americans will continue to struggle to pay for basics like food, housing,
and prescription drugs.”

The $59 increase does not take into account that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
(CMS) announced the monthly Medicare Part A and B premiums for 2024 on Thursday, with the
costs set to go up by 6% next year. The premiums would increase by $9.80 from $164.90 to
$174.70 in 2024.

The annual deductible for Medicare Part B beneficiaries will go up from $226 to $240 as well. This
price increase comes after Medicare Part B premiums went down for the first time in more than 10
years in 2023.

Fiesta added that strengthening Social Security and increasing benefits is a must. If billionaires
and the wealthiest Americans paid their fair share into the system, we could afford to increase
benefits across the board and ensure Social Security is there for future generations.

“What we don’t need are the dangerous proposals tossed around by many Republicans in
Congress and on the presidential campaign to gut the benefits we’ve earned over a lifetime of
work,” he concluded. “Schemes to raise the retirement age, cut benefits or privatize Social
Security are unacceptable. Retirees should pay close attention and make sure they support
candidates who will protect the benefits they earn, not slash them.”

Ten Drug Corporations Meet Medicare Drug Price Negotiation Deadline

The manufacturers of the ten high-priced drugs selected for the first round of Medicare drug price
negotiations all formally agreed to negotiate by the October deadline although several said they
were doing so ‘under duress.”

Separately, a conservative federal court judge on Friday denied the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's
bid for a preliminary injunction against the Inflation Reduction Act's Drug Price Negotiation
Program—the first legal test to stop the Biden administration's implementation of the Medicare
cost-cutting initiative.

The ten prescription drugs are Eliquis, Jardiance, Xarelto, Januvia, Farxiga, Entresto, Enbrel,
Imbruvica, Stelara, and Fiasp. Out of pocket costs for Medicare beneficiaries taking these drugs
was $3.4 billion in 2022.

The negotiated prices will take effect on January 1, 2026.

“We are pleased that all of the corporations have agreed to come to the negotiating table,” said
Joseph Peters, Jr., Secretary Treasurer of the Alliance. “The Inflation Reduction Act is already
delivering lower drug prices for Medicare beneficiaries who take insulin and punishing
corporations that raise prices more than the rate of inflation. More savings will come down the
road when lower prices are in place for these outrageously expensive drugs.”