Friday, March 9, 2018
Dear Sisters and Brothers of the Plainedge Federation of Teachers,
As the spring time approaches, some of our members who have faithfully educated the children of Plainedge for decades, begin to contemplate the reality of a secure retirement. Over the past couple of months, we have been spending a lot of time discussing the potential negative outcomes for our current PFT members if the Supreme Court rules in favor of Janus; however, it is also very possible for retirees to be harmed by an unfavorable ruling as well.
Throughout the past 100 years, unions have been a major supporter of state laws, which require the government to pay for a portion of a retiree's health insurance premium. For example, in NY, State laws require the Plainedge School District to pay 50% of the premium for a retiree's individual health insurance and 35% of the cost for family coverage. If unions are weakened by the Janus decision, we will most likely see these laws change, reducing health insurance benefits for retirees, which has already occurred in other "right to work" states. For example, after Wisconsin passed Act 10, eliminating health care as a subject of collective bargaining, the total health care benefits for retired State employees went from $128 million in 2011 to $77 million in 2012, and have stayed at roughly that level since.
We need to keep in mind that every state worker and retiree, benefits from having a strong union to advocate for his or her rights. The Janus decision has the potential to weaken unions, and, therefore, take away our ability to effectively advocate for both in-service and retired teachers. The Janus case is a threat to our voice, our values, and our union!
Make sure you let everyone in this country know that, "I'm sticking with the union!"