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All Connecticut teachers owe a debt of gratitude to those 274 Bridgeport teachers, several of whom are current GBRTA members, who in 1978 made national news when they were bussed off to jail for striking for better working conditions. The eventual result of this effort was the passage of the law regarding binding arbitration when it comes to teacher contract negotiations. 

Bridgeport will be recognizing this event with a program to be held at Testo's on May 10th - see the flyer attached. It would be nice if the GBRTA were represented at this event by our presence. If you can make it, make your reservation via the information on the flyer but let me know if your are attending and I will see about the availability of a group table (or tables!). Bob Pitzschler

Retired Teachers’ Lobby Day on April 4, 2018

“You need to negotiate better.” was the advice of a Connecticut legislator. This was her fourth term in the Legislature and she did not know that retired teachers do not negotiate for themselves. They have no contract with the State; they have no collective bar-gaining rights; they belong to no union. The State is not required to fulfill the agreements it made regarding retired teachers’ pensions and health insurance benefits. Like most legislators, she did not know that retired teachers are not part of the State Employee Bargaining Agent Coalition (SEBAC). 

The legislator did not know that the State had underfunded the teachers’ pension fund by more than $13 billion and that the State had not paid its share of the health insurance account - resulting in an estimated $190 million shortfall in the account. While previous legislation had required that the State pay 33% of retiree health service costs, that amount has been reduced to 25%. She was aware that, as of January 1, 2018, active teachers’ contribution to the pension fund had been increased from 6% of their salaries to 7% . While active teachers contributed an additional 1% to the Pension Fund, the State reduced its payment to the Pension Fund by the same amount. This was done in order to fund the CT Medi-caid /Medicare Savings Plan. 

And that’s the problem – our legislators simply do not know. We need to teach them and teaching is what we do well. 

Retired Teachers’ Lobby Day on April 4, 2018 is the day to tell our story. The day begins with a session in the Legislative Office Build-ing where we’ll have a briefing on what issues to mention to your legislators. There will be printed fact sheets to hand your legislator or leave on his/her desk. If you can’t attend it’s still important to contact your legislator. Legislators want your vote. Make them earn it by responding to your concerns.