Voluntary Automatic Contributions to Employee Organizations for Retired SUNY and CUNY Higher Education Professionals
As an educator and a union member, I believe retiree participation in union activities is a critical component in having our voices heard. Accordingly, I am writing to express my support for S.4489 (Gounardes)/A.7189 (Abbate). This legislation will allow retired higher education professionals to make voluntary automatic contributions to their employee organizations and their political committees.
In 1993, the state education law was amended to allow retired teachers to make automatic payroll deductions to their employee organizations for certain supplemental benefits that are offered at special rates through specific purchase agreements. A decade later, the state education law was amended again to allow retired teachers to make voluntary automatic contributions to the political action committee of their employee organization. These automatic payment options are voluntarily authorized, save time and expense and are revocable at any time.
These changes provided retired teachers with payroll deduction options that are similar to those offered to active classroom teachers. However, under existing law, retired university professionals who have retired under either the SUNY or CUNY Optional Retirement Program (ORP) have not been allowed to deduct automatic contributions from their retirement accounts for the same services.
This legislation will expand the existing statute to allow retired members of SUNY and CUNY to make automatic contributions from their ORP accounts, to their employee organization, for supplemental benefits and/or voluntary contributions to their employee organization's political committee.
The passage and enactment of this legislation will help ensure that our voices are heard.
I ask you to please bring up this issue with your conference members and leadership, and urge you to support this change to allow higher education retirees the same benefits as their K-12 union sisters and brothers.
Thank you for your consideration of this important matter. I look forward to a reply to my letter.
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