Tuesday, July 11, 2017


I spent the morning and early afternoon at the Teachers' Retirement System taking the "Getting Ready for Retirement" class. It was, to say the least, very informative. I feel quite a bit more confident that I know what I'm doing concerning what option to take, how my pension will be calculated and what to do with my TDA account when I retire.

There were many interesting little facts that we learned during the day. For example, 94% of TRS retirees choose TDA Defferral status for their TDA at the time of retirement. Very few withdraw the money or annuitize it. This is from the TDA Options at Retirement guide in the section on Deferral status.

If you subsequently withdraw all of your TDA funds or choose to annuitize your funds, you would lose TDA Deferral status. (However, if you make a partial wighrawal of your TDA funds, your TDA Deferral status would not be affected.)

Good to know this information.

It was also important for TRS representatives to go into detail on how to fill out the retirement forms, where to take them to and also what TRS members need to do with our employer and our union upon retirement. I thought it was kind of strange that some participants seemed skeptical about union pension consultations. The workshop included both UFT and Council of Supervisors and Administrators members.

The most compelling part for me was at the end of the class when two participants jumped to the head of the line to leave and then raced ahead of all of us so they could get to the side entrance of the building to turn in their fully filled out papers to retire. One I know was an Absent Teacher Reserve who wanted to make sure she had her papers filed so she was eligible for the $50,000 severance pay. July 14 is the deadline but TRS rules say the papers should turned at least a day in advance of retiring. I was kind of envious of this woman as I headed for the subway.

For everyone who wants to make it to retirement age and receive a pension, there are two possibe strategies to survive New York City's often anti-teacher school system:

1-Always work in a school with a decent administration.

2-Since option 1 isn't always possible, help build a robust union that will stand up to this corrupt system.

While I wish everyone could work with great principals and assistant principals so we could all collegially move the schools forward, the reality is somewhat different.

Therefore, I will be joining MORE (the Movement of Rank and File Educators) in the initial summer series event at the Dark Horse located at 17 Murray Street in Manhattan (very close to City Hall) on Wednesday, July 12, 2017 from 3:00 P.M. through 6:00 P.M. for hardcore contract training.

I don't pretend to have all the answers as the school system is beyond morally bankrupt and our union plays along too often but if we work as a union, I mean a real union movement coming from the schools, we can put pressure to move the situation in the right direction for teachers, students and public education in general.

I hope some of the people who comment on this blog can make it to the Dark Horse on Wednesday in the afternoon as I would really enjoy meeting you and sharing ideas on how we can find ways to fight back successfully.

Part of MORE's ad:

MORE’s FIFTH Annual Summer Series!

July 6, 2017 — Leave a comment
Please join us to… Discuss, Debate, and Organize!
WHEN:   Wednesdays this summer; 3pm-6pm
WHERE:  The Dark Horse, 17 Murray St. NYC; Near City Hall, Chambers St,
Drink specials: $4 drafts, $6 well drinks & $7 wine
Hardcore Contract Training
July 12th
Is your chapter facing abusive administrators? Are there contract violations? Do you want to engage your members in the fight back ? Bring challenges that you and your colleagues have at your school, we will share suggestions based on our experiences. Veteran chapter leaders and UFT Executive Board members that have led successful actions and grievances will be joining us.


Anonymous said...

So glad you are fighting for us all! UFT members want change now!

Anonymous said...

No one fights for everybody. All have to fight for the common cause.

Anonymous said...

James, Anyone ask what happens if you don't make it to retirement age, but are vested. If for example you are 55/25 and bail before 55 and say 20 years of service--the first year where you get the full vesting percentage. Does your pension automatically get deferred to 55? 65? Does it start with a substantial hit? I'm curious and this might be a common Q with many crossing their fingers to get to the 10 year mark...no 25/55 option either.

James Eterno said...

Can't collect before 55 and there is a substantial hit without 25 years if in 25-55 or 30 years without being in 55-25. I suggest a pension consultation with UFT.

Anonymous said...

So from that Asher ATR Webinar, seems to be that we will be placed for the year, graded by home school principal, graded by Danielson...And if not hired before schools start, principals will have no choice but to accept us as we will be placed by Central.

Anonymous said...

The big news is that ATR salary will come out of school budget!

Finally principles will have to fully staff their schools instead of using all sorts of unsavory tactics.

Anonymous said...

guess many ofthose princpales aren't happy they didntuse theincentive last year.

Anonymous said...

The money will only cost an average teacher's salary. It won't add to school's average.

Anonymous said...

@6:09PM - Is it in writing?

Anonymous said...

An ATR at max salary will bump up the average teacher's salary at the school they are being force placed at next year.

James Eterno said...

Not sure if they will be averaged in for next year's calculation of school's average salary. When I was provisional, school paid an average teacher's salary for me but I don't think I was averaged in when they calculated average salary for following school year. Not crrtain how it will work with new system.