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Respect Public Service: Repeal Social Security Offsets
Respect Public Service: Repeal Social Security Offsets
Update on the National Education Association's
Campaign to Eliminate the Government Pension Offset
And Windfall Elimination Provision
March 23, 2006
NATIONWIDE CALL TO ACTION:
REPEAL SOCIAL SECURITY OFFSETS
The National Education Association (NEA) needs your help to put pressure on lawmakers to repeal the Government Pension Offset (GPO) and Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP). Public employees have lived with these unfair burdens long enough. It is time for Congress to act!
From April 10-21, Members of Congress will be on recess and back in their home districts. This is the time they need to hear from you.
We need to draw public attention to the need for GPO/WEP repeal. Help us send a clear and forceful message that NEA is mobilized and is holding lawmakers responsible for their actions. Take part in the Nationwide Call to Action!
Events during the two-week congressional recess can take many different forms. The type and style of a particular event will depend upon the individual characteristics present within a given community. For example, are there significant numbers of active members that can be mobilized for a large event? Would a smaller event be more realistic? Are the Representatives and Senators supporters, opponents, or undecided on the issue of repealing GPO and WEP? Understanding the make-up and potential in a given community is the first step in deciding the type of an event to plan.
NEA has prepared a menu of activities (see below) to choose from to make our voice heard during the spring recess. NEA grassroots muscle can have a strong impact on influencing our legislators. Take some time and organize a few of these activities in your local area.
We have also prepared a toolkit including fact sheets, talking points, sample postcard messages and letters to the editor, and other advocacy tools. You can access the toolkit on the NEA website's legislative action center at http://www.nea.org/lac/socsec/toolkit.html.
Want to send a really powerful message to your lawmakers? Organize an activity from each category during the time period of April 10-21:
Call in Day
Contact Members of Congress and tell them your story about the dramatic effects of GPO and/or WEP on your current or future income security. Call the Capitol switchboard at 202/224-3121 and ask for your Representative and Senators by name. Use the talking points provided in the toolkit. Is your Local Association having a meeting? Take ten minutes on the agenda to have everyone call their Members of Congress. This is great way to get a lot of calls done at once.
Many Local Associations have organized fundraisers for a variety of causes. How about organizing a Postcard Raiser? Organize members to raise as many letters and postcards from colleagues as possible (Give a prize for the largest number). Send or hand-deliver the letters to Members of Congress in their district offices. See the sample postcard messages enclosed in the toolkit for ideas and talking points.
The NEA Legislative Action Center (LAC) is always available to help you send emails to Congress. You can go directly to the GPO/WEP page by typing in this address: http://www.nea.org/lac/socsec/offsets.html. You can personalize your email message and also select from key sample talking points. Advertise the LAC in all your publications and send a message to your personal email lists asking friends, family, and co-workers to email Congress.
District Office Visit with Member of Congress
The GPO and WEP place unfair burdens on the backs of public employees. We need to let our lawmakers know our concerns and ask them to do the right thing by repealing the GPO and WEP. Visit lawmakers with a group of public employees. Make sure you talk about your own experiences and ask for a commitment from lawmakers to cosponsor and push for a vote on the Social Security Fairness Act. Enclosed in the toolkit are talking points and a list of current bill cosponsors for use in your visit(s). (Check the latest lists at http://www.nea.org/lac/socsec/offsets.html) We have also provided a "leave-behind" that you can give to lawmakers and their staffs.
Organize a rally to send a clear message about the unfair GPO and WEP. A good rally needs a turnout of 20 or more members. One way to get create "instant" turnout is to have a rally during a regularly scheduled membership meeting. If your Senators and/or Representative are supporters of the Social Security Fairness Act, consider inviting them to speak at the rally. Invite the press to your rally so that our message spreads across our communities. Choose a rally site outside of a Social Security Administration office or a public building like a school, fire house, or city hall.
Town Hall Meeting
A town hall meeting provides a great opportunity to educate the community and your lawmakers about the GPO and WEP. Take the time to organize an event that will bring together a wide cross section of public employees to discuss the impact of the GPO WEP. Notify the media about the meeting and advertise it throughout your community. Make sure you have a strong spokesperson who understands the issue and can speak on behalf of impacted public employees. If your Senators and/or Representative are supporters of the Social Security Fairness Act, consider inviting them to speak at the town hall meeting.
Letter to the Editor
A letter to the editor can be an effective tool to spread our message to a wide audience. Enclosed in the toolkit is a sample letter. Take the time to write your own version and send it to your local paper.
Share your Story
This issue is about real people who face real challenges and need a real solution. We need to hear from them. Collect these powerful stories from others who have been impacted by Social Security offsets. You can help us collect these stories by emailing them to firstname.lastname@example.org or you can mail them to Carrie Lewis, NEA GR, 1201 16th Street, NW, Suite 510, Washington, DC 20036. A form to collect stories is included in the toolkit.
THANK YOU FOR PARTICIPATING IN THE
NATIONAL CALL TO ACTION ON GPO/WEP!!!
NEA Government Relations
1201 16th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20036
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