CSU-ERFA California State University Emeritus and Retired Faculty Association.

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Accomplishments

Since our founding in 1985, we have worked tirelessly to protect and enhance both the benefits received by emeritus and retired California State University faculty members and the status of emeritus and retired faculty members as part of the CSU academic community.  While much remains to be done, our many dedicated volunteers and our small, but hardworking staff have many accomplishments to their credit.

1.  CSU-ERFA was instrumental in convincing the CSU Board of Trustees to adopt the resolution “Recognition of the Title Emeritus Faculty” (RFSR 06-89-03).  The resolution established that the emeritus faculty shall be deemed to be continuing members of the academic community.  The resolution assures that emeritus status carries with it privileges on the same basis as they are enjoyed by the general faculty.  CSU-ERFA is available to work with campus affiliates to ensure that the intent and letter of the Trustees’ resolution are fully implemented.

2.  CSU-ERFA has been very active in the fight to protect our retirement funds.  In 1992 the Governor attempted to balance the budget and offset the deficit by using nearly $2 billion from the supplemental part of the CalPERS pension fund.  The use of the supplemental funds for purposes other than pensions would have eliminated any additional retiree compensation to make up for losses because of inflation.  Working with CalPERS and other organizations, we were able to defeat the Governor's attempt to raid the retirement fund.

3.  CSU-ERFA worked with CalPERS to establish the CalPERS Long-Term Care Program.  This program provides the security of long-term care insurance for our members and their families.  Many beneficial features of the program, especially its flexibility, consumer protection standards, and the inclusion of the California Partnership option can be traced to our influence.  As a result, active and retired CSU faculty and staff can purchase long-term care insurance that provides an excellent level of care at relatively low cost in comparison with other privately offered programs.  CSU-ERFA provides assistance to retirees who want individual counseling, have been turned down for the insurance, or have other problems with the program.

4.  The Association provides advice and assistance to members who have problems with their health insurance plans and medical and health facilities.  We investigate members' concerns and help to correct problems when appropriate.  In addition, CSU-ERFA engages in an extensive communications program with CSU emeriti and staff through surveys, newsletters, and a speaker/counselor program on health care issues.

5.  The Association’s Legislative Committee seeks to protect the interests of CSU retirees by carefully analyzing proposed legislation and by tracking the progress of bills in the California Legislature and Congress and the activities of elected officers.  We frequently participate in legislative and public agency hearings to present the concerns of CSU retirees and to defend their interests.

6.  CSU-ERFA successfully supported a proposal to have Medicare HMOs provide a benefit for hearing exams and hearing aids.  Now Medicare HMO members have a benefit of up to $1000 per member every 36 months for a hearing aid, as well as coverage for visits for fitting, adjusting, and repairing of hearing aids.

7.  We also helped to convince several CalPERS health plans to offer limited chiropractic benefits.

8.  CSU-ERFA strongly supported a series of measures approved by the CalPERS Board which ensure that members have access to bone marrow transplants for the treatment of breast cancer.  These measures include provisions for an expedited, independent review process in cases where the treatment is denied initially.

9.  We supported federal legislation, now law, to eliminate the "source tax" for those living outside California.  This law prevents double state taxation of retirement benefits.  CSU-ERFA successfully supported bills in the California Assembly and Senate, similar to the federal legislation, that would serve as back-up in case the federal law is successfully challenged.

10.  The Association vigorously supported legislation that set aside the infamous Marks v. Loral Corporation ruling that permitted employers during restructuring to fire older workers first simply because they have higher salaries.  This ruling permitted age discrimination in determining layoffs.

11.  CSU-ERFA's strong support helped to ensure that the Benefit Equity Bill was passed and signed into law.  This law made major improvements in the CalPERS retirement program.  The bill provided for a one-time, ad hoc increase in the base of 6% to 1%, depending on the year of retirement.

12.  The Association was instrumental in the passing and signing into law of the bill that created the Rural Health Care Equity Trust Fund (RHCETF).  This trust fund provides subsidies and reimbursements for various health care costs incurred by retired and active State Employees who live in rural and out-of-state areas which do not offer Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) access.

13.  CSU-ERFA strenuously and successfully supported a bill that permitted the surviving spouses of deceased members to retain their monthly death benefits upon remarriage and a bill that provides for mental health parity in health plans.

14.  CSU-ERFA worked on behalf of major elder abuse bills that are designed to prevent physical, mental, and financial abuse of elders.

15.  The Association continues to work on behalf of consumer protection legislation.  It is especially active in advocating reforms for improvements of the CalPERS long-term care insurance and managed care programs.

16.  CSU-ERFA successfully implemented a CSU Foundation Grant Awards Program.  The funds that support the program are invested in a CSU Foundation Account and allocated by the CSU-ERFA Grant Awards Committee.  Grants can be used for several purposes, such as underwriting scholarly research of issues important to CSU retirees, conducting oral history projects, and supporting the scholarly and publication endeavors of retirees as contributing members of the university community.  The Foundation Account is supported by tax-deductible contributions and must be used only for Grant Awards.

17.  Our Pre-and-Post Retirement Committee has developed a CSU-ERFA “Survivor’s Guide” to assist families in making those important decisions when a retired faculty or staff member or spouse dies.  The Guide identifies items that must be considered and developed in advance of death as well as matters with which to be concerned when death occurs.  The Guide is remarkably complete and thorough, and in addition to providing guidance, contains a number of essential forms.  Also, it identifies sources from which to secure additional information. The Guide is complimentary to the members of CSU-ERFA and became available in the spring of 2000.

18.  CSU-ERFA provided advice and effective assistance for retirees in the Faculty Early Retirement Program (FERP) who were threatened with layoff during periods when major cuts were made in CSU budgets.  The Association also has been of service to those emeriti who need guidance in dealing with or responding to adverse administrative decisions affecting them.

19.  The Association continues to provide assistance, information, advice, and support to campus retiree organizations.  Campus retired faculty groups can become affiliated with CSU-ERFA by request.  CSU-ERFA provides monetary support to the affiliates by contributing to the campus associations 15 percent of the dues paid by the CSU-ERFA members retired from that campus.   In addition, each affiliated campus has a representative(s) on the State Council, the Association’s primary governing legislative body.  Seventeen campus retired faculty organizations currently are affiliated with CSU-ERFA.

20.  The Association has produced a CSU Retirement Policies and Practices handbook.  The handbook compares the privileges, rights, and benefits granted by the various CSU campuses to their emeriti and other retired faculty.  A summary of this survey is available to CSU-ERFA members on request.

21.  CSU-ERFA continues to work for additional benefits for its members.  For example, the Association has completed an Agreement with a major independent travel agency that will provide a discount for most travel services booked with the agency by CSU-ERFA members.  Also, members can join for a significantly reduced fee travel and entertainment organizations that provide up to 50 percent off for selected hotel/motel rooms and restaurants.  CSU-ERFA continues to seek other reduced cost opportunities for its members as well as other benefits.   (Note to Bob Kully:  Is this section correct?  If it is, we should prepare a page that shows members how to avail themselves of these discounts.)

22.  While most CSU-ERFA programs are aimed at retired faculty members, the CSU-ERFA Retirement Analysis Program is for active faculty members.  The program provides a confidential analysis of a faculty member’s potential retirement benefits under a number of possible options.  The detailed analysis includes participation in the Faculty Early Retirement Program (FERP) and Social Security benefits.  Information can be supplied for all possible retirement ages through age 70.  This program can be of considerable value to active faculty members whether they are near retirement or starting to plan for retirement in the future.  Information about the program is available from the CSU-ERFA office.  (Note to Bob Kully:  Should I prepare a web page that advertises this service to active faculty?)

23.  CSU-ERFA works resolutely to correct agreements and laws that discriminate against CSU retirees.  Two are of highest priority:

  • Although some years ago the dental plan for active faculty was upgraded from the Basic Plan to the Enhanced Plan II, retirees were not included in the change.  The Association is working with a number of different organizations to improve this situation.  Retirees should be entitled to dental benefits equivalent to the highest level of benefits provided any CSU employee group.

  • CSU faculty members who retired in 1992 and took the “Golden Handshake” were prevented by legislation from working in any compensated capacity with agencies governed by the Board of Trustees, which prevented campuses and the system from utilizing the expertise of many retirees.  After a long and difficult struggle, CSU-ERFA was able in 2000 to demonstrat to the CalPERS legal staff the 1992 restriction on employment of those who took the "Golden Handshake" should be regarded as void as a matter of law.

 

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