1920 1947 1978 2015
What meaning do these numbers have for you?
Think about these numbers as they are related to you and all retired teachers.
In 1920 the Ohio General assembly created the State Teachers Retirement System (STRS). They had the foresight to Guarantee that once established, the pension benefit could not be reduced for the life of the recipient.
However, there was a problem. In 1920 they could not anticipate what was going to happen to the economy of our country in future years. No provisions were made for increasing the pensions as economic conditions changed.
Teachers who retired in 1920 were pleased with the pensions in the $55 to $65 per month range. Why do you suppose this was true?
One reason was that they had paid little into the system and what they received was much more than their predecessors had received. In the 1930’s retired teachers receiving a pension from STRS were much better off than the large number of unemployed. Many of those employed persons were being paid in scrip.
In the 1940’s we began to hear words like “inflation” and “consumer price index.” The small pensions were experiencing less buying power.
Individual retired teachers approached the legislators asking for assistance to increase retirement benefits to keep pace with inflation. There was no success with these efforts. Active teachers were organized and were successful in obtaining modest salary increases to help keep pace with changes in the economy. Retired teachers soon learned that they also had to organize to provide a united front to negotiate with legislators and the retirement system.
In 1947, a group of all male retired teachers in Franklin County joined forces with the all male Franklin County Retired Schoolmasters Club and the all-female Franklin County Retired Teachers Club and formed the Ohio Retired Teachers Association (ORTA). This was the beginning of the state-wide organization to represent the interest of retired teachers at the General Assembly and STRS. At the same time, in California, Dr. Ethel Percy Andrus organized the National Retired Teachers Association (NRTA). Ohio joined California, Connecticut, New Jersey and Pennsylvania to become the first NRTA affiliates.
AARP was created by NRTA. If you are a member of AARP you can become a member of NRTA by notifying AARP that you were an educator and without paying any additional dues.
On April 14, 1978, thirty-one years after ORTA was formed, OEA-R held their first annual meeting. OEA-R is the retired division of OEA. Do you believe that OEA has any influence on OEA-R?
ORTA is affiliated with NRTA and AARP, but we are not controlled by them. We believe that ORTA is in the best position to represent the interests of all retired Ohio educators.
Membership in ORTA is open to all STRS benefit recipients. This includes all retired classroom teachers, administrators, college and university professors. Those receiving a disability retirement benefit because of a former teacher’s membership in STRS may also be members. Associate memberships are open to anyone under the same dues structure as regular members, however, associates cannot hold office in ORTA.
Let us remember that our dues are very affordable and that our effectiveness with legislators and the STRS is directly proportional to the number of members that we have.
During 2015, the president of each county association of ORTA is in a key position to assist retired educators to obtain maximum benefits from membership in both their county and state organizations.