The president of the nation’s second largest teachers union is eligible to rake in thousands from taxpayers when she retires due to an agreement between New York City and the union, according to documents obtained through a public records request by the Freedom Foundation, an education think tank.
Upon retirement, American Federation of Teachers (AFT) President Randi Weingarten is poised to receive around $15,000 annually for 15 years from the Teachers’ Retirement System of the City of New York despite only working for three years as a full-time teacher in the classroom, according to an analysis by the Freedom Foundation. The United Federation of Teachers (UFT), a New York City teachers union chapter that Weingarten once worked for, has a collective bargaining agreement with the city, allowing teachers to leave the classroom and work for the union but still collect pension for those years.
“Additional documents show that the Teacher Retirement System of the City of New York has credited Weingarten with nearly 11-and-a-half years of service credit for time spent out of the classroom on full-time union leave as an officer for the United Federation of Teachers,” the report stated. “Due to her limited time in the classroom, Weingarten only became vested and eligible for pension benefits because of service credit accrued for her time working as a union officer. Weingarten’s pension benefits could easily cost taxpayers more than $200,000.”
The American Federation of Teachers reserved $57,000 in “retirement and other deferred compensation” for Weingarten in 2020, the report showed. In the 2021-2022 school year, Weingarten was paid $449,562, seven times more than what the average high school teacher made.
“I would have to check with UFT and TRS [Teachers Retirement System] on the other or find a quarterly statement, none of which I have right now,” Weingarten told the New York Post regarding the report.
How much Weingarten will receive in pension is “pure speculation” because Weingarten has not retired, an AFT spokesperson told the New York Post.
In 2021, Weingarten and her union came under fire for collaborating with the CDC to coordinate and draft reopening guidance for schools after the COVID-19 pandemic, according to emails obtained by Americans for Public Trust. Following the CDC’s announcement that it was safe for students to return to in-person learning, the Weingarten and the AFT called the guidance “reckless and unsafe.”
The AFT and the UFT did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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