Social media was abuzz last week as a longtime Manchester Local School District employee retired. “Saying goodbye is never easy— even if they’re embarking on new adventures,” read the Manchester Jr./Sr. High Yearbook Facebook page.
Harriet Naylor, a cafeteria worker retired last week after 38 years of service. In 2022, the Informer featured a story on Naylor and her efforts to reform the way that public employee pensions take away from Social Security benefits. At the time, Naylor had partnered with her union to keep up the fight in order to advocate for retirees who are penalized because of the Social Security Government Pension Offset (GPO) and Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP). According to OAPSE, the GPO especially affects OAPSE retired women because it strips them of the Social Security survival benefits, they should receive when their spouse passes away.
In 2022, Harriet Naylor of Bentonville spoke out about her situation. Naylor started her career as a garment worker in Manchester for .80 cents per hour and worked the low-paying, physically demanding job for decades. In 1986, she was hired in the cafeteria as a cook in Manchester where she was born and raised. Naylor was 81-years-old at the time and had worked her entire life, but according to OAPSE; she was severely penalized financially becuase of the Social Security GPO/WEP.
A video was created by the OAPSE union two years ago highlighting Naylor’s story. “I like the kids and I like to cook and I like the people I work with,” said Naylor. Naylor is famous for her peanut butter sandwiches, as she writes “LOVE” on each one and has done so for thousands of Manchester students over the years. Naylor, a member of Local 343 have always worked hard to ensure that each child is well taken care of each day.
The union is currently lobbying Congress for a legislative fix that would allow public employees like Naylor to receive their earned public pension and their social security pension, in which paid into and received enough credits to draw a full benefit. To learn more information, visit: https://oapse.org/
Editor’s Note: Congratulations, Harriet, and thanks for your steadfast commitment to local children for nearly four decades.