Like so many SEA members and other Americans, our SEA staff are very concerned about our state and nation and they wonder what will become of our future if on November 7th, we wake up with more politicians elected into power that are committed to division and discourse. These past two years have revealed a disturbing undercurrent that flows within our society — political rhetoric that is turned toxic and is no longer reserved just for election season.
We’ve seen signs held at statehouses across the country attacking public workers, and legislation that robs public pension systems of millions of dollars, as well as attempts to eliminate minimum wage, lunch breaks, workers rights to collectively bargain, and so much more. The attacks didn’t end there though; gutting public programs to feed the poor, care for our elderly, build safe roads and bridges, etc. have been a steady drumbeat of the politicians that controlled NH and much of our country since 2010.
This is not the NH way, and it’s not the United States of America that makes so many of us proud to swear our allegiance to.
Our staff work in service to you. They steadfastly begin each day of work with the full expectation that they are part of a team dedicated to advancing your life and the things your families need. It is tough work and often goes unseen by the average member. This election season though, they share your concern for the future much more deeply than normal. They know their own families, and generations to come, will be impacted tremendously by the election results of tomorrow. They are so committed to fighting for our collective future that they all want to get out there tomorrow and be civically engaged and in service to the general population. It is truly amazing to see their commitment.
We cannot keep the SEA office open and functioning tomorrow and still allow all of our employees to take the day off to volunteer for civic duty on Election Day. And we cannot look into their eyes, see their concern, and tell them no, we’re going to handle tomorrow like any other day. Our staff have their own unions. The managers are in a small, five person union and the rest of the staff are in CUE (Coalition of Union Employees). CUE approached the SEA Board of Directors to request that we close the SEA office for a Civic Duty Holiday on November 6th, so that they can all be free to serve in a volunteer capacity on Election Day. Having just come off our 72nd Annual Convention, with the theme All In To Win, the Board quickly realized that we ought to mutually recognize our own staff’s desire to be All In To Win. After all, why shouldn’t we give them the civic duty holiday that we have tried to get in collective bargaining for years, and why shouldn’t we set a good example for SEA members’ employers on recognizing the importance of civic engagement on Election Day?
Having thought about this issue and seen it through our employees’ eyes, we are proud to report that we have agreed to give the CUE represented employees a Civic Duty Holiday, tomorrow, November 6th. The SEA will be closed tomorrow, but just like every other day of the year, our SEA managers and I will be available for emergencies. We hope that this will become a trend for all of the employers SEA members work with, and we hope that all SEA members will take pride in the fact that collectively we honor individual rights for civic engagement.
Thank you for all you have given of yourselves these many months in preparation for tomorrow’s elections. We are almost at the finish line! Let’s all get out there and be All In To Win!