In last week’s SEA News, we began a new feature profiling the union’s committees. This week, we continue rolling out new features – this one is the first profiling the members of Chapter 1, which is made up of the SEA’s retirees. Our Chapter 1 members are the ones who helped get us where we are today, both as a state and as a union. We honor their dedication to service with this new monthly feature.
We start today with Linda Farrell, the chair of the Operation Santa Claus Committee.
Question: How long ago did you retire?
Answer: I retired on January 31, 2009.
Q: Where did you work?
A: I retired from the Department of Safety.
Q: How long did you work for the state?
A: I started working for the Bureau of Accounts (Administrative Services) on November 11, 1971. I received a promotion and went to work for Highway Safety in 1979. In 1982, I was RIF’d (reduction in force) from full time to two days a week when I was working for Highway Safety. Actually, this came at a good time because my children were 2 and 4 years of age. In 1984, the Department of Safety needed someone part time due to an employee being badly hurt in a car accident. I worked full time between Safety and Highway Safety for a year. I decided that if I was going to work full time, then I was going to get benefits, so I took the opportunity to go back to work full time at Safety in 1985.
Q: What was your most memorable moment (good or bad) working for the state?
A: My most memorable moment was a comment made to me by a very good friend of mine at Bureau of Accounts. A job was opening up that would mean a promotion and I was asked if I was going to apply. My comment was, “Who, me? They wouldn’t give the job to me.” His reply was, “What is the worst that they could say? No?” I followed that advice throughout the rest of my life. Because of this advice, I wasn’t afraid to try and was promoted five times during my career. I have given many other employees this same advice because it is important to try, no matter what the result.
Q: Are you active in Chapter 1? If so, what do you do?
A: I joined Chapter 1 just before I retired. It was important to me to stay involved with the SEA. My family were all members of a union and I believed in the solidarity that the union provides. I immediately joined the Operation Santa Committee and a year later became the chairperson. I feel that OSC is the most important part of my Chapter 1 activities. I go to the monthly meetings held by the chapter and am a councilor to the quarterly SEA meetings. These meetings allow me to follow the ongoing activities, upcoming legislative bills and give me a vote for any changes to the SEA Constitution. I feel that this gives me a say in the direction that SEA is going – if I’m not involved, then I can’t complain if I disagree with operations.
Q: What do you do with your time since you retired?
A: Most of my time is taken up with my children, grandchildren and Operation Santa Claus.
Q: What’s the one piece of advice you’d give to active employees?
A: I believe that it is important for every member to become involved with their Chapter and become a councilor. It is important to know what is happening with their union, and to voice their opinion as well as vote for any/all constitutional changes. This is the same as my belief on voting – “I can’t complain about the incumbent if I do not vote.”
If you’d like to be profiled here, or have a suggestion of who we should profile, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.