Winter Solstice was this week and I enjoy the time for reflection, contemplation and renewal. The day itself marks the shortest, darkest day of the year, while instilling hope as sunsets begin to get later and sunrises earlier. The changes are slight, almost unnoticeable at first, but powerful change is underway nevertheless. This short period of quiet stillness in nature offers a wonderful opportunity to reflect on the past year before jumping headfirst into the new one.
A primary reflection of mine is that I am thankful for you, the members of our union family. You do an amazing job day in and day out making sure that our towns, municipalities, and state run smoothly and safely. This does not happen without personal sacrifice; particularly for those of you who work on nights, weekends, and holidays. I thank you for your service.
Also, as I have reflected, I have become aware that I have a wish list for our union, our state, and our country.
I wish for continued growth in our membership, activism and SEA/PAC donations to build our strength and influence. This will lead to the passage and funding of better contracts for all SEA/SEIU Local 1984 units.
I wish for harmony in all of our worksites and an end to workplace bullying.
I wish for relief for our retirees from broken promises made to them at the beginning of their state service. I wish for the legislature compassion and strong moral conviction so that they will do what is right in terms of changes to the retirees’ health benefits. I wish that legislation we are suggesting, which would provide an “extra retirement check” to all retirees in lieu of a COLA, which our retirees have not seen in nearly a decade, will pass and become law.
I wish for the continuation of Medicaid expansion and a solid action plan to solve the opioid crisis we face. I also wish for more tolerance for those of us who may be perceived as different.
I dream of candidates for public office who will engage in civil debate about what will keep our state and country moving forward. My wish list includes the support and election of lawmakers who back public workers and their families. This can happen if all of our members connect the dots that politics matters and get out and vote next fall.
I wish for continued success for Operation Santa Claus and our tradition of giving of ourselves when our brothers and sisters need a little extra help throughout the year.
I am renewing my commitment to making this wish list our reality and invite you to join me by doing the same.
I wish you peace and good health throughout the holiday season – and into 2016.
President, SEA/SEIU Local 1984