What a year this has been. Did you think we would make it to December?
2020 has demanded so much from us. I heard a radio ad the other day while I was driving, that started off "2020 owes us an apology." I laughed out loud in the car, because it really does!
This year has forced us to adapt and sacrifice in ways that we never anticipated.
We have lost loved ones. We have not seen our families and friends.
I am so proud of you all and what you have been able to accomplish despite these monumental challenges.
I've heard your frustrations and I share them. I have expressed countless times to our Central Office Administration the fact that some of you don't feel appreciated, heard and/or safe.
I know that this year has taken away so much from us, so I say this only as a means of offering something positive, but don't overlook what we DO have. We live in a state that has union protections, and you see the value in that. Even in the worst of times, we are stronger together and need to remember that. Imagine our colleagues in Right-To-Work states, living with their reality where management can and does change terms and conditions whenever they want to. It's literally taken a global pandemic for it to even begin to happen here, and even with that, we have been able to have conversations on issues and have some input and impact because of union strength.
It goes with the territory that as MITA's president, I can never make everyone happy at the same moment. Unity doesn't always mean equality.
My objective, my role, is to do the most good for the most people that I can. It is not my place to choose sides or value some members' views over others. I advocate for all of us. Our safety first and foremost, this year, has been the priority. Unfortunately, "the union" somehow, becomes the target of frustrations because everyone wants an actionable outcome that they agree with; I wish it was that easy.
I know that we are all hoping that things improve, that people show respect for each other's health, and that the vaccines are safe and effective.
MITA continues to advocate daily on anything from the impact of virtual instruction, APPR, as well as preparing to start negotiating again because our contract expires in June.
Please do not let our current situation and the unrealistic expectations we are functioning under take away from the fact that you are great educators. No one should be expected to perform the miracles that we have been asked to do since March 2020. We are all doing our best, and you know what? That is all we can do. So give yourself a break over this holiday recess. Take time for yourselves to just de-stress and relax. You've earned it like never before!
I wish you all a happy, safe and healthy holiday season! See you in 2021!