Since its inception on Sept. 1, 2013, North Dakota United has striven to be the authoritative voice of our state’s public employees. From that day to this one, I have steadfastly made the argument that our members provide the vital public services that North Dakotans have come to expect and deserve. Whether you are teaching North Dakota’s children, supporting educators and children in their work, working for the state, county or municipal government, or preparing the next generation of leaders on one of our outstanding university campuses, you deserve a strong voice in Bismarck and Washington, D.C.
All the work we do here at ND United is centered around three guiding principles, which I presented to the NDU Board of Directors, and they voted to adopt.
The first principle is to grow our membership. I’ll pause here to allow you collect your breath. Just kidding! In a membership-driven organization like ours, you must know that more is better. More members mean more voice, more voice means more influence. Now, I am not going to claim that I am a mathematical genius, because I am decidedly not. But by my calculation, if each of our 11,500 members signed up just one member, the NDU membership would double to, well, a much larger number. (I am sorry that, like 5 out of 4 Americans, I struggle with math.)
The second guiding principle is to increase the activation of our membership. Activated members do things – BIG things – that positively impact their lives and the lives of their colleagues. By BIG things, I mean e-mailing legislators, attending NDU-sponsored events, enrolling in one of the many professional development courses offered by NDU, or just talking to a colleague who is not a member of NDU and letting them know that their values and aspirations as one who serves the public are shared by our organization. I don’t know if you know this or not, but the number one reason that potential members do not join NDU is that they are not asked to do so. You, asking a potential member to join, certainly qualifies as a BIG thing!
The final guiding principle of our work dictates that we will increase our government relations footprint. I know, I know! Politics, currently, are unseemly and tiresome. True! However, every single decision that affects your work life is a political decision made in either Bismarck or Washington, D.C. Your voice must be in the room or your profession will suffer the consequences. In my view, Pericles said it best: “Just because you do not take an interest in politics does not mean that politics will not take an interest in you.”
So, given our guiding principles, and the fact that YOU are NDU, I am challenging all of us to talk to our colleagues. We need to let them know that we are all stronger together, that collectively, we can induce the changes that we want to see. I am absolutely convinced that, working together, ND United can be a transformational organization unlike any other. Let’s start that discussion and recommit ourselves to great public education and great public service!