Greetings! I hope that as you read this column, you are warm and in the company of those you love.
Thanksgiving will soon be upon us and that realization, as it does every year, has caused me to pause and consider the many blessings in my life. Here are a few of them:
- I’m thankful for my family. It gives me joy, makes me laugh and offers everything from life lessons to book reviews. By the by, my beautiful bride recommends This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger.
- I am thankful for my work. Protecting and advocating the interests of public employees, no matter their job title, is hard but immeasurably satisfying work.
- I am grateful for our North Dakota United members’ commitment to providing the vital public services that North Dakotans have come to expect and that they richly deserve. Their commitment to their students, professions and the public is nothing short of remarkable. The work of our members adds quality to the lives of all North Dakotans.
- I am thankful for the partnerships ND United has with the ND AFL-CIO and with education stakeholder groups across the state and nation. I was happy to share the importance of these partnerships recently at a convening of the Council of Chief State School Officers in Atlanta. What we have in ND relative to collaboration and cooperation is something that other states are keen to replicate.
- I am grateful for the outstanding people with whom I work at ND United. These men and women are singularly focused on wrapping their work around the three guiding principles adopted by the NDU Board of Directors: growing membership, increasing the activation of our members and increasing the size of our government relations footprint. These folks go the extra mile and are consummate professionals.
- Speaking of the NDU Board of Directors, I am very thankful for each member. These folks receive no pay for doing the important work of our union. They sacrifice many weekends and time with their families in order to ensure that our union grows and remains the effective voice of public employees across North Dakota.
- I am grateful for all our members who have stepped up to serve as leaders in their workspaces. Building reps, member organizers and local officers provide the necessary infrastructure for strong locals and chapters. Their work has led to a substantial increase in our membership this year. They understand that membership is year-round and that membership is every member’s responsibility. If you haven’t had a conversation yet with at least one non-member in your workplace, please do so. The number one reason that your colleagues do not join remains that they are not asked to join.
- Finally, as I was boarding a plane recently, I heard the usual, “Any military personnel with ID can board at this time.” I always expect a few active duty service men and women to board. However, in Atlanta, at least 70 young men and women- on their way to boot camp boarded our plane. They were young, barely older than my son. They had already taken their oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States and would, without a doubt, give the ultimate sacrifice to fulfill that vow. As I watched them board that plane, I felt humbled. I felt proud. Mostly, I felt thankful that these young men and women have the courage and fortitude to do what many of us could not do. For that, I think we can all be thankful.
Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at ND United!