What a great day! We met so many new people and had so many good conversations about the issues facing our district and our state. A couple of teachers told us that they cut their vacations short and returned home so that they could vote no. Another teacher still recovering from surgery made her way to SDEA to vote no. A group of teachers from Holmes Elementary stopped by to vote and brought their own “Just Say No” sign.
After two days of voting, voter turnout remains strong. Again today, dozens of teachers union-wide are volunteering to help get out the word about why this TA is a bad deal for laid off teachers AND non-laid off teachers alike. Many people stopped by and said, “I’ve heard why I should vote yes, so now tell me why I should vote no.” Several simply stated, “Convince me.” We love being educators and knowing that our colleagues are thoughtful people who like to hear both sides of an argument before making a decision. Whether voting yes or no, many people wanted to talk about the TA, talk about how it affects the different members of SDEA, talk about their frustrations, talk about their ideas, talk about their previous experiences, talk about the future, and talk about how difficult this has all been. After two days, it is extremely clear that we want to talk with each other. We want to give voice to the thoughts that we have been holding inside of our heads. We want to communicate meaningfully with each other and feel safe to disagree. We want to have a rational back-and-forth exchange of ideas in order to come to a better understanding of the stressful issues facing us. And the BC volunteers felt privileged to listen. It was a huge honor that so many of you took the time to share your thoughts, experience, wisdom, insights, and personal struggle with your voting decision. This has been an amazing experience for all of us standing out there with signs and fliers.
It has been an extremely long two days and it has been totally worth it. Sitting at the entrance to the SDEA driveway and having people honk, wave, smile, and give the thumbs-up has been so much fun. No matter how tired we are, it perks us up and puts a smile on our faces. (Don’t get me wrong, people gave us the stink-eye, too. But we understand why and don’t take it personally.) Many of you have come up and thanked us for our efforts, and this includes people that were voting yes. And we want to return the thanks to all of you, whether you voted yes or no, for showing up to vote. This is what democracy looks like.
There’s one more day to get out and vote! Make the time and come down to SDEA tomorrow if you haven’t voted yet. Throw some of your SDEA friends in the car with you and come down. You can do a happy hour at McGregor’s after you vote.
What’s more clear than ever is that regardless of the behavior of SDEA’s leadership, SDEA’s membership remains as strong and engaged as ever. We are all so proud to be a part of this union. We look forward to working together with all of SDEA’s members in the months ahead as we continue to make sure that our union remains strong and democratic.