Don't let the sun set on your chance to make a difference.
Now, it's time for the union membership to decide who will lead us forward the next few years. It's vital to vote in these elections. There are some who are apathetic. They seem to believe their votes "don't matter." I've heard from a newbie who doesn't understand the complexities of the issues dividing the candidates, and asked me to explain them. Even after five years of blogging, I am not qualified to tell anyone how they should vote. I was confused as well when I was a rookie operator. It took a lot of questions, talking to experienced operators, and meeting the candidates before my votes were cast. Even then, questions remained. When it was all over, I felt it imperative to show respect to the victors and offer my support for the good of the whole. I still believe that way. As stated before, I believe that a divided union is a weak one. Harboring resentments creates negative outcomes; if you cannot forgive it's extremely difficult to accomplish anything positive.
Some are unhappy with the current officers, others believe one term isn't a sufficient amount of time for an officer to prove their worthiness. Another train of thought is that too many terms makes them complacent or stale. Still others believe those running for office should have some experience in union business to prepare them for higher office. However, that shouldn't automatically disqualify a candidate. Sometimes, inexperience can propel an enthusiastic and newly-elected officer to be a quick study and hit the ground running. Others who have fought battles for their fellow members are wise in the ways management deals with its most-valuable employees.
There are arguments for and against experience in a union position prior to running for higher office. Each candidate for higher office has described vastly-different ideas on how to move us forward. I agree with some, disagree with others. It is impossible for me to believe however, that any of them want anything but the best for the membership that is possible.
We are experiencing a volatile period in American politics on the national level. The country is so divided as to be reminiscent of the decade prior to the Civil War. In its aftermath, the union Lincoln so eloquently tried to preserve remained philosophically divided. Wounds from that war remain today. Even if President Lincoln had lived, would he have been able to bind this nation's wounds? Not likely. Given today's atmosphere, it seems we're moving backwards rather than coming together. It's vital to our survival as middle class workhorses to speak up and assert the power of a united front. If we continue to be divided, we are simply conquered.
Yes, your vote "counts." So does your participation. It would be nice to attend a union meeting during which solidarity reigns, but they seem to devolve into bickering between factions. Of course, members who have questions about how matters are being handled should voice their concerns. Leaders should listen, and I believe they do. But with such a diverse membership, leaders have to move forward based on their own beliefs about what's possible in dealing with a volatile management. Sometimes, this results in disappointment and lingering resentment. There are rarely easy answers to the issues we all face. Leaders are human after all, and therefore prone to making mistakes. Lord knows I've made plenty of goofs in my life, some very costly. Learning from them is what keeps me afloat.
For some, their voting decisions are simple. They either approve of the current leadership or desire a change in direction. It's cut and dry for them. But for those just getting their feet wet, they're afraid that a wrong step will land them in quicksand. Those of us in between veterans and noobs are still unsure sometimes. Nevertheless, our union is all that stands between US and management. Talk to your union reps, get to know them. Don't blindly follow one faction just to "go with the flow." Use your minds; we have to as transit workers. The lives of thousands depend on our ability to make sound decisions. If you weren't capable, you wouldn't be here.
My ballot is in. Whoever wins will have my support. I may not always agree with them, but I pledge to stand united in solidarity with those who represent US.
Newbies, your vote counts just as much as any other. VOTE!