Friday, October 12, 2018
Good Afternoon Sisters and Brothers of the Plainedge Federation of Teachers,
There's a lot at stake in this election that directly pertains to us - labor laws, pensions, union rights, the economy, not to mention marriage equality, women's rights, immigration, and countless other important topics. It is undeniable that there are a lot of issues you may care about, but perhaps the one issue that unites us all is our job. If we care about our families, the children we educate, and our working conditions, then we must vote. When we vote, we have a voice! By participating in the election process, we reinforce the main principals of what democracy is and should be. Over the past number of years, voter turnout has been persistently low. For example, less than half of eligible voters in this country went to the polls for the 2014 midterm elections. This year, there's too much at stake for voter apathy, especially if those voters happen to be public educators and union members like us! If we all get to the polls this year, it will certainly change the course of this election.
It's hard to believe that two years have gone by since the last Presidential election. In just over a month, Election Day will be upon us again, and we will all have the opportunity to vote in the midterm elections. All 435 seats in the United States House of Representatives and 35 of the 100 seats in the United States Senate will be up for grabs. Undoubtedly, the results of this election will shape United States politics for years to come.
The concept of getting members of a large group to the polls is not unique to unions. Large companies are even starting to make it a priority for its employees to vote. Patagonia is shutting down its stores on Election Day to ensure that its employees vote. Lyft is offering discounted rides to polling places. Clearly, many people in this country are beginning to notice the importance of voting. Always remember that while your vote may be private, your decision to vote is not. As educators, we are all part of NYSUT, and politicians look to large groups such as NYSUT, to see how many of our members turned up at the polls. If politicians see a low turnout, they don't feel obligated to listen to our voice.
There's a lot riding on this election, but one issue in particular that we should all care about is our jobs. Public education and union membership are being attacked! These attempts to weaken our voice and destroy our values should be our driving force to get to the polls and vote for NYSUT endorsed candidates!
Think about all the rights we enjoy, things such as tenure, pensions, health insurance, and workplace safety; how might our profession change if the wrong politicians are making decisions that affect our jobs? Voting is a right and a privilege; please make it a point to have our voice heard on Tuesday, November 6th. I know I'm voting for politicians who will share our values and will listen to our voice. I hope you do as well.