Mary E. Sullivan: Coming together for the holidays


I think we can all agree that the holidays are very different this year.

In the face of a global pandemic and with restrictions on gathering in person, our holiday celebrations will not be the same as usual. That doesn’t mean we can’t still find things to be thankful for, or things to celebrate. It might just be a little harder and we might have to do things differently this year.

It’s tough for us as a union, because we are all about coming together to support each other. When we can’t physically come together, it challenges us to find new ways to unite.

We also face difficulties in embracing and accepting the differences we all have, without it dividing us. We come from so many different backgrounds, faith traditions, political viewpoints and geographic locations, it’s easy to just focus on our own struggles, and our own beliefs. By doing so, we forget to consider what others are dealing with or passionate about.

Focusing on our divisions and how polarized our country has become only makes things worse. This holiday season, our union will celebrate our differences, but at the same time recognize the many things that we can agree on and unite around.

As union members, we all choose to belong because we believe in the concept of strength in numbers, and also in the concept of united we stand, divided we fall. These beliefs are the foundation of everything we do to protect members and advocate for a better work life on their behalf.

By belonging, we reject the viewpoint of advocating simply for ourselves, and instead embrace the viewpoint of advocating and taking collective action for the betterment of the larger group. That larger group becomes like a family for those of us who truly believe in this work.

Like any family, we learn to deal with our differences and diverse views. In our union there should always be room for healthy debate and discussion, with the understanding that we can disagree but still respect each other. We can also unite around the values we share, while still celebrating our tremendous diversity and valuing people’s different opinions.

No matter what holidays and faith traditions you observe this season, whether it’s Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, Christmas, Diwali, or any others, my wish for us all is that you are able to celebrate happily, peacefully, and safely, and that we can focus moving forward into the New Year on the many things that bring us together.


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