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Letter to the Editor: PAT Union: Social Justice and Equality

May 11, 2011

I joined the PAT union efforts because I live and believe in social justice.  Much of my work at UNH focuses on social justice, helping students find their own voice and feel good about themselves and their unique contributions to the world.  I teach them to fight for justice, personal or otherwise, when justice has not been served. They come to understand that when one of us is diminished, we are all diminished in some way.

This work in social justice comes from personal experiences of being treated unfairly and differently by others, including here at UNH.  This is why joining the PAT union effort is the right choice for me--a choice that has been strengthened by working alongside other union supporters.  These colleagues are social justice seekers too; many have “gone to the table” and also been told that there is no room for them.

The metaphor of “having a seat at the table” is a good one to describe what joining the PAT union will offer to each of us. Having a seat at the table means something when you have gone to the table, only to be told there are no more places to sit.  If you have never had to go to the table to begin with, you might believe that there will always be a seat for you, should you need one. I believed this too for a long time. I now know that this was naïve. Without a legal structure or system in place to ask for a seat, all you can do is walk away from the table feeling diminished.

I want a seat at the table for each of us. If you are also a social justice seeker, if you believe that everyone has a right to be respected and heard, if you believe in fairness and equality for each of us, if you believe that it’s important to have recourse in your work setting should you need it, I encourage you to join the PAT union.  Sign a union card at the MUB tables on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, return the card that was mailed to you, or visit our website: http://supportpat.wordpress.com.

Thank you.

Peter Welch
Health Services
21 year UNH employee


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