PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten – WE are nearing the close of another very-testing year. The Corona Virus which spawned the deadly Delta, and now the highly-infectious Omicron variant, is leaving us exhausted – mentally and physically.
Traditionally, December is a hectic month: traffic jams as we head to work and bustling businesses as we try to get the necessities for a memorable holiday.
For some of us, we get the luxury of a few days as a holiday. But for others, there is no such luxury.
Sanitation workers must ensure the last pickup before Christmas.
Our front-line workers such as nurses, police officers, emergency dispatchers, ambulance personnel, firefighters, PJIAE personnel, Port St. Maarten personnel, security officers, among others – must keep their shoulders at the wheels while many of us are able to spend time with our family or friends.
As educators, non-teaching staff, and civil servants, our work is often invisible: without fanfare as we even complete behind-the-scenes tasks necessary to keep the wheels of our economy turning. It’s truly hard to make these types of annual sacrifices consistently even though we know what we signed up for when we accepted these jobs.
Many of us miss special occasions with family and friends because of the demands of our jobs.
It is precisely this the reason being a union member is so valuable. The WITU is your dependable ally in securing and defending your hard-won rights.
In retrospect, we have seen firsthand the need for strengthened structural support for our education system – especially financial and human – while embracing good workers within the learning sector.
St Maarten is facing challenging times as we continue to wrestle with the effects of the ongoing pandemic. The never-say-die heart and spirit of workers are put to the test by proposed cost-cutting measures. The WITU will continue to protect your rights, ensuring contracts, paid time-off, sick time, and other hard-earn benefits such as the vacation pay are continuously honored.
When in doubt, contact your union.
Let us remain grateful for being an extremely robust union and support others who deserve the opportunity to join a union in their workplace without fear of retribution.
The reality is that so many jobs aren’t paying enough to allow workers to get by especially with the high cost of living in St. Maarten. Everyone deserves improved wages and enhanced working conditions.
On behalf of the entire WITU board, I wish you and your precious family a very Merry Christmas and a healthy and prosperous Happy New Year.
Continued success and blessings to you in 2022!