Veterans Day Message from President Lisa Gourley

It is that time of year when Americans pause to honor the service and sacrifice of our military veterans on Veterans Day. Thousands of OSEA members and represented employees are veterans; many of us have family who served in the military. We thank you for your service!

Some of you know about OSEA leader John Brown, our 13th state president and longtime executive director. John was a Marine who served in the South Pacific during World War II. He was a classified school employee. Tim Stoelb, my predecessor as state president, was a career Navy member before becoming a classified employee in Roseburg schools. There are many other veterans who have contributed to our strong union. You probably know coworkers who have served. Take a moment to thank them this week.

Nationally, about 1.2 million veterans are covered by union contracts. Nearly 1 in 5 employed veterans work in public sector jobs, including education. Of those, 1 in 3 has a service-connected disability. Jobs in schools and other types of public employment are important for service members in America’s workforce.

This Veterans Day, let’s take the time to thank our veterans for their service in keeping our nation safe and to recognize all the sacrifices they and their families have made.

At the same time, I ask that each of you take extra time for yourselves and those you love, and find a way to relieve some of the stresses we have all been under. The pandemic has sown economic hardships, political divisions and labor relations problems. Too much has been piled on us for too long. For many — maybe all of us — it has taken a toll. “COVID fatigue” is real and we may need to take a moment to breathe and recuperate. I hope that you can use your days off to heal.