Gratitude Sunday: We Are The Champions

Gratitude * Sunday
Sunday’s heartfelt tradition.
A time to slow down, to reflect, to be grateful.
A list of gratitudes, our gratefulness feeds one another.
Quoted from Taryn Wilson
Joining the Gratitude Sunday Tradition at Wooly Moss Roots.

{Wooly Moss Roots Gratitude Sunday was not available at 3:00 pm Pacific Daylight Time when I go to post. I am publishing the link anyway as I enjoy her writing and her posts every week. I hope she is enjoying a fun and busy day.}

floral[1]

Sunday Haiku
Yellow flowers I
can’t identify wind wave
to me anyway.

Sunday Musings
I won. I win. I won!

Yes, patience is a virtue. And persistence. And insistence.

I don’t do this often, but I am feeling pretty puffed up about a change in the Union contract for my place of work. So I am going to brag. Get ready for me shouting out me. You can pat me on the back if you want; I’ve already done a pretty good job of doing that myself. It’s perfectly fine to be grateful for yourself, and after all, I am so glad I won!

Though this win is a good thing, I want to keep my job, so no details as I do not want anything taken in any manner untoward. Let’s just say my place of work is a department within a group of service departments. We have both part-time employees and full-time employees, many fewer of the latter. Most of the other departments use part -time employees on a temporary or negligible basis. My department is dependent on part-time people. Not only that but most of our part-timers are long time employees.

As you’ve heard me say before I work full-time. I’m grateful I can, as I will need to work as long as I can. I am my only source of income and I support a husband who is not physically able to work.

One of the perks my employer gives is a retirement package, but in the past only to full-time employees. You have to be vested to collect retirement pay, which means 5 years employment or be 50 years of age. I was vested within less than five years after my hire date as I was already close to 50. But my employer never offered a retirement package even at a pro-rated amount for the part-time employees. It didn’t seem right to me.

When I found we had a Union and I could have a voice I started asking why part-time people didn’t have the same benefits. I attended meetings; I have taken office positions in the Union and have one now. I voted. I stood up and I kept asking. A couple years ago my employer changed the retirement package with no changes to the old plan, but new hires after a certain date got a slightly different package, a little less contribution on the employer’s part, but the added opportunity to make a contribution the employer would match up to a certain percent in addition to the initial contribution amount. A little lesser plan than the original retirement plan but still it was something instead of just being cut for new hires like so many employers are doing these days. Many employers have even taken away all retirement benefits for all employees. That doesn’t seem right either.

I’m not saying an employer has an obligation to provide a retirement package. It’s a really nice benefit and if they do, it should be offered across the board to all employees. And whether an employer offers a retirement package, I have a responsibility to plan to the best of my ability for my own retirement and there are certainly plenty of retirement savings plans and IRAs for individuals to invest in. I encourage investment in your own retirement and don’t depend on the tenuous security of an employer’s retirement plan. Because if it works out you have both, cool, you have both. If not, at least you’ll have your own.

I kept asking. At every contract negotiation I made sure retirement for part-time employees was part of the proposal. I watched as other departments got the things they asked for, each gain an advantage. And I kept asking.

This year, for the first time in my 15 years of employment, my employer agreed to the retirement package for part-time employees if we would take a slightly lower wage increase. I was so excited they even put it on the table I admit I voted yes; I would be happy to have a smaller wage increase to know the co-workers I depend on will have a small nest egg for their future.

After 15 years of asking, as of July 1 our part-time employees will be getting their pro-rated retirement package. After 15 years of patience, the people I’ve worked with won’t get retro retirement, which they deserve, but they will have a retirement benefit going forward. After 15 years of insisting, these long time part-time co-workers will have a little monthly check when they retire in honor of service to our employer, same as the full-time employees. It’s right. It’s fair. I’m sad it wasn’t so 15 years ago for the long-timers.

Today, for our musical interlude and listening pleasure, we’ll listen to Queen’s We Are The Champions. I watched the official Queen site video, which is much like the live concert I got to see in the way back when Freddy Mercury was still alive. It cracked me up so much I laughed out loud and you can watch the original here. I really love the strength and the power of the screaming electric guitar in this piece and what I identify with is the lyrics, as applicable, and you can sign along here.

I am the champion. I won because now retirement is in place for all employees at my place of work. That’s what’s right. That’s what’s fair. Usually when we gain something through our contract it’s rare to give it up again. This one would be a hard one for them to change back.

Over the years I have had a few small successes. What makes me feel the best is though I won it for me, I won it for them. I consider this one tallied as part of my legacy. I won.

Color Watch – blooming attractions in my neighborhoods this week – so many colors! And so many flowers I still don’t know the names of! White daisies with yellow centers;DSCN4541 fragrant spears of lavender;DSCN4517 a late blooming pink azalea;DSCN4547 some unidentified peachy spears;DSCN4526 wild vetch looking so much like sweet peas but without the fragrance;DSCN4659 the abundance of creamy white Queen Anne’s lace growing in the crack between curb and street;DSCN4682 this pretty little purple;DSCN4614 an unidentified white rose family flower;DSCN4633 a multitude of tiny yellow potentilla;DSCN4638 an orange hanging Chinese lantern lily;Copy - DSCN4530 an unidentified blue-purple starburst;DSCN4694 a small bed of sweet william in a variety of pale pink and dark pink;DSCN4594DSCN4590DSCN4593 sweet william in an unusual salmon color I’ve never seen before, though the salmon color looks pinker through the camera lens than through my eye;DSCN4619 a creamy white pink mallow;DSCN4599 an unidentified brilliant burst of neon orange;DSCN4625 a stand of wild white yarrow;DSCN4612 stalks of lemony day lilies;DSCN4560 shiny leathery burgundy leaves;DSCN4663 glaring orange gladiolas;DSCN4689 bee in the bindweed;DSCN4684 a bed of light purple hollyhock with a vermillion rose making me think of popular 1970s color combinations;DSCN4610 unidentified yellow spears;DSCN4642 these bright yellow and orange coreopsis? Echinacea?DSCN4577 And a yellow rose.DSCN4512

Currently ReadingMan’s Search for Meaning (1946, psychology) by Viktor E. Frankl; The Pain Chronicles: Cures, Myths, Mysteries, Prayers, Diaries, Brain Scans, and The Science of Suffering (2010, science) by Melanie Thernstrom; How To Become a Really Good Pain in the Ass: A Critical Thinker’s Guide to Asking the Right Questions (2011, philosophy, logic). Yes, concurrently. Check out my From Me 2 U Book Review page.

This week I have been grateful for:

  • The summer solstice. Hail, Summer.
  • Spring arriving in time for summer for a blogger I read in Maine after a long winter for them.
  • Watching the family of squirrels play outside my kitchen window.
  • Rash free and relatively pain-free days.
  • Still having a home and bed of my own.
  • My own private bathroom.
  • Being curious and learning about movie production after watching Game of Thrones (an escapist fantasy not recommended for the weak- or soft-hearted, as it portrays much of the violence found in war).
  • Getting the floor swept and the plants watered after they started screaming at me.
  • Investing in a memory and taking myself to see the live comedy production of Leading Ladies at our local amateur theater. Once again I am impressed by the fun volunteers can create.
  • Being able to get back into the pool after rashes and infections kept me out for a month. The water feels so good it brings out the manatee in me.
  • Investing in a silent battery powered wall clock. Listening to the constant tick, tick, tick, of time passing was making me a little cranky.
  • A very large yellow and black butterfly (monarch?) flying through my backyard just as I happen to look out the kitchen window.
  • Feeling the sun warm my skin. Bring on the Vitamin D production. Yay, go body!
  • Enjoying smelling all the natural odors produced by the warming of the sun: cedar bark, scotch broom, grasses, pine trees, honeysuckle, earth, lavender, roses, birch and poplar trees, sweet william.
  • Watching tiny birds in the shade playing in the water of the neighbor’s sprinkler.
  • Going barefoot.
  • So much joy if you open your eyes and look.
  • Water.

Hoping you have a lovely week.

Namaste. Peace. Blessings.

floral[1]

Floral ribbon border by Laurel Burch

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