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Governor seeks to outlaw Bunker Hill Day and St. Patrick's, er, Evacuation Day as paid holidays

Bill would only affect public workers in Suffolk County (question: And Somerville?).

Via David Guarino.

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Comments

This country needs more holidays not less

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...how can the Governor unilaterally "delete" them?

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do the contracts explicitly state the holidays, or rather allow for all recognized holidays off? Its easy to just stop recognizing them....

I think this is fantastic actually. The vast majority of private sector employees work on these days, why shouldn't our city employees?

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If the language simply says "all public holidays" you'd probably be right -- though changing an implicitly understood feature (the set or recognized holidays at the time the contract was entered into) might still be somewhat problematic.

But I do agree with the earlier poster who noted that Americans need more not less time off. (Who would have guessed that we would wind up with less vacation and holiday time than the entire rest of the Western world -- and much of the highly developed Eastern world as well).

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... which is all the more interesting because my job site isn't actually in suffolk county.

but it used to be, and it's in the union contract.

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Not to mention, it's a real pain if you have kids in school getting that day off, because then those of us in the private sector have to take a vacation day to satisfy the needs of some politician paying people off fifty years ago.

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I do understand the, "Hey, howz cum them gubmint workers get all kindsa stuff us workin' stiffs don't get?" attitude. But really, why don't we ever start with "Hey, we should fight to get what them gubmint workers get"?

Seriously, spend any time in Europe and you come back wondering, as someone alluded to above, where America decided to work like logging elephants. At least for most of our lives we had the most powerful country in the world and a robust economy, and average Americans get less time to relax than, for the luvva Mike, Belgians.

And then we take this kind of perverse pride in working our butts off, as if we build up points with Heaven for not taking all our vacation time. (Is it because we prefer spending on consumer goods spending time with family? We'd rather work OT and buy a stereo than take a day off and hear an oompah band in the park? Well, OK, maybe oompah band isn't the right incentive ...)

For me, this ain't the future I thought we had coming. (And I'm still waiting for my personal hovercraft, dammit.) But at least state workers are a tad closer - not, on average, as well paid as private-sector equivalents (where they exist), but a better quality of life.

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I couldn't agree more. Isn't an equally valid strategy for the governor to seek to make these into state holidays, rather than just county holidays?

And say what you will about Evacuation Day aka St. Patrick's Day, but it seems to me that Bunker Hill Day qualifies as a day to be observed strictly on the historical merits, no?

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I'm not at all suggesting people should get fewer days off. But I'd rather see the bulk of that be done through vacations, rather than specified days. Certain holidays make sense, as they are universally celebrated. But Evacuation Day doesn't mean much to most people, other than the schools closing. It's not a day I personally have a desire to take off, but I do for childcare. That means one less vacation day scheduled at my discretion. It's about flexibility, not some desire to make people work harder.

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i have to say, as a jewish person who doesn't celebrate christmas, i would just as soon work that day (no traffic! wheeeee!) and take off other days at my leisure...

on the other hand, i do understand that i would come in to a cold and empty building, of just me and a few other employees. and it wouldn't make sense to heat the place, so i'd be cold. and it wouldn't be cost effective to light it. so i'd be in the dark. probably wouldn't get much work done. but gosh darn it it would be my choice!

but with my luck i would make a twitter update about the cold and dark, and the herald would call me out being a lazy technology-abusive state hack ;)

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No doubt it is a hard line to draw.

My company has a fairly bad policy for handling this kind of thing. Everybody gets Christmas of course, whether or not they celebrate it. But in honor of people who celebrate Chinese New Year or Yom Kipur, or any other cultural holiday not on the official calendar, people can take up to three additional holiday's of their choosing.

In practice, this means that Jews get 3 more holidays than Christians and atheists. Once again, we'd be better off mostly just getting rid of the holidays. Thanksgiving and Christmas are difficult because, as you point out, almost everybody is going to take it off. Is it worthwhile to have the office open? Probably not.

Clearly, though, there is a difference between Thanksgiving and Bunker Hill day.

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So does that mean St. Patrick's Day (not Evacuation Day) is fair game for Irish-Americans?

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It probably is if somebody wanted to make that argument. However, I think it is predominantly considered an option for religious holidays. People use it for Good Friday, for example.

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The most fair policies I've encountered have been at workplaces that are open 24/7. At these places, people are usually required to take a vacation day for ANY day off (though they usually get like 20ish days per year instead of getting 10ish vacation days and 10ish holidays). On days like Thanksgiving, Xmas, New Year's, etc., the place is on weekend schedule with reduced staffing, but not more than a certain percent of the staff can be off, obviously. So people work it out and there are always enough people on any given holiday who either don't celebrate it or who volunteer to work since they've had it off many times previously or whatever. I've also worked at one place where they policy was basically the same, plus any federal holiday was 200% pay. Definitely not hard to get people to work it.

Jews shouldn't get more holidays, but it also isn't fair to have a policy like one job where I worked where there wasn't an option to come in and do paperwork or whatever on holidays I didn't observe. In that case I had to use up my vacation days for my religious holidays, and then on other people's religious holidays I had to sit at home using up a holiday when I'd rather be working and saving the holiday for use on one of mine.

What would be most fair is to scrap the idea of federal holidays all together. Give people days to use whenever they want.

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http://1smootshort.blogspot.com

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The most fair policies I've encountered have been at workplaces that are open 24/7. At these places, people are usually required to take a vacation day for ANY day off (though they usually get like 20ish days per year instead of getting 10ish vacation days and 10ish holidays). On days like Thanksgiving, Xmas, New Year's, etc., the place is on weekend schedule with reduced staffing, but not more than a certain percent of the staff can be off, obviously. So people work it out and there are always enough people on any given holiday who either don't celebrate it or who volunteer to work since they've had it off many times previously or whatever. I've also worked at one place where they policy was basically the same, plus any federal holiday was 200% pay. Definitely not hard to get people to work it.

Jews shouldn't get more holidays, but it also isn't fair to have a policy like one job where I worked where there wasn't an option to come in and do paperwork or whatever on holidays I didn't observe. In that case I had to use up my vacation days for my religious holidays, and then on other people's religious holidays I had to sit at home using up a holiday when I'd rather be working and saving the holiday for use on one of mine.

What would be most fair is to scrap the idea of federal holidays all together. Give people days to use whenever they want.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
http://1smootshort.blogspot.com

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How shall we determine which of those among us shall ascend to heaven? Certainly God would endow those most likely to enter the pearly gates with superior earthly qualities, like wealth, power and leadership, no? Perhaps then if we all do our best to bring out those attributes in ourselves we will prove, to ourselves and others, that we are among the chosen. But how shall we bring out wealth, power and leadership? Through work and trust in capitalism to chose those among us who are best.

Or something like that.

Also, I'd like to point out that Deval isn't talking about getting rid of the hollidays to put the employees' noses to the grind stone - he's talking about elimenating them as PAID holidays.

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I believe the state Legislature declares the holiday and directs state offices to be closed, and that's it. For national holidays, Congress declares them, closes most federal offices, and states may follow suit. Congress declared MLK Day, then states declared it, but a few states lagged behind and controversy arose until all states made it a holiday.

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Bunker Hill day is celebrated in Somerville, but I think Evacuation Day is only in the schools.

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I think the Governor made the better choice. He is already giving them 9 more furlough days to deal with. He could have made it 11 instead and kept the holiday.

I would hope though that these holidays are put back in when times get better. It is funny when times are tough the people with the money expect us all to make sacrifices but when they get better they are slow to give us what we gave up back. In a perfect world employees (Government and Public) would get more time off when times were good and less time off when times were bad. Maybe the Unions should look into putting that into their contract so they can hold off lay off's now and then get the benefits of a better economy later.


Twitter me this!

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we gave up raises last year for the next 3 years, but with the caveat that if the state brings in a certain amount of revenue, we get 'em back.

personally i am not holding my breath.

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Why has nobody mentioned the history of these "holidays" which, interestingly, are not celebrated as "work-day off" holidays anywhere in the US but Boston?

They were started as holidays when Irish-led Boston acquiesced to the Irish constituency for a day off so they could celebrate and drink freely without having to worry about not making it into work.

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so, ianal, but it appears as thought Patrick's proposal to end evacuation day and bunker hill day applies to suffolk county only.

patrick is saying he wants to ammend to MGL to delete the references to the two holidays. and if you read the MGL they are only making it a legal state holiday in suffolk country.

somerville chose to make it a municipal holiday, which patrick doesn't control. they could just keep on keepin' on drinking all that green beer.

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If they take away Bunker Hill and Evacuation Day, what's next? Thanksgiving? If they take away Thanksgiving, what's next? Christmas? And if we can't as a state celebrate Jesus' birthday, what can we celebrate? Don't let the Boston Herald destroy tradition.

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Mr. Hart.

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Why is Christmas a holiday, but not Yom Kippur? Why are there religious holidays in the state calendar at all? Shouldn't they be floating holidays to use as you choose?

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Trying to take the quinn bill now this???????? Devil,,,,,,,, I am mean Deval you are totally screwing us??? Have a little backbone will ya. Frankieballs got to comment on this one?

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I find it generally interesting that some of the people who have been Deval Patrick's greatest detractors - the Republicans - are also the ones who like to say things like "we should run government like a business or a corporation".

Guess what Governor Patrick is doing here ... he's trying to run the state like he ran corporations.

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