An Update from our Board

Written by SEACC

February 6, 2023

Congratulations to the SEACC staff and to all of our supporters who spoke up, wrote in, and signed petitions to protect our largest temperate rainforest! We are celebrating the long-awaited victory of the National Roadless Rule being reinstated on the Tongass.

SEACC has been at the forefront of protecting Southeast Alaska’s environment for 52 years, including helping to develop, secure, and defend the Forest Service’s Roadless protection rule. This landmark policy protected 58.5 million acres of the remaining unspoiled national forest lands across the country, including 9.3 million acres of the Tongass. Without our hard work, the Roadless Rule would have been reversed under two previous, pro-logging federal governments. Defending the environment and the people of Southeast Alaska who rely on it is why SEACC is here. 

We are writing today to give our supporters an update on recent unionization efforts at SEACC. We would like to thank all those who contacted us and offered your perspective. Although feedback and recommendations have varied, each conversation has been important and fruitful. Now that we are through something of a fast-paced process, we wanted to take a breather and get an update out to our supporters.

We think it is important to note that as the Board of Directors, we think that the entire SEACC staff is doing an admirable job under difficult circumstances. Every interaction we have had with staff left us with the sense that the mission of SEACC is being passionately pursued by highly capable and dedicated employees of the organization.

Even before the union issue arose, we believed and did our best to ensure that all employees were well compensated for the time they devote to the mission, received a robust benefits package, and were given as much time away from the job as possible to enjoy the beautiful lands and waters that they dedicate so much of their time to protect. This belief has been the foundation for our decisions to promote these values throughout the organization’s policies. We also developed remote and flexible work policies; anti-harassment, grievance, and anti-bullying policies; and invested in improvements to office spaces. We supported the creation of new staff manager roles giving SEACC a nearly 1:1 manager-to-staff ratio, and our staff Leadership Team has maintained an open-door policy where all staff may put themselves on our Executive Director or Deputy Director’s calendars whenever their time is needed or sought.

In the weeks to come we will be sharing internal documents such as our personnel policy with the public for full transparency. None of the staff has suggested any ways that we could have met their needs better, and we feel that there may be other, perhaps better ways to solve problems than unionization, especially since it is apparent that not all staff agree on this issue. We think unionization deserves careful and objective review, just like any other proposed change or challenge the organization faces over time.

At the end of the day and regardless of the outcome of the unionization effort, we will continue to be devoted to SEACC’s mission of protecting the lands and waters of Southeast Alaska. In addition to educating ourselves on this process and the implications to the organization, we are looking closely at how the Board leads the organization, how our Executive Director manages the organization, and how our employees’ experience can be the best it can be. We are committed to ensuring that your trust is not misplaced.

We continue to invite full transparency and further dialogue. For more details about this process, please see the linked document.

With deep gratitude for your continued support,
The Southeast Alaska Conservation Council Board of Directors

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