Union issues boycott retraction


April 16, 2011
LITTLETON- The State Employees' Association (SEA) retracted its call for a boycott of 12 local businesses Monday following intense criticism at the local level.

"The SEA's concern captured the attention of the public and the local business leaders, even more so than originally anticipated," said SEA President Diana Lacey in a public statement released Monday. "It is now clear that, through the Littleton Chamber of Commerce, businesses, social services, public workers and the general public will be coming together to create a more comprehensive dialogue on meeting the important needs of the community."

The retraction came following the selectmen's decision to send a letter to the SEA, asking for a retraction. The SEA had not yet received the letter when it made its decision, though it had received a similar statement from the Littleton Area Chamber of Commerce, issued April 1, condemning the boycott and asking for a retraction.

The SEA credited discussions with the Littleton Area Chamber of Commerce, Senator John Gallus, and Councilor Ray Burton for the breakthrough. The statement also recognized Gerald Winn, the town moderator and chairman of the chamber's Community Outreach Committee. Winn was instrumental in putting together "The Littleton Community Project," which will bring a mediator into town to try to bridge recent divisiveness. Winn had several conversations with Lacey over the past week, working as an advocate for the town.

"The business people were looking for an answer from the SEA, and I was trying to help out a little bit," said Winn Monday.

Winn said that the chamber is not sure what is behind the boycott, and how the specific businesses were chosen at the state level to be targeted, but that the chamber is not the organization to launch such an investigation. He observed that, though the retraction is a step in the right direction, it may not be enough for some of the targeted business owners.

"The early response from some of the businesses, they want more," said Winn. He said that the issue has taken longer to resolve than expected, only emphasizing the worth of the Littleton Community Project.

"It seems like it makes this project even more important when things can't get resolved," said Winn.

The SEA is holding a non-public meeting Thursday evening to discuss the issues with its local members. The Littleton Area Chamber of Commerce will also be discussing the SEA's most recent statement at its meeting tomorrow morning at 7:30 a.m.

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