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Former NSGEU president Jason MacLean seeking national post

In an interview with CityNews Halifax, MacLean looked back on his time as president and ahead to his campaign for secretary treasurer of the National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE).
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(Photo courtesy of NSGEU)

After the president of Nova Scotia’s largest union decided not to re-offer earlier this month, he’s set to run for a position with a national union. 

Jason MacLean served as president of the Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union (NSGEU) for six years, a union representing 30,000 workers across the province.

In an interview with CityNews Halifax, MacLean looked back on his time as president and ahead to his campaign for secretary treasurer of the National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE).

"It’s been a fantastic ride," he said, calling the NSGEU "a place which was home for me."

MacLean noted he couldn’t put his name on the ballot to reclaim his position with the NSGEU when he knew he would be running for a position with the NUPGE.

"That's what I'm going to be doing is moving on to our national union, if the delegates want me to be there," he said, adding, "so far, so good." 

MacLean began his career back in 1995 as a correctional officer. He has been a member of the NSGEU ever since, joining the union’s board of directors in 2003. In 2016, MacLean became the second Black president of the NSGEU and the first since the 1970s. He’s made it clear he has no plans to leave the labour movement.

"I've been able to bridge the gap for people that don't know what unions are for employers who may have an adversarial relationship with unions and to really lean in and recognize that a shared responsibility for safe workplaces and a shared responsibility for promoting the work that our members do on behalf of Nova Scotians," he said.

Noting the NUPGE has a new strategic plan for the new leadership team to execute, MacLean pointed to things like getting more involved in politics, becoming a leader in Canada’s labour movement, and focusing on equity, diversity and inclusion. 

“I think what I've been able to do is somewhat neutralize any vitriol that was out there against unions, but also to really create relationships with employers,” MacLean said. “That's something that I wanted to do coming in, and I believe I've been pretty successful at it.”

Sandra Mullen, who works as a licensing officer with the Department of Community Services in Yarmouth, has been acclaimed as NSGEU president.



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