A message from Larry Brown, NUPGE President

March 1 2022

I have been an elected Officer with the National Union of Public and General Employees for over 3 decades.  

I take great pride in the role I have been privileged to play in helping to build NUPGE into the strong and progressive organization it is today.

And I have been privileged as well, to play a meaningful role in the Canadian Labour Congress and on the world stage through my work with Public Services International.

Along the way, I have had the good fortune to work with an excellent staff in the NUPGE office. They are, and have been, supportive, dedicated, and extremely capable.

I’ve also had the chance to work with some tremendous leaders across the country, in our Component unions, and in other unions, here and around the world.

The labour movement has been a huge part of my life. I have always believed that the union movement is absolutely crucial to our country and our world. Without the work of the labour movement, we would be a poorer, less equal, and less democratic society. That is a demonstrable fact.

The challenges we face today are serious, and dangerous. A part of me would love to don once more my dented and rusted armour, mount my tired but trusty steed, and charge off one more time to fight the good and noble fight.

But another part of me, the more sensible part, knows that it is time to leave the field of battle, knowing that the labour movement is not, and never has been, reliant on a small number of individuals. It is instead what the name suggests, a movement, where leaders rise and then step aside so that others can step into the breach.  

The struggle will continue, with new leadership and new vigour, with new ideas and new strategies. Our National Union will continue to grow in capacity and scope. I will be happy to provide advice or counsel when asked. But new leaders will build on what has been and move forward to what now should be.

I am of a generation. My generation provided a large number of important voices in the fight for justice. But that is also true of the generation that will follow. The same fights for fairness, for justice, will be waged, with some different rules of engagement.

None of us have a monopoly on passion for fairness, on the will to create a better life for working people wherever they work and whatever they do, on fighting against racism and hate, on pushing always forward for a better quality of life for all, with decent public services provided through a well financed and well staffed public sector.

And so, I have told our National Board that when my term of Office expires in June, I will not offer to serve another term. 

My Union has a wonderful National Board, and great staff, and dynamic potential new leaders.

The entire labour movement is full of dedicated and committed people.

I love this quote from Gordon Tootoosis, “Leadership is about submission to duty, not elevation to power.” It fits perfectly with the way I have always tried to conduct myself. I have done my duty, in the best way that I could.  

I am comfortable knowing that I have made a difference.

In solidarity,