Nova Scotia

Joan Jessome, NSGEU president, won't run for national union position

Joan Jessome, president of the Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union, has decided not to seek a national union job in Ottawa, citing family reasons and a desire to live and work here.

Jessome has led the Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union for 17 years

Joan Jessome worked as a secretary in public health before being elected president of the NSGEU more than 15 years ago. (CBC)

Nova Scotia's most prominent union leader, Joan Jessome, has decided not to seek a national union job in Ottawa, citing family reasons and a desire to live and work in Nova Scotia.

Jessome, 57, still intends to retire in May as president of the Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union, which she has led for 17 years.

In December, the NSGEU announced she would run for a secretary treasurer position of the National Union of Public and General Employees in Ottawa. But Jessome says her plans have since changed.

"My family have had me away for many years now. Moving to Ottawa would mean I would be further away and see less of them," she told CBC News. "At this my stage of my life and this stage of their life it think its important to spend time with family."

"I really do have a real fondness and love for this province. I believe my reputation, I feel I could do more here than at a national level."

Jessome said she would like to focus on mental health issues.

As a public opponent of every Nova Scotia premier since Liberal Russell MacLellan, Jessome has been the public face of the labour movement in Nova Scotia. 

She became the first female president of the province's largest public sector union in 1999 and has served eight terms, with her salary currently sitting at $137,955. The union represents 30,000 public sector workers.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Paul Withers

Reporter

Paul Withers is an award-winning journalist whose career started in the 1970s as a cartoonist. He has been covering Nova Scotia politics for more than 20 years.

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