Nova Scotia

NSGEU picks new president

Sandra Mullen is the new president of the Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union.

Sandra Mullen to lead Nova Scotia's largest union after Jason MacLean did not reoffer

Sandra Mullen was the only candidate in the race to become NSGEU president. (NSGEU submitted)

Sandra Mullen is the new president of the Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union.

Mullen, the only candidate seeking the position, was affirmed at a convention on Saturday.

She replaces longtime president Jason MacLean, who decided not to reoffer. He has announced his intention to run for a position with the National Union of Public and General Employees — the national counterpart to the NSGEU and other provincial unions across the country. 

The NSGEU is Nova Scotia's largest union with around 34,000 members.

There were 316 voting delegates at the convention.

Mullen served as the union's first vice-president for the last six years. Hugh Gillis was chosen to take Mullen's former post.

"I'm certainly excited for the challenge and humbled by the support of the delegates here at convention as I was elected to the role and acclaimed in that role," Mullen said.

"We've been working with our members, getting them through the heart of this pandemic, and we're certainly still dealing with the effects of it."

Staffing issues

According to Mullen, the pandemic uncovered many weaknesses in the system, including a shortage of staff in some sectors. 

Mullen said the new executive plans to work with the government to improve recruitment and retention.

Members of the new NSGEU executive are Sandra Mullen, left, Hugh Gillis, Tammy Gillis, Darren McPhee and Peter Perry. (NSGEU submitted)

The union worked with the government on improvements, such as changes to the continuing care assistant program, but more needs to be done, she said. 

She said working conditions in that sector continue to present some of the biggest challenges.

Bill 148

As one of eight unions challenging Bill 148, Mullen said the NSGEU is awaiting the government's response to a recent Nova Scotia Court of Appeal ruling that could send the bill back to the Nova Scotia Supreme Court.

Bill 148, passed by the province's Liberal government in 2015 and proclaimed in 2017, effectively imposed a wage package on civil servants, health-care workers and thousands of other public sector employees.


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