Who the heck is Brian?

I was a long-time Canadian trade union organizer and bureaucrat (not in its negative sense, I hope!), now retired and adventuring in SE Asia.

I got involved in the trade union movement when I was in graduate school at the University of Toronto, and never looked back. For many years I was active in the Canadian Union of Educational Workers, a trade union of teaching and research assistants, student lecturers, and part-time faculty in Canadian post-secondary education. Originally organized by those educational workers themselves, it has since been devoured by CUPE.

Among my proudest accomplishments was the four-year effort to organize the teaching assistants and student lecturers at the University of Manitoba. I'll never forget the day in 1986 when the retroactive pay arrived in members' paycheques. I got a phone call in the union office from a lecturer whose full three-course courseload had gone from $2,000/course to 6,000 per in one fell swoop. She was pretty happy. Of course, that effort was not just my accomplishment. There were many, many UofM students involved, and crucial.

For thirteen years I was the Communications Officer for the Society of Energy Professionals, now the Society of United Professionals. Given the turmoil in the electricity industry in Ontario at the time, I was active in informing the members, and in nurturing that union's reputation in the public as a reliable source for information about the industry, where it was going, and how best to ensure Ontarians continue to benefit from affordable, reliable, safe electricity.

One of my deepest disappointments at this point in my life is that, no matter that I spent most of my life trying in my (very) small way to help make the world a better place, we're now in the midst of a deep, deep crisis, a crisis that could end all of us. The old, US-led world "order" is collapsing under its own weight, greed, and hyprocrisy, and a new one is struggling to take its place. That is, of course, if we all don't get blown to Kingdom Come in the process, and those that survive (hopefully not me!) are condemned to live through/die from nuclear winter.

I'm old enough now that I might not live long enough to see that end, for which I'm thankful, and for which I feel a bit guilty. It's not a very nice world I've gifted to my two sons.