We asked each of our table officers the same questions and today we’re going to get to know NSUPE’s Secretary, Alex Hagen.
According to the NSUPE Constitution, the Secretary is responsible for ensuring that minutes from Convention, Executive Council meetings, and Council Committee meetings are recorded, preserved, and distributed where appropriate. The Secretary is also responsible for ensuring that meeting notices, reports, recommendations, and other materials are distributed as required. Lastly, the Secretary has a number of administrative tasks that they are responsible for with respect to Convention.
- Where do you work?
I work at the Halifax Central Library.
- What is your job title?
I am a “Library Assistant 3” but I usually just say I’m a Library Assistant. We’re undergoing some restructuring at HPL, though, so my title is going to change soon and I don’t really know what it’ll be! Sadly I don’t think the word “Library” will be in it anymore.
- How long have you been a NSUPE member?
I’ve been a NSUPE member for almost 5 years.
- What do you wish everyone knew about NSUPE?
That the membership is the Union! NSUPE Executive Council and Local Executives serve the membership; it’s the membership, as a whole, that has the ultimate authority in the Union. Be heard and fight for the changes you want to see! Get involved! Know your rights! Don’t get discouraged!
- What is your greatest hope for NSUPE?
My greatest hope for NSUPE is that we help strengthen the labour movement in Nova Scotia, Canada, and the world at large while also serving and protecting our membership the best that we can. It’s simple but is honestly my greatest hope.
- What is a little known fact about you?
I used to run a scrappy little one-person soda company called Oddbottle Soda. Some people remember it and that makes me happy.
- What do you do in your spare time?
In my spare time I agonize over making small and perhaps largely inconsequential changes to draft meeting-minutes and am very fond of whiling away the hours playing video games and petting my cats. Sometimes I also make my own mead!
- What is your favorite/least favorite thing about being a table officer?
My favorite thing about being a table officer is how I now have, more than ever before, the ability to channel my passion for worker’s rights in ways that can potentially benefit a large group of people. My least favorite thing is that I have to commute to Burnside during rush-hour traffic to attend Executive Council meetings, so all-in-all, things could be worse.
- What do you hope to achieve in your position as Secretary?
To ensure the NSUPE Executive Council operates as transparently as possible. I honestly just want to try my best to serve the membership and if by the end of my term I’ve made positive impacts for the Union, its members, and its staff, then I will be happy.
- What is your favorite food?
I love clubhouse sandwiches. I don’t know when that happened. I wish I could remember the first time I had a clubhouse sandwich. When I was a kid I notoriously disliked tomatoes (and in turn was wary of clubhouse sandwiches) but one day I guess I just took the plunge and I haven’t looked back. I get upset when clubhouse sandwiches are served without the third piece of bread in the middle.
- What was your first job?
My first “real” job was working at a Dairy Queen. After a few weeks my supervisor and I mutually agreed that I should not work there anymore. I called him months later for a reference, which in hindsight was a silly thing for me to do.
- What advice do you wish someone gave you on your first day as a NSUPE member?
Just because management/your supervisor tells you something is true doesn’t make it true. Don’t be afraid to question things and to question, especially, what people take for granted. Always get a second opinion.
- What are you passionate about? (personally/professionally)
Personally, and professionally, I am passionate about helping people. I’ve worked a lot of jobs where I’ve felt like I was supporting industries or practices that hurt people in one way or another and I’m lucky to be able to work at someplace as socially positive as a library. And, in a similar vein, I love being able to serve the NSUPE membership as their Secretary.
- What do you hope to achieve in 2020? (personally/professionally)
Personally speaking I would like get into a housing co-op this year or help to organize one. The housing situation in Halifax is awful. Professionally speaking I would like to settle into a position at HPL that I enjoy – not that I don’t enjoy my current position, but with the restructuring that’s happening at work I don’t know what my “current position” is going to be soon!
- What scares you?
I have a lingering fear of being “wrong” about things and try, as a result, to see issues from many different perspectives. I’m also afraid of dying because I don’t like big, lingering mysteries like that. Some people are afraid of ghosts but I would love to see a ghost because I feel like that would cure me of some of my existential dread.
- Where would you like to travel to and why?
I would love to go to Disneyland because I’m a huge Star Wars nerd and want to go to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. I’m frustrated, though, that they don’t let people wear Star Wars costumes there. So my second choice would be Japan (but while also wearing a Star Wars costume sometimes).
- What question do you wish I had asked?
I wish you had asked me … hm, maybe why I feel so strongly about workers rights? Or what got me interested in workers rights? I feel like most answers would be because people disliked their jobs and wished they could be better, but I imagine there’s some interesting answers out there.