Hi folks, I hope you’re well, my name is Stephen Brown and I’m putting myself forward to be MU General Secretary in the election that’s due to take place in 2022. The purpose of this video is to explain why I’m putting myself forward but also to give you a little bit of information about me the musician, trade unionist, and also hopefully a little bit about me the person will seep through into that.
So, why am I standing? Well, I’m standing to be MU General Secretary because I absolutely, passionately believe in improving the working lives of musicians. Whether you work under one of our collective bargaining agreements as a freelancer or employed musician, I want to see us making inroads into improving those agreements. Equally, if you’re a musician that does your own thing, and has to negotiate your own fees, and your own terms and conditions, I think that the MU plays an important role in setting the landscape to give you the confidence to go out there and negotiate the best possible rates for yourself.
I’m a musician myself, I’ve been a musician since the age of 11 when I first picked up a trumpet. My main instrument since the age of 14 has been a guitar and I’ve taken that guitar as a songwriter and travelled around the UK, Europe and North America, playing my music and meeting lots of amazing, fantastic people and other musicians. And as a musician I understand what makes musicians tick and I understand there are times when we put everything on the line for being a musician. And only a musician will understand that, and that’s why I also think that the General Secretary of the MU because we are after all it says what it says it does what it does on the tin, we are a union of musicians. And I think the General Secretary should be a musician.
As a trade unionist, I have over 40 years’ experience gained in 4 different unions as an activist, and an official, at all levels, local level, regional level, national level, and I’m currently the MU Midlands Regional Organiser. Over the years I have literally helped thousands of members in all kinds of different cases, whether it’s as an individual, or on collective issues, whether it’s about disciplinaries, grievances, redundancies, you not being paid your fees so we chase those up, whether it’s performer rights, copyright issues, you name it I’ve been involved in it, and I’ve done it. I don’t say that to be flippant, I say that to try and demonstrate that I do have a wealth of experience when it comes to trade unionism, and also understanding how a trade union should run and how it should be operated. For me the most important thing in a trade union is you the members, and it is my ambition to be able to work together with you to improve everything we do as a union at all levels.
OK, that’s it for me for now, but what I would like to leave you with is this one thought. When I say that your issues are my issues, I mean that. And as part of the campaign trail, I’m going to go out and I want to listen to as many members as I possibly can. I want to hear your views on what you think the MU should be doing. And if I’m successful in being elected as MU General Secretary that listening exercise will continue because we are nothing without you, the members, and it is my ambition to put members front and centre of everything that we do. Thank you very much for your time, I look forward to meeting you at some point.