Chris Tatton Brown was a great trade unionist, a founding member of the Skycity Employees Association and served on the Unite Union Executive for many years.
I balanced my militancy with his wisdom and tactical nous, and I am sad that he has left this world so quickly after Skycity made so many redundant last year. Chris volunteered to take redundancy so that younger workers could keep their jobs at that time.
I remember the day of the big fire, arriving on site and shocked to find our workers still working on the floor inhaling smoke whilst the managers panicked. I walked through the floor, telling everybody to get ready, and went up the escalators and saw Chris there supervising the tables. I gave him the nod and he gave me the nod. "If you can smell smoke then we need to leave this building now." Chris called his game to an end, packed up his chips, and said in his authoritative voice- "you heard the man. It's time to go". The workers packed up and followed the man they respected so much to safety. Chris was a hero.
The great thing about a Union is that so many people of different backgrounds come together for a common cause. Chris liked to think he was a conservative, but he had a strong streak of staunch independence and knew how to stand up for other people. In my final phone call with him last week he said how proud he was of our work with SEA Unite and I told him that this was his legacy, that his work and memory would live on in the union he founded and built. And then, chalk and cheese, we shed a wee tear together, two genuine comrades, an English Gent and an Irish militant, saying goodbye for now.
Slán a chara Chris.
Ní bheidh do leithéid arís ann.
When workers rights are under attack
You stood up and you fought back.
on behalf of the SEA-Unite Executive
I remember when I first met Chris, as a new dealer in 2003. He was immediately one of my favourite supervisors, such a nice guy and so supportive. When you saw Chris was your supervisor, you knew that would make the shift a better one.
He was a great delegate. Very experienced, very intelligent. He was the guy you wanted on a working group, as you knew he'd have a lot to contribute. One of those super-delegates really, a regular on the bargaining team, could do case work, particularly disciplinaries, by himself without supervision. He helped so many workers through difficult times.
When I started as an organiser, I took over a site with a group of delegates who had a lot more experience than me, and Chris was really supportive once again.
A staunch leader, with great union values and a rare wisdom. He will be dearly missed.