In the first contested election in almost 10 years, Canada’s largest private sector union has elected Lana Payne as Unifor’s new national president.
She is the first woman to hold this position.
“We have to keep in mind that economic policy has to work for workers, and not just for some corporations in this country,” Payne said after being elected.
Payne was previously Unifor’s national secretary-treasurer. She defeated Executive Assistant to the President Scott Doherty and Unifor Local 444 President Dave Cassidy.
In a statement, Unifor said as part of its campaign, Payne advocated for the need for greater transparency and accountability in the union.
Payne began investigating the former president
In her role as treasury secretary, Payne launched an independent external investigation into former Unifor president Jerry Diasin January.
Dias was accused of receiving money for recommending a company that supplies COVID-19 test kits to Unifor employers. He announced his final withdrawal from the leadership of Unifor in March.
“The constitutional violation dealt a severe blow to the union’s credibility,” said Larry Savage, a professor of labor studies at Brock University who followed the race. and be transparent – restore the trust of the union in the eyes of members and the general public, and it seems that Lana convinced the delegates that she was the person to do that.”
Dias was first elected national president in 2013. He was the first president of Unifor, which was formed after the Canadian Auto Workers Union merged with the Communications, Energy and Paper Workers Union of Canada.
Insecurity, inflation hurts workers
Savage said Unifor has a lot of influence at the negotiating table and at the ballot box.
“There’s an opportunity here for the new president of Uniforto to take advantage of this moment in the Canadian economy — we have record low unemployment — you’ve got inflation that’s choking people’s paychecks — it’s an opportunity that’s ripe for unionization.”
When Windsor auto workers were asked about their reaction to the union’s new leadership, most cited the need for more investment as their biggest priority.
“It’s been a rocky road the last two years with the COVID and now the parts shortage. So a little stability, a little calm in the waters, I think everyone will get back into the groove,” Dino Gatto said.
“I think there are a lot of good things that come from the union. I think there are things we can always improve.
Unifor represents more than 300,000 workers across Canada in a wide range of industries.
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