Unifor members elect Lana Payne as new leader

In its first contested election in nearly 10 years, Canada’s largest private sector union elected Lana Payne as Unifor’s new national president.

She is the first woman to hold this position.

“We have to consider that economic policy should work for working people, not just a few companies in this country,” Payne said after his election.

Payne was previously national secretary-treasurer of Unifor. She defeated Executive Assistant to President Scott Doherty and Unifor Local 444 President Dave Cassidy.

In a statement, Unifor said that as part of her campaign, Payne has championed the need for greater transparency and accountability within the union.

Payne launched an investigation into the former president

In her role as secretary-treasurer, Payne launched an independent external investigation into former Unifor president Jerry Dias in January.

Dias was accused of taking money for recommending a company providing COVID-19 test kits to Unifor employers. He announced his eventual retirement from the leadership of Unifor in March.

“The constitutional violation was a severe blow to the credibility of the union,” said Larry Savage, a labor studies professor at Brock University who followed the race. “It was imperative that the candidates set out clear plans for how they would approach the issue – and be transparent – ​​to restore the union’s trust in the eyes of members and the general public and it appears that Lana convinced delegates that she was the person to do it. .”

Dias was first elected national president in 2013. He was the first president of Unifor, which was formed after the union of Canadian Auto Workers merged with the Communications, Energy and paper.

Uncertainty, inflation harms workers

Savage said Unifor has a lot of clout at the bargaining table – and at the ballot box.

“There is an opportunity here for the new president of Unifor to seize this moment in the Canadian economy – we have record unemployment – ​​you have inflation eating away at people’s paychecks – it’s an opportunity which is ripe for unionization.”

WATCH | Lana Payne at the head of Unifor:

Unifor members elect first female president

Unifor, Canada’s largest private sector union, has elected Lana Payne as its new national president. She is the first woman to hold this position.

When Windsor autoworkers were asked about their reaction to new union leadership, most said the need for more investment was their top priority.

“The road has been bumpy for the past two years with COVID and now the pieces are missing. So a bit of stability, a bit of calm in the waters – I think everyone will get back into the rhythm,” said Dino Gatto. .

“I think there are a lot of good things coming out of the union. I think there are things we can always improve on… Contract time is next year, so hopefully we will see some of those things come to fruition.”

Unifor represents more than 300,000 workers across Canada in a wide range of industries.

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