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New union, Unifor, elects Jerry Dias as inaugural president


September 1, 2013
By Anthony Capkun

September 1, 2013 – Canada’s newest union—Unifor—has elected Jerry Dias as its first national president. Dias had been assistant to the Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) national president since 2007.

The Unifor founding convention got underway this Labour Day Weekend, with over 3500 delegates—formerly members of the CAW and the Communications, Energy & Paperworkers Union of Canada—voting to unite to form what they call the country’s largest private-sector union. They adopted the Unifor Constitution by a 95.5% majority.

“We are building a country where every willing Canadian can have a good job,” Dias told the convention in his first remarks as national president. “A job with decent pay and rights and conditions and benefits. And a union to stand up for them. A good job where they can perform their labour, using their strength and their skills, with honour and pride. And with their labour, they create the economic basis for rising living standards and shared prosperity.”

The convention elected Peter Kennedy as secretary-treasurer—a post he had held with CAW since 2009. Michel Ouimet, formerly CEP’s executive vice-president, Quebec, was elected Unifor Quebec director.

Unifor says has more than 300,000 members, working 20 economic sectors in every province and territory of the country.