Lana Payne elected President of Unifor at Toronto convention

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Published August 10, 2022 at 3:46 pm

Lana Payne, who championed the need for transparency during a campaign that was tainted by an ethics scandal, has made history with her election as the new National President of Unifor, the first woman to hold the position.

Payne was previously National Secretary-Treasurer of Unifor and was the first woman to hold that position as well. She defeated Executive Assistant to the President Scott Doherty and Unifor Local 444 President Dave Cassidy.


Payne replaces disgraced former president Jerry Dias, who was forced to resign earlier this year for ethic violations after allegedly taking a $50,000 bribe from a COVID-19 test kit provider to market their products to businesses employing Unifor and then participating in a cover-up.

Throughout her campaign Payne talked of the need for greater transparency and accountability in the union. Delegates to Unifor’s fourth Constitutional Convention agreed.

This was the first contest race for President since the inaugural convention in 2013 that saw Dias get elected. He ran uncontested twice since then.

Dias was a key figure in convincing General Motors to invest $1.3 billion to re-open its Oshawa assembly plant last year after the company had declared it was shuttered for good.

A Unifor leadership-authored ‘Call Letter to the Convention’ states that the convention “will be a turning point for our union: one where we will gather and set a course for the future of our union. We have much to debate, much to reflect on, much to mourn, and much to celebrate.”

Unifor, which boasts more than 315,000 members, will also select its new secretary-treasurer, regional directors and several policy directives as well at this week’s assembly.

Payne, who was elected to a three-year term, is expected to meet with the media in the lobby of the Metro Toronto Convention Centre at 255 Front St W, Toronto at 5 p.m. today.

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