Unifor president Jerry Dias retires amid ongoing health issues

Click to play video: 'Unifor, Canadian Medical Association presidents on the importance of paid sick leave'
Unifor, Canadian Medical Association presidents on the importance of paid sick leave
Unifor President Jerry Dias explains the importance of paid sick leave as Canadians rely on essential workers to get through the pandemic, while Dr. Ann Collins, president of the Canadian Medical Association, explains why paid sick leave is an integral part of keeping essential workers safe – Apr 8, 2021

The head of Canada’s largest private-sector union is retiring amid what the organization says is ongoing health issues.

Unifor says in a statement that national president Jerry Dias is stepping down after more than eight years in the role.

The statement says Dias notified the union’s national executive board of his immediate retirement on Friday, just over one month after going on medical leave.

Unifor says he was expected to retire at the constitutional convention in August in Toronto but he stated he is still dealing with health issues.

The board will meet in the coming days to determine next steps for leadership of the union, which represents 315,000 workers.

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National secretary-treasurer Lana Payne thanks Dias in the statement for his contributions to working people, from his days representing aerospace workers on the shop floor to serving as national president.

President of Unifor Jerry Dias makes remarks to the De Havilland picket line at the Downsview plant in Toronto on Tuesday, August 24, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Christopher Katsarov

Dias says he has all the confidence in leadership, staff and locals to continue to build Unifor into a bold a progressive force.

“After eight and a half years I can proudly say we have built an incredible organization and made Unifor the influential and successful union it is today,” Dias says in the statement.

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