Unifor chairman Jerry Dias retires, citing health problems

Jerry Dias, an influential labor leader who has long led Canada’s largest private sector union, is retiring from his position due to health problems.

In a statement released on Sunday, Unifor confirmed that Dias, who had been on medical leave since February 6, would be stepping down soon. The statement said Dias “continues to address ongoing health concerns.”

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

“I have all the confidence the leadership, staff and locals will continue to build Unifor into a courageous and progressive force for people working coast to coast to coast.”

Dias previously said he would retire in August, after his third term as national president.

Dias was elected Unifor’s national president following the union’s formation in 2013, following a merger between Canadian Automobile Workers and the Canadian Union of Communications, Energy and Paper Workers. Unifor now covers 315,000 workers in various sectors, according to the union.

During that time Unifor was not affiliated with the Canadian Labor Congress and had been active on a variety of significant political issues, including the negotiation of a new North American free trade agreement.

Over the last few elections, Unifor has participated as a third-party advertiser, mostly campaigning against the Conservatives.

Jackson Wintringham

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