Probe complicates auto legacy of Canadian labor chief Jerry Dias

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Former Unifor President Jerry Dias designed a substantial automotive legacy in his eight-moreover yrs main the Canadian union.

Dias, who retired March 11, was influential in securing billions of bucks of investments for the country’s assembly vegetation, assisting to safe a Canadian producing footprint that experienced been in threat of collapsing.

He loudly advocated for vehicle personnel as a participant in North American trade talks during intense spats with automakers this sort of as Basic Motors.

But the longtime labor leader has exited underneath a cloud of controversy that threatens to tarnish that legacy.

A day soon after saying Dias’ sudden retirement due to the fact of overall health challenges, Unifor reported its former leader was underneath investigation for an alleged breach of the union’s structure. The mother nature of the allegation is nevertheless unfamiliar.

The union did not present specifics, citing that the investigation was ongoing. Dias declined to remark to Automotive Information.

Dias, 63, went on clinical leave Feb. 6, 11 days following the union commenced an impartial external investigation after obtaining a penned grievance. He experienced been anticipated to retire later in the yr, next Unifor’s conference in August. He rather did so this month.

Aim on vehicle

The controversy bordering his retirement complicates a tale of a very long career in union politics and main Canada’s largest private-sector union, which signifies about 40,000 hourly auto workers.

Dias grew to become the first national president of Unifor in 2013, just after the Canadian Automobile Employees merged with the Communications, Power and Paperworkers Union of Canada. The union represents employees throughout a wide array of sectors, from media to aviation, with auto workers making up about 13 per cent of overall membership.

Irrespective of its relatively small footprint in the union, the car sector was a leading priority for Dias in the course of his tenure. Presenting himself publicly as a gruff, no-nonsense advocate for Canadian automobile staff, Dias played vital roles in various rounds of negotiations with GM, Ford and Fiat Chrysler Vehicles.

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