Former head of Unifor also seeking treatment at rehab facility
Having accused its former national president of violating the union’s constitution, Unifor has provided more details about the allegations.
Jerry Dias is said to have accepted $50,000 from a supplier of COVID-19 rapid tests that he then promoted to employers that have Unifor members on staff, and several organizations then bought the test kits.
Dias is being charged with violating the code of ethics and democratic practices of the union's constitution after an internal investigation, said Unifor national secretary-treasurer Lana Payne at a press conference.
“I remind you all that no one member is above our constitution, not the highest-ranking elected officers, no one,” she said. “We are all equal under that constitution.”
Dias will soon face a hearing with Unifor’s executive board and could see his Unifor membership suspended temporarily or permanently.
In a statement, Dias said he “was always guided by the principles set out in our constitution.”
The former leader also admitted he had been suffering from a “debilitating sciatic nerve issue” which led to him taking pain killers, sleeping pills and alcohol. As a result, he is now seeking treatment at a rehab facility.
“I have been made aware that Unifor has decided to proceed to a hearing in relation to a complaint against me during my time as president. On my physician's advice, I have not been able to participate in the investigation,” he said.
“The union has been my whole life, born and bred. But now it's time for me to listen to my doctor and put my health first.”
Unifor is Canada’s largest union in the private sector, representing 315,000 workers.
In October, Unifor called the escalating harassment faced by journalists – particularly online and targeting women and workers of colour – “absolutely unacceptable” and condemned the behaviour.