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Unifor members to elect new national president in Toronto this week

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Former Unifor President Jerry Dias takes a question from a journalist after announcing a three-year labour agreement with the Ford Motor Company at a news conference in Toronto on Tuesday, September 22, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

TORONTO — Unifor members from across Canada are gathering in Toronto this week to elect the union's next leader, several months after former national president Jerry Dias stepped down.

Monday will kick off the start of the union's fourth constitutional convention where elections for Dias' successor, the next secretary-treasurer and regional directors will take place throughout the week.

Delegates will also vote on key priorities and initiatives.

Earlier this year, Dias was charged with violating the code of ethics and democratic practices of the union's constitution.

Dias had long been the face of Unifor.

He led the union since 2013 and was reelected in 2016 and 2019.

He had a reputation for being tough-talking, scrappy and willing to push everyone from top companies to politicians to act in workers' best interests, and was a key figure during the negotiation of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement. He also successfully encouraged General Motors Canada to reopen a plant in Oshawa, Ont., invest up to $1.3 billion and hire up to 1,700 workers after it planned to close the facility.

Unifor has more than 315,000 members.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug.7, 2022.

The Canadian Press