Retired union leader Jerry Dias under investigation for allegedly breaching Unifor constitution, union says

Jerry Dias — the longtime head of Canada's largest private sector union who retired just days ago — has been under investigation since the end of January for allegedly breaching his union's constitution.

Dias, on medical leave since Feb. 6, announced Sunday that he would be retiring from Unifor

Former Unifor national president Jerry Dias is being investigated for allegedly breaching Unifor's constitution. (The Canadian Press)

Jerry Dias — the longtime head of Canada's largest private sector union who retired just days ago — has been under investigation since the end of January for allegedly breaching his union's constitution.

A statement from Unifor issued Monday said that the union received a written complaint alleging that Dias "engaged in an alleged breach of the Unifor Constitution."

"In order to ensure the integrity of the ongoing investigation and to maintain confidentiality in accordance with the Unifor Constitution, specifics of the complaint will not be divulged at this time," the statement said.

After receiving the complaint, Unifor national secretary-treasurer Lana Payne initiated an independent external investigation.

Dias was first notified of the investigation on January 29. He announced that he was taking medical leave on Feb. 6. On March 11, Dias cited health issues as he announced his retirement.

Dias had said he would retire in August after his third term as national president. In a statement released by Unifor on Sunday, he was quoted as saying he felt the union was in good hands. 

"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 said in the statement.

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

In that same statement, Payne thanked Dias for his work — giving no hint of an investigation into the former president's actions.

"On behalf of our members and our leadership team, we wish Jerry well and thank him for his numerous and impactful contributions to working people over many years, from his days representing aerospace workers on the shop floor to national president of Canada's largest private sector union," said Payne.

The Unifor board is expected to meet in the coming days to decide on next steps for the leadership of the union, which represents 315,000 workers.

Two people already have announced bids for the national presidency: Unifor Local 444 president Dave Cassidy and Scott Doherty, Dias' executive assistant.

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