Lana Payne, pictured second from the right, at the Unifor consitiutional convention.
Screenshot of Lana Payne, pictured second from the right, at the Unifor consitiutional convention.

Lana Payne has been elected as the new National President of Unifor, Canada’s largest private-sector union. Payne was elected by the delegates at Unifor’s fourth Constitutional Convention and is the first woman to hold this position.

She succeeds former National President, Jerry Dias, who stepped down after almost a decade of leading the union. 

“Payne led the union’s efforts to recover from the turmoil that followed an investigation into a constitutional breach by former Unifor National President Jerry Dias, who retired in March,” Unifor wrote in a news release. “An investigation into the alleged breach continues.”

Unifor says that Payne has been championing the need for greater transparency and accountability in Unifor throughout her campaign.

Payne defeated Executive Assistant to the President Scott Doherty and Unifor Local 444 President Dave Cassidy. 

“I want to thank Scott and his team and Dave for showing our union that we can have a conversation about the future of our union,” Payne said in a news release. 

In 2019, she began her four year term as National Secretary-Treasurer for Unifor and was also the first woman to hold that position. 

Unifor’s website says that as Secretary-Treasurer, Payne has coordinated Unifor’s pandemic response, which included a push for paid sick days and stronger Employment Insurance, and has navigated the union through a financial crisis.

On Monday, Payne addressed Convention attendees as Secretary-Treasurer and outlined the steps she has taken as Secretary-Treasurer to adopt a budgeting culture, facilitate and improve dues collection, and set the union on firm footing following years of disruption and the turmoil of the pandemic. Unifor’s news release says her report shows that there is a strong future for the union.

Payne is no stranger to leadership 

Payne was the first Secretary-Treasurer to produce a budget for the national union, Unifor said. Payne’s budget was adopted by convention delegates on Monday. 

Before her election as Unifor National President, she was a journalist and has experience as a president of the Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of Labour. Payne was also the founding Atlantic Regional Director for Unifor. She brings thirty years of experience to her new position. 

“Today, we turn a page. Today, we move forward. Today and every day, we put our members at the heart of everything we do,” Payne said after her election was announced. 

Continue the conversation about the Unifor election on babble.

Gabriela Calugay-Casuga

Gabriela “Gabby” Calugay-Casuga (she/they) is a writer and activist based in so-called “Ottawa.” They began writing for Migrante Ottawa’s radio show, Talakayang Bayan, in 2017. Since then, she...