Unifor elects Payne as new national president

Lana Payne, Unifor National President. Photo courtesy Unifor.

Unifor has gone to one of its current officers to take over its national presidency.

At its national convention in Toronto Wednesday afternoon, delegates elected national secretary-treasurer Lana Payne as the union’s new president.

The election is historic, as Payne becomes the first woman to lead Canada’s largest labour union. Payne was also the first female to serve as national secretary-treasurer.

Payne gave her acceptance speech to the delegates soon after the vote was announced, to a standing ovation.

“There are actually not a lot of words to convey what I’m feeling right now, the emotions are running high, but I do want to thank each and every one of you, every delegate in the room. Merci, mon amis,” said Payne.

She will succeed Jerry Dias, who resigned earlier this year amid questions of financial impropriety. Dias was first elected president in 2013, and was reelected twice since.

Payne defeated Windsor-based Dave Cassidy, the president of Unifor Local 444, and Scott Doherty, a former Dias aide. She took the time to thank both in her remarks Wednesday.

“I want to thank Scott and his team, and Dave, for showing our union that we can have a conversation about how the future of Unifor will look, for putting themselves forward, and for loving this union like I do, and for caring about our members.”

More to come.