Unifor claims Jerry Dias accepted $50,000 from COVID-19 test kit supplier
Unifor is alleging that its former president, Jerry Dias, accepted $50,000 from a COVID-19 rapid test kit supplier.
Lana Payne, the union’s secretary-treasurer, made the allegation today during a Facebook live stream to union members and the media.
“What you’re about to hear will be distressing, but I remind you that no one member is above our constitution,” said Payne. “Not the highest ranking elected officers. No one.”
Employers apparently bought kits
Payne said that Dias allegedly approached employers with Unifor workers about purchasing the test kits, or instructed other staff to do so. Some employers apparently bought kits from the supplier, but Payne refused to identify the employers involved.
“None of the employers had knowledge of this ($50,000 payment from the supplier), as such Unifor will not be identifying them,” she said.
The supplier that made the alleged payment to Dias did not participant in the investigation, so Payne also declined to name that company.
A complaint was made to the union after Dias gave half of the money, $25,000, to another Unifor employee on Jan. 20, 2022. That employee, whom Payne also declined to identify, filed the initial complaint on Jan. 26.
Payne said the union considers the breach of the constitution an “internal matter” and a hearing before the national executive board will be scheduled.
Dias to enter rehab
In a separate statement to union members, Dias said he is entering a residential rehabilitation facility and stepping away temporarily from all of his advisory positions due to his use of pain killers, sleeping pills and alcohol to deal with a sciatic nerve issue.
He said these factors have impaired his judgment in recent months and is seeking treatment at the advice of his doctor.
“My physician has told me, straight up, that I need help,” Dias said.
The union said Dias was asked to participate in the investigation, however he said, on the advice of his doctor, he has not been able.
“My medical leave was approved by the union in February and a detailed report from my physician has been provided to the investigator. I would have no issue with it being shared with the national executive board,” he said.
Dias went on a medical leave on Feb. 6, and subsequently notified the National Executive Board of his immediate retirement on March 11, citing health issues, the union said.
– With files from the Canadian Press
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