Jerry Dias has announced he will retire from his role as president of Canadian labor union Unifor.
Unifor, which represents General Motors plant workers in Canada, said Monday that Dias had notified Unifor’s National Executive Board of his immediate retirement on March 11th. The 63-year-old has been on medical leave from his position since February 6th, 2022 and continues to deal with ongoing health issues.
“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,” Jerry Dias said in a prepared 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.”
Dias was expected to retire from his role as the union’s national president at its constitutional convention in Toronto this coming August, but health issues forced his early retirement. The union’s National Executive Board will meet in the coming days to “discuss the Constitutional requirements around the vacancy,” Unifor said in a statement. A replacement for Dias has not yet been named.
Jerry Dias started his career with British aviation company de Havilland (since renamed Bombardier) and later took up a role with the Canadian Auto Workers union as its aerospace sector coordinator. He also worked at General Motors Canada’s Scarborough Van Assembly plant and was involved in labor organization within GM’s ranks early in his career.
Lana Payne, Unifor’s National Secretary-Treasurer, thanked Dias in a statement provided to the media.
“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,” Payne said.
Most recently, Dias helped engage in talks with GM regarding the future of its GM Oshawa Assembly plant in southern Ontario. When GM announced it would close the facility at the end of 2019, Dias and Unifor fought to retain a small amount of parts manufacturing at the facility, saving 300 jobs. GM has since re-opened Oshawa Assembly for vehicle production and produces both the Chevy Silverado 1500 and Chevy Silverado HD there.
It’s currently unclear when a replacement for Dias will be named.