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Former Unifor National President Jerry Dias accepted money from supplier: union

According to Unifor national secretary-treasurer Lana Payne, Dias accepted the sum of $50,000 from a supplier.
2022-03-14 jerry diaz
Jerry Diaz. (Screenshot YouTube)

Former national president Jerry Dias accepted $50,000 from a supplier of COVID-19 rapid test kits that he promoted to employers of Unifor members, several of whom purchased those test kits, Unifor alleged Wednesday.

After an internal investigation, Unifor national secretary-treasurer Lana Payne said Dias stands charged with violating the code of ethics and democratic practices of the Unifor constitution.

On March 14, Unifor issued a statement saying that Payne was sent a complaint about Dias on January 26 that alleged he had breached the union’s constitution.

“What you’re about to hear will be distressing, but I remind you all that no one member is above our constitution, not the highest ranking elected officers, no one,” Payne said. “We are all equal under that constitution.” 

“At some point prior to January 20, 2022, Dias accepted the sum of $50,000 from the supplier. On January 20, Dias gave a Unifor employee what he said was half of those funds – $25,000 – telling the employee that it had come from the supplier,” explained Payne. “The employee subsequently filed a complaint under the Unifor code of ethics and delivered the funds he had received from Dias to me as national secretary treasurer.”

The union’s executive board will now hold a hearing into the matter.

Unifor did not identify the companies who bought the kits or the supplier.

“None of the employers had knowledge of this. As such Unifor will not be identifying them. The supplier was not a participant in the investigation. So we won’t be identifying them either,” Payne said. 

Dias was notified of an independent investigation on January 29, Unifor says, and went on medical leave on February 6.

Dias entering rehab for pain killer addiction

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.

“This past December, my life took a remarkable turn for the worse when I was confronted with a debilitating sciatic nerve issue. It’s hard for me to say this, but my coping mechanism has been pain killers, sleeping pills and alcohol,” he said in the statement. “These factors have impaired my judgement in recent months, and I owe it to our members to seek the treatment I need.”

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.

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