As National President of Unifor, Jerry Dias is at the forefront of the fight for workers’ rights, equality and social justice.
Elected the first National President of Unifor in August 2013 at the union’s founding convention, Dias was re-elected to his post in 2016 and 2019. As the largest private sector union in Canada, Unifor represents more than 315,000 workers in every major sector of the Canadian economy.
Dias has been twice named among the country’s 50 most powerful people by Maclean’s, in 2013 and most recently in 2020. He has been called the ‘5 billion blue-collar man’ in the Financial Post, one of the most fearsome people in the country by Sun News, and Canada’s most influential union leader by Ottawa Life. He was also named the Toronto Star Wheels’ Newsmaker of the Year in 2016 and 2020, one of CTV’s Don Martin's political power players of 2018, and is a multiple Automotive News All Star.
An effective negotiator, Dias has taken on corporate giants to secure good jobs for members and create the economic basis for increased living standards and shared prosperity.
Dias assumed an active role in the USMCA as a consultant to the Canadian government and negotiating team where he consistently pushed to raise labour standards domestically and internationally, maintain Canadian sovereignty and protect key domestic industries.
In 2018, he launched the ‘Save Oshawa GM’ campaign after General Motors (GM) announced plans to end vehicle production in Oshawa after a century of operations. In 2019, Unifor and GM announced that the manufacturing footprint would be maintained. During Detroit Three negotiations in 2020 he succeeded in securing the return of truck assembly to Oshawa with GM investing more than $1.3 billion to build Silverado and Sierra models. In 2020 negotiations with Ford, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and General Motors, Dias secured a total investment of nearly $6 billion for auto facilities across Canada.
During COVID-19, Dias led the campaign for stronger wage subsidies for unemployed workers, increased regulation and improved staffing and working conditions in long-term care facilities, and higher pay for essential frontline workers in health care and retail.
A committed trade unionist, Dias has been vocal on emerging labour issues including precarious work, youth unemployment and underemployment, growing income inequality and lack of work-life balance while strongly advocating for LGBTQ rights, gender equality and the elimination of violence against women. Under his leadership, Unifor’s groundbreaking Woman’s Advocate Program has expanded into more than 350 workplaces. The union launched its Racial Advocate Program in 2020.
When he is not at the bargaining table, you can find him walking in a “Hope in High Heels” fundraiser for the Halton Women’s Place shelter or supporting a variety of local charities across the country.
His mission is to strive to create progressive change for a better future.
Journalists can request an interview with Dias by emailing Kathleen O'Keefe.