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Former Union Boss Accused of Financial Shenanigans

Jerry Dias, Unifor President, Image: OFL Communications Department (Flickr) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

In the latest development of the Jerry Dias saga – the man who, until recently, led most of the unionized auto workers in Canada – has taken yet another turn. According to reports, Dias is being accused by the union of taking money from a COVID-19 testing company, allegedly in exchange for promoting that outfit as a place to purchase test kits.

For those playing at home, the Dias saga has played out in this form: An announcement of taking time off for medical reasons, followed by an abrupt retirement, and now this development.

The Freep and other outlets are alleging that Dias accepted $50,000 from a supplier of COVID-19 tests before going on to recommend this supplier to various companies, either directly or through staff under his direction. This apparently led to several of the firms purchasing tests. Taken as a whole, you see the issue.

How’d the whistle get blown? News outlets are suggesting Dias gave half the money to a union employee a couple of months ago, telling them its source. That person then apparently filed an ethics complaint and gave the money to Unifor’s treasurer – who is now the interim union leader until new top brass can be selected later this year. The union has been careful to note this brouhaha did not involve any finances belonging to the brotherhood.

Adding some icing to the situation was a statement released by Dias earlier this week saying he was using alcohol, pain killers, and sleeping pills to address an ongoing sciatic nerve issue. This substance abuse has apparently “influenced his judgment” in recent months, a timeframe in which the alleged financial improprieties took place. Dias says he’s seeking treatment and plans to enter rehab.

With curveballs flying in several directions from this ongoing situation, chances are high this won’t be the last update we’ll be providing about Unifor.

[Image: OFL Communications Department]

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