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Unifor’s Lana Payne is taking on the fight for workers

Canada’s labour movement is primed for a comeback after years of stagnant wages and the challenges brought on by the pandemic. Leading the charge is Unifor, the country’s largest private-sector union representing over 315,000 employees. However, the union has recently faced internal conflict, with former president Jerry Dias being charged with a breach of ethics for allegedly accepting money from a supplier of COVID-19 rapid test kits and promoting the product to union employers. In August, Lana Payne, a 57-year-old activist and Unifor’s first female president, was elected to “turn the page” and restore solidarity within the organization. She has been successful in recruiting members from growing industries and advocating for fair wages that keep up with the rising cost of living. Payne discusses her unconventional leadership style and her focus on empowering workers in economic and social debates. She also emphasizes the importance of building political clout and working with politicians from different parties to achieve labour advancements. 

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