Today, our union stands at a crossroads, and strong leadership is required now more than ever.
Unifor requires a leader with a clear vision for the future; a leader with integrity, commitment and transparency; a leader who connects with our members; someone who is bound by a strict moral compass, embraces genuine social trade unionism, and always, always puts workers first. We need a leader who will build on the strength of our members, our leadership, and our staff; someone who will reconnect with our grassroots activists, our community partners and the broader labour movement with a sincere and passionate commitment to raising workers’ power - not only in our union but for all workers.
And I know, that person is sister Lana Payne.
With unrelenting moral strength, Lana has demonstrated courageous leadership throughout these difficult times. And now, on the cusp of our National Convention, all eyes are upon us. The challenge for Unifor will be how we respond. Unifor members, rank and file leaders and indeed, the broader labour movement are counting on us to do what is best; to make the right choice; to find a way to move forward and continue the progressive work of our union.
Lana has committed her entire working career to fight with and on behalf of working people. Using this experience as her cornerstone, Sister Payne, Brother Poirier and the #ForwardTogether team have put forth a plan to deliver their vision of a modern, progressive social union. And just as impressive - I know Lana possesses the unique ability to truly inspire others to work towards fulfilling that vision, together.
And a message to my sisters and equity deserving members:
We’ve come a long way from the early days when the leadership of the union didn’t look like us. We fought long and hard for that space, and as a result, our membership and our leadership are now so much more diverse. Women, racialized workers, workers with disabilities and LGBTQ members are leading our union in greater numbers than ever before. This didn’t happen by chance, but rather by having a vision, and the strength and courage to make it happen. But our work isn’t done. The #ForwardTogether team’s platform and their commitment to equity will open doors for women and equity deserving members in very practical ways, which will reenergize the Unifor of tomorrow.
And only then will we truly have a union for everyone, with everyone.
In sisterhood, solidarity, and support.
Julie White, Former President Local 27, National Executive Board Member, Director of CAW/Unifor Women’s Department