Lana’s statement at Unifor’s National Executive Board
Statement from Lana Payne
By Lana Payne Campaign
Between June 3 and 6, allegations were filed at the NEB regarding my handling of the day-to-day activities of the Union and my campaign.
Yesterday, the National Executive Board met to discuss these allegations and dismissed them. The resolution adopted was sent to local unions this morning.
Here is the statement I shared with the Board before the vote in which I didn’t participate.
For many weeks now, my integrity has been called into question but more importantly the integrity of the National Executive Board has been maligned, including by some staff and senior staff of our union.
When our institutions are denigrated as they have been, our members lose faith in those decision-making bodies and institutions. They lose faith in their union.
I have been trolled on social media, including by staff, some senior staff, of our union.
I have been criticized for not responding to Facebook comments about trumped up accusations, allegations and conspiracies. Facebook, the home of fake news, is not the place to engage in serious debate.
Not once did anyone pick up the phone, email or text me with a question on this topic. Not once.
The tactics used are the same we so often denounce as an organization. These are the tactics used when the truth doesn’t matter. Because no one really wanted the truth. Truth was never the goal.It’s clear by this point that scorched earth was the goal.
Over the past few months, I have heard it all. I have heard a revisionist history of the events of earlier this year.
Some of the trumped-up conclusions made were related to the fact that in late February my husband registered a domain name in my name. The conclusion was I decided then to run for president of Unifor. This conclusion is nothing short of ridiculous. And it is completely wrong.
We had many reasons to purchase a domain name, none of them were because I was contemplating a run at the Unifor presidency back in February. In fact, internal family discussions were whether I would continue in the union at all.
There was a lot happening at that time. I was overseeing a complaint. Two candidates had declared their intention to run for president. The rumour was that someone might run against me as Secretary-Treasurer. At that time, I recall Shane Wark said to me that would be a very unwise move on anyone’s part.
As I have told the NEB before, I did not decide to run for president until April, which is exactly when I announced it.
I decided to run because I was concerned about the future of our union. I am even more concerned about the future of our union today. Public condemnations of our union’s elected leadership by staff, the active creation of a toxic climate, and the lack of respect for our union’s decision-making bodies have been destructive.
This is no way to encourage anyone to ever run for Office in our union or to create the culture of respect and democracy we aspire to.
I know that some people are mad, angry and upset that I decided to run for president.
But I have, and nothing will change that. As a candidate, I will continue to discuss with members how we can build our union for everyone and with everyone. We must always strive to make our union better, that starts with recognizing how and where we can.
I believe this union is worth fighting for – as I know you all do.
In the end, it is our members who will decide.
I will not apologize for wanting and fighting for a better union.
I will not apologize for believing a better union is possible.
And I certainly will not apologize for the actions I took as Secretary-Treasurer during this crisis.
We are defined not by what we do when things are easy, but what we do when the circumstances before us are hard.
I did not choose the situation I was faced with earlier this year, but as the top officer of this union, I had one job. It was to protect the union – not certain individuals or past practices – the very union itself.
One of our union’s founding principles is Solidarity - such an important one.
Here’s how we define it in our founding principles: “Unifor is more than an aggregate of individual members. The union is shaped by our relationships, by how we treat and care for each other.
Our commitment to solidarity speaks to the significance of the language of “union sister” and “union brother” (and union comrade). It is evident in the day-to-day bonds of fellowship and friendship.
It is found in the expressions of respect and mutual support, and it is witnessed in the acts of cooperation and interdependence, and by our commitment to anti-harassment.
Solidarity is how we pay tribute to the fact that an injury to one is an injury to all. It is how we acknowledge that what we want for ourselves, we want for others. And it is how we demonstrate our resolve and determination to make it so.”
Solidarity – it is how we build our union! It is the only way.