Jerry Dias, National President at Unifor, will join us to speak to organized labour’s move to permanently improve pay and working conditions for grocery store clerks, personal support care workers, fast-food employees and others with jobs deemed essential during the COVID-19 pandemic but with low pay and few benefits. He will be joined in conversation by Senior Fellow Professor Sylvia Bashevkin from the Department of Political Science at the University of Toronto and Junior Fellow Stephanie Bertolo who is pursuing her Master of Public Policy. To watch the livestream, click here.
The Dialogues are open to the public – we invite everyone to join and take part in what will be a very informative online discussion. Participants are invited to submit questions to the speakers in real time via the youtube channel’s chat function as well as through Twitter with the hashtag #MasseyDialogues. For information about the Massey Dialogues, click here.
As Unifor National President, Jerry Dias is at the forefront of the fight for workers’ rights, equality and social justice. Jerry has been active in the labour movement since he started his work life at de Havilland Aircraft (now Bombardier Aerospace) where he served as President of Local 112. He went on to join the union’s national staff as aerospace sector coordinator and then became Assistant to the CAW National President. In 2013, he was elected as Unifor’s first National President at the union’s founding convention. Since then Unifor has grown to represent more than 315,000 workers in every sector of the Canadian economy.
An effective negotiator, Jerry has taken on corporate giants to secure good jobs for members and create the economic basis for increased living standards and shared prosperity.
Jerry 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, maintain Canadian sovereignty and protect key domestic industries.
A committed trade unionist, he 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.
Called one of the most fearsome people in the country by Sun News, one of the most powerful by Maclean’s and Canada’s most influential union leader by Ottawa Life, Jerry has been named the Toronto Star Wheels’ 2016 Newsmaker of the Year and an Automotive News All Star for the past three years. Jerry’s mission is to strive to create progressive change for a better future.
Dr. Sylvia Bashevkin is a professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Toronto. Best known for her research contributions in the field of women and politics, Bashevkin has served as President of the Canadian Political Science Association and as President of the Women and Politics Research Section of the American Political Science Association. She is fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, and in 2014 was awarded the Mildred Schwartz Lifetime Achievement Award in Canadian Politics from the American Political Science Association as well as the Gender Studies Award from the Royal Society.
Stephanie Bertolo is in her first year of the Master of Public Policy Program. In 2018, she graduated from McMaster University with a Bachelor of Arts and Science and Minor in Community Engagement Studies. Following her graduation, she served as the Vice-President Education of the McMaster Students Union, leading the organization’s government relations and advocacy efforts to all three levels of government. Her research interests include urban and health policy, discovering how policy can create safe, healthy, and equitable communities. As a proud Hamiltonian, she enjoys exploring Hamilton’s many waterfalls, art galleries, and coffeeshops.