Payne gets job with super-union

Andrew Robinson
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Atlantic director post with Unifor will keep former labour federation president in N.L.

Lana Payne will serve as the first Atlantic director of Unifor, a new super-union formed by the merger of two major unions in Canada. — Submitted photo

Lana Payne will serve as one of six top officials for Unifor, the new super-union formed through the merger of the Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) union and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada (CEP).

The new full-time post forces Payne to leave her job as president of the Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of Labour (NLFL), a position she held for the last five years.

“I have to say, it’s been an incredible privilege to be able to do that work,” said Payne. “We have a feisty labour movement in Newfoundland and Labrador.”

Payne — who will maintain an office in St. John’s — said she was approached by members of the CAW and CEP about putting her name forward for the Atlantic director position.

After discussing the proposition with her family, she decided to let her name be given consideration.

“I just thought it was an incredible opportunity, given the plans that this bold new union has for the next five to 10 years. It was just too good (and) too much of an opportunity to pass up.”

Payne was elected to the position over the Labour Day weekend at the Unifor founding convention in Toronto. The new union will represent more than 300,000 workers across Canada.

Unifor’s formation is what Payne calls “an act of hope” in the face of threats to the social and economic well-being of Canadians through measures taken by the federal government.

“When you consider the cuts to Employment Insurance, the fact that they’ve raised the age for Old Age Security (from 65 to 67), the way they’ve gone about the temporary foreign worker program and really undermining immigration by doing this, and then we’re seeing a real race to the bottom mentality at the collective bargaining table.”

She said the union will focus on building up social progress and the power of workers in Canada.

Reflecting on her time with the NLFL, Payne said stronger health and safety legislation and justice for workers in low-paying jobs are among some items the organization has helped advance. She also cautioned there remains work to be done.

“We were successful in getting the minimum wage to $10 (per hour) in 2010, and now we’re pushing to get a report that’s sitting on the minister’s desk implemented,” she said.

In what is widely seen to be a prosperous era for Newfoundland and Labrador, Payne said it is important to not lose sight of the need to equitably share the wealth.

Twitter: @TeleAndrew

Organizations: Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of Labour, Canadian Auto Workers, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada Employment Insurance Old Age Security

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador, Toronto

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Recent comments

  • Pat forester
    September 09, 2013 - 19:15

    The fishery?? Really. Do you mean the fishery where all the "poor" fishermen go out and make all that money, and then would come in and go on E.I? Ad then when they got so greedy that they drove the fishery into a downward spiral, they complained to government that they needed to be taken care of financially? Nobody made anybody fish. If they were so good at building things, and repairing things, they should have looked for a job in that field. That's the problem. Your mentality is that somebody owes you something. The world owes nobody nothing. You play the hand you're dealt and then you choose to make the best of it, or bitch and moan for somebody else to do it for you. Unions in 2013 are completely self serving and useless, and the only people you see supporting them are the lazy and incompetent, and that's because everybody else is too busy out there working their ass off to make a living

  • Tim Jamison
    September 08, 2013 - 19:26

    It's the PC Party, especially Danny, who the lower workers can thank for the new prosperity. This is the new economy. If you treat your workers badly, they'll walk out. Then they'll be working across the street the next day. McDonald's now pays $10.75/hour to start, and it's not because of altruism. Tim's now provides medical and dental benefits. If you are unemployed here, it's because you want to be. Soon this place will be like Alberta. There will be no such thing as a minimum wage worker. Businesses that refuse to accept this fact will crumble and die, as they did so long ago in Alberta. If you'd like to go back to the old days when employers had a free hand to cut your pays, your hours, your benefits, and even equipment neccessary to life and health, like AC units, go ahead and vote in the NDP or the liberals. At least Lana and her elitist ilk will get the new projects they so desperately need to justify their massively inflated paycheques and egos

  • Pat Forester
    September 05, 2013 - 19:46

    Chantal, You are everything that is wrong with society, and a huge part of the reason that this province will never reach its full potential. I can tell from all of your posts that you are obviously uneducated and depend on a union to make sure you are overpaid for your services. Here's a reality check. If you have a high school degree, you deserve to be paid like it. Simple. Nobody owes you anything. With these big companies, people invest the money they've made, looking for the biggest return possible. if any of these companies are paying above minimum wage, and are offering any kind of pension, you're already ahead of most people that have gone to university or college, who actually deserve to be paid higher salaries. Unions protect the lazy, the entitled, and the uneducated, and actually hurt business growth because the best workers can't be promoted without 100 grievances filed by someone who doesn't do squat to earn it, but feels entitled to it. congrats to labatt for not being bullied. It doesnt matter how much money they make. Should danny williams pay twice as much to have a fence built by the same guy who built my fence because he has more money than me? no! you get what you are worth and there are enough labor laws to ensure workers aren't getting screwed over. Funny how these unions keep encouraging workers to stay out to support solidarity. Maybe Lana Payne and Chris Henley should try and go 6 months without a salary, knowing that they'd never make the money back. All these union presidents are puppets controlled by NAPE and the labor union to push their own causes. And 90 per cent of the time these union members aren't educated enough to know what they're being offered. It's actually sad how these big unions manipulate these workers.

    • Au Contraire!
      September 08, 2013 - 12:55

      That's right Pat. Like those uneducated fishermen of the pre-fishery union years. Most of them didn't even have grade 4 education, didn't matter that they could build their own houses and boats, repair their motors, get their own firewood, go sealing etc etc. they were uneducated and they deserved nothing better then to risk their lives fishing so the educated merchants could reap the profits and pay them a pittance to keep them alive so they could do it again the following year.

  • David
    September 04, 2013 - 12:41

    Agree with you Robb 100%

  • Gary Schoenfeldt
    September 04, 2013 - 11:20

    Robb thinks that his so called right to be able to buy his consumer goods at as low a personal cost as possible overrides a worker's right to earn enough to get by. Then he calls unions greedy for standing up for the working poor. Well "Robb" it's too bad that your own greed has blinded you to the high costs that all society has to pay for wage slavery. Or has it? More likely you simply choose to wallow in your own greed and care not for the victims it creates. That's why unions like UNIFOR are going to fight to protect and organize against the likes of you.

  • Matt
    September 04, 2013 - 11:20

    Could the Telegram do some investigation and find out the salaries of this new union's executives and directors. There are unions in Newfoundland whose leadership get salaries higher than that of our Premier while complaining to members and the media that business and government are screwing everybody over. How much is she making per year?

  • Patricia
    September 04, 2013 - 09:21

    Congratulations to Ms. Lana Payne on her recent appointment. While not a member of any of these unions, I think she will do a good job ,with her expertise and her vision

  • Robb
    September 04, 2013 - 08:38

    Oh great were successful in getting the minimum wage to $10, and now I have to pay through the nose for EVERYTHING. It is your type, as well as the union greed that will take down any economy...what this country needs is the right to work legislation that some US states have already enacted......we need to do this to keep "on par" with those states......well, aren't the unions always saying that they should be on par with some other bunch located God knows where..?? we should be "on par" with those states that recognize that the laziness and greed of the unions is the ruination of the economy. Kudos to Labatts for holding their own against the greed of that union, and you can see the lack of support for the union everywhere.........I have actually switched to Labatts Lite during the strike.....once the strike is over, I will switch back. If Lana Payne had everything her way, anyone who educates themselves to get a good job will be paying through the nose for the slackers who never bothered to better themselves, and have settled for the minimum wage...that's their choice, so if you are so worried about them Lana, why don't you pay a premium over the minimum wage to all these workers out of the deep pockets of the union...ha ha....oh wait, you just want everyone else to pay.....what a joke.

    • Chantal
      September 04, 2013 - 10:10

      You're having a hissy fit because you have to pay "through the nose" so that retail workers can have... well not even a living salary and then YOU call unions greedy" It doesn't occur to you that the highly profitable corporations that own these workers are paying their executives millions of dollars may have some effect on the price of your coffee. Imagine if people weren't working for slave wages across the globe so that you can have cheap clothes, cheap electronics, cheap everything. Perhaps you should be working part-time at minimum wage. Talk about a inflated sense of entitlement.

    • Brad
      September 04, 2013 - 21:52

      Congratualtions for pointing out that you're a hypocrite...

    • Joe
      September 05, 2013 - 07:18

      You don't see local business leaders getting national jobs because of their poor education and abilities. By the way they outlawed slavery before you were born. Woe for you.

  • Carl
    September 04, 2013 - 07:19

    Congratulations on your election Lana. I'm sure you will serve the workers of the region well.