TORONTO -- Ken Lewenza is stepping down as president of the Canadian Auto Workers as the union prepares to join with the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada to form a group representing more than 300,000 workers.
Lewenza, 59, who has headed the CAW since 2008, and Dave Coles, 65, his Communications, Energy and Paperworkers counterpart, said at a press conference last week here that they are "passing the torch."
The two endorsed Jerry Dias, a senior CAW official, for president of the new union.
"Jerry is experienced, determined and will bring compassionate leadership," Lewenza, whose retirement takes effect Oct. 1, said in an interview. "Those are the real qualities of a good leader. Jerry represented me on a majority of the auto global strategic meetings. He will fit in like a glove."
The CAW and the CEP will hold a founding convention on Aug. 30 in Toronto to elect a leadership team for the combined Unifor union.