Before taking on the role of Director of Canada’s Building Trades Unions (CBTU), Arlene Dunn spent 25 years with the Labourers’ International Union of North America in New Brunswick. She served various positions including Recording Secretary, Secretary Treasurer of the Atlantic Region District Council, trustee of the Atlantic Labourers’ Health and Welfare Trust and Labourers’ Training Fund and Business Manager.
Looking to broaden and diversify her labour relations perspective, she moved to the province of Newfoundland and Labrador to assume the role of Executive Director of the Hebron Project Employers’ Association, where she managed labour relations and oversaw the administration of the Project Labour Agreement (PLA) for the Hebron oil platform build. Thereafter, she served as the Executive Director of the Newfoundland and Labrador Building and Construction Trades Council.
In March, 2019, after serving as the Deputy Director of CBTU for the previous three years, Arlene assumed the position of Director of Canada’s Building Trades Unions. In this role, Arlene is responsible for overseeing the operations of the CBTU office, programs and coordinating the work of the affiliates and local and provincial councils across Canada, and speaking on behalf of Canadian construction workers. Arlene is the first-ever female director of the CBTU and is the highest-ranking female in the construction sector in North America.
Arlene is a graduate of the University of New Brunswick and recently completed Women in Leadership studies at Cornell University. She is a strong advocate for providing equal opportunity to under-represented groups who have an interest in the skilled trades and she works with the various Affiliate unions to make that happen. She is especially focused on educating women about the unparalleled benefits and retirement pensions the unionized skilled trades offer, which are essential to their financial independence and self-sufficiency; as well as the wealth of career advantages - high pay and no wage gap, leadership opportunities, advancement, freedom – a profession where the glass ceiling is not impervious. She’s also passionate about helping those struggling with substance dependency and mental health. Arlene established a fully comprehensive Substance Dependency Rehabilitation Program for the members of the Newfoundland and Labrador building trades; she currently serves on North America’s Building Trades Unions Opioid Task Force; and is working with Health Canada on a national initiative to raise awareness, reduce stigma and educate the public about the opioid epidemic. Arlene is married to John, a member of the United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters and their proudest achievement is raising their daughter, Aaliyah.