Unifor Local 444 president to focus on job protection for members
Third shift at Windsor Assembly Plant and casino workers priorities for Cassidy
Unifor Local 444 president Dave Cassidy and his entire executive team have been acclaimed for another three-year term by their membership.
Cassidy will be entering his second term as local president after having served 10 years as Local 444 secretary treasurer.
“It's been an honour serving the last three years as president of the local,” Cassidy said. “I'm truly humbled that the entire executive team has also been acclaimed. I've been blessed with a stellar team around me.”
Also returned to office were secretary treasurer James Stewart, first vice-president Manny Cardoso, second vice-president Mike D'agnolo and third vice-president Darryl Desjarlais.
Cassidy said given the challenges Local 444 has faced over the past three years, the acclamations are a welcome endorsement of the direction the union has taken.
“Obviously the membership has instilled trust in us,” Cassidy said.
“We've gone to war over the last three years with losing the third shift, the COVID pandemic, the Casino workers not back to work, made great gains at the bargaining table in every negotiation that we were in ... The strength for us comes from our membership's support.”
Cassidy is confident the groundwork has been laid for a much better future for his membership with the contract agreements reached in the past six months, the landing of a new product for Windsor Assembly and preparing the plant to produce electric vehicles.
He highlighted one of the firstterm accomplishments he's most proud of is Local 444 opening up more opportunities for new members to become more engaged by pushing an open-door policy.
“We've created space for anyone in our union to get involved whether it's on standing committees or community functions,” Cassidy said. “That was one of our mandates in our first term.”
Moving forward Cassidy said one of Local 444's two top priorities is getting Caesar's Windsor workers back on the job safely and as quickly as possible.
“There isn't a day that goes by we don't think about the casino workers,” Cassidy said. “No one is going to be forgotten.
“We've been really lobbying the government to open at the non-essential retail numbers. We've been working with the employer, the government and the Canadian Gaming Association.
“We're trying to get those people back to work safely because people are really struggling out there.”
The other priority will be pushing the federal government to finalize an agreement with Stellantis to secure a new electrified product for Windsor Assembly.
Stellantis submitted its business plan to the government in the last couple of months.
“Our mandate over the next three years is to get that third shift back at the Windsor Assembly Plant,” Cassidy said.
“I know Stellantis has put their request in. I've continued to speak both federally and provincially, along with (Unifor national president) Jerry Dias, about the investment to get it moving forward.”
Cassidy added he has weekly conversations with Stellantis Chief Operating Officer-north America, Mark Stewart, to push the company's government relations people overseeing the project.
“Unfortunately government isn't fast to react,” Cassidy said. “However, in both of their (Ontario and federal government's) budgets there has been money allocated, so that's a good thing.”