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Workers’ Rights? A Community Conversation

Time and Date: Thursday, May 18th, 2023, 6:3pm – 7pm

Location: Art Windsor-Essex, 3rd floor


This event is part of AWE at Night. 


  • Current AWE Members: Free admission
  • Non-Members: $10

Photography and videography will be present throughout the event. By entering this event site you agree to be filmed or photographed which may be used for marketing or promotional purposes.

Background: Windsor has a rich history of union activity dating back to the early 20th century when workers in the automotive industry began to organize. Over the years, unions across Ontario, most recently salt mine workers and federal employees, have played an important role in fighting for workers’ rights and improving working conditions. Some believe that unions provide collective bargaining power, which can result in better wages, benefits, and working conditions while others argue that unions create rigid labour markets and hinder flexibility and innovation in the workplace. Are unions helping, or hurting?

On Thursday, May 18, from 6:30pm to 7pm, join us for Workers Rights: A Community Conversation. Our panel of speakers will offer bold and insightful responses to pressing issues at the intersection of art, social justice and labour. We encourage engagement and respectful questions about the topic of this discussion.

Moderated by Craig Pearson, The Windsor Star 
Speakers: Giovanni D’Alessandro, Dave Cassidy, Laura Chesnik 

Giovanni D’Alessandro

Giovanni D’Alessandro (currently SAA-WDLC) has been a Union member for over 45 years. D’Alessandro started as UAW L195 – at the Detroit/Canada Tunnel Corp, the UAW L240 – at Green Shield Canada, followed as CAW L240, and now Unifor L240. He joined the Windsor & District Labour Council in 2006, but has attended meetings regularly as a Delegate since 1996.

In his workplace and at his Local, he has held numerous positions of H & S Designated Rep, and both Union 1st and Alternate positions, serving the membership in these 3 roles. He is also a Volunteer H & S Trainer for the WHSC, and has received awards for his Community involvement and activism in Health & Safety, and the Environment.

As a member of the Windsor District Labour Council, Giovanni has the opportunity to work with community members and local charities. In addition to his community involvement, Giovanni writes poetry, does improv and some acting!

Dave Cassidy

Dave Cassidy is Unifor Local 444’s President representing 20,000 active and retired members in 32 workplaces. A certified electrician, Dave is the Unifor National Chair of Trades, representing those working in the trades from the Pacific to the Atlantic in Canada. Dave is also a member of Unifor’s distinguished National Executive Board. He is fierce at the bargaining table and unrelenting in pushing for new investments and jobs for the workers he represents. Though Dave holds many important positions and elected titles, the members know him as just Dave.

Laura Chesnik

Laura Chesnik is an educator, co-host of the podcast Education is a Right, member of the Empower Yourself Now Organization and National Spokesperson on Education and Related Matters of the Marxist-Leninist Party of Canada (MLPC). Laura was born and raised in Windsor. She is an active member and local organizer in her union, the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario–Greater Essex, and a community activist for social justice and in defence of the rights of all. Laura is an active member of the Windsor Peace Coalition, has represented the Marxist-Leninist Party of Canada in several federal elections in Windsor-Tecumseh and ran as an independent candidate in Windsor-Tecumseh in the last two Ontario elections.


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