The Cesar E. Chavez Black Eagle Award was established 11 years ago to recognize exceptional activists who make outstanding contributions to the fight for justice in Canada’s agriculture industry.
Every year, Black Eagle Award recipients are named in several different fields of activism that include Labour, Legal, Political, Cultural, International, and Academic categories.
In advance of the Black Eagle Awards dinner ceremony – which will be hosted in Toronto on November 3 by UFCW Canada and the Agriculture Workers Alliance (AWA) – DIRECTIONS proudly dedicates the next three issues to profiling this year’s six recipients.
This week, we focus on the 2010 Cesar E. Chavez Black Eagle Award recipients for the Labour and Legal categories.
Black Eagle – Labour: Gil McGowan on behalf of the Alberta Federation of Labour (AFL)
Since taking the challenge of leading the labour movement in one of Canada’s most anti-labour climates, Gil McGowan has not only re-energized the Alberta Federation of Labour but he has also established the AFL as a leading voice in the fight for farm worker justice.
In addition to staunchly supporting the AWA and UFCW Canada in a number of successful public awareness campaigns – including Premier Stelmach: Stop the Harvest of Death! – the AFL, under Brother McGowan’s leadership, has spearheaded the development of groundbreaking research on the inherent abuses of the temporary foreign workers program.
Today, the AFL is undoubtedly a leading progressive force in Alberta and Canada. It is constantly punching above its weight to challenge backward governments that refuse to acknowledge and respect the rights of the people who make our food.
Black Eagle – Legal:Paul Cavalluzzo
As the senior partner at Cavalluzzo Hayes Shilton McIntyre & Cornish LLP, Paul Cavalluzzo has dedicated his vast legal expertise to a number of monumental legal challenges and victories that have made a meaningful difference in the fight for farm worker justice.
In 2003, Mr. Cavalluzzo’s skillful leadership in the courtroom played an essential role in securing health and safety rights for thousands of farm workers in Ontario – a huge win for working families and human rights that has undoubtedly prevented countless injuries and tragic workplace fatalities.
Coupled with his unparalleled understanding of constitutional law, Mr. Cavalluzzo’s personal interest in the struggles faced by migrant and domestic agriculture workers has resulted in an unwavering commitment to ensuring that agriculture workers have the same rights as other workers in Canada – including the right to organize and bargain collectively.
Next week, DIRECTIONS profiles two outstanding activists and 2010 Cesar E. Chavez Black Eagle Award recipients in the Political and Cultural categories.