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Leamington, Ont. – August 12, 2020 – In response to the series of COVID-19 outbreaks at farming operations across Southwestern Ontario, UFCW Canada and the Agriculture Workers Alliance (AWA) have partnered with ConquerCOVID19 and Legal Assistance of Windsor (LAW) to distribute personal protective equipment (PPE) and food donations to temporary and migrant farm workers in Leamington, Ontario.
As part of the initiative, UFCW Canada and the AWA obtained thousands of facemasks from ConquerCOVID19, a volunteer-driven organization that works to ensure front-line workers have access to masks, gloves, and other supplies that are essential to minimizing the spread of the coronavirus. Activists are now distributing the masks to temporary and migrant agricultural workers – as well as all other workers in need of protective equipment for work – at the union’s Agriculture Workers Support Centre in Leamington.
The masks are intended to help protect workers from contracting COVID-19 as the coronavirus continues to ravage farms throughout Windsor, Leamington, and other parts of Southwestern Ontario. The free mask distribution is also aimed at helping workers save money, as many migrant workers are forced to pay out of pocket for PPE.
In addition to distributing free facemasks to workers, UFCW Canada and the AWA have also partnered with LAW, a clinical learning project at the University of Windsor that provides legal services for those who are unable to pay for a private lawyer, to offer food donations to temporary and migrant farm workers who visit the Leamington Support Centre. The food donations are intended to help workers who have been experiencing food insecurity during the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly those who work at farm operations that have been forced to shut down due to the coronavirus.
“We have been receiving numerous calls from temporary and migrant farm workers seeking help during the pandemic, and these new partnerships have allowed us to provide workers with free facemasks, food donations, and information about their rights at work when they visit the Support Centre,” says UFCW Canada National Representative Santiago Escobar.
“We would like to thank LAW and ConquerCOVID19 for their generosity and support in helping us further assist migrant workers in need during this health crisis,” Escobar adds.
For more than three decades, UFCW Canada has worked in collaboration with the Agriculture Workers Alliance (AWA) to lead the fight for migrant workers’ rights. To learn more about this important work, visit UFCW Canada’s Agriculture Workers website. To read our union's 30th Anniversary Report on the Status of Migrant Farm Workers in Canada, click here.