Click on the image above to see the photo gallery.
Simcoe, Ont. – September 23, 2013 – Hundreds of migrant and domestic agriculture workers, UFCW Canada and AWA activists, and community allies gathered on September 20, to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Agriculture Workers Alliance (AWA) worker support centre in Simcoe, Ontario.
Over the past ten years, the Simcoe centre has been a vital community resource, friend, and advocate for the thousands migrant and domestic agriculture workers who work in the Simcoe area each season. The 10th anniversary celebration included a community barbeque, live music, and street festival in front of the centre.
"When we opened our doors here ten years ago, the response was immediate and encouraging," said National President Wayne Hanley, who led the celebratory ribbon cutting. "Thousands of agriculture workers have come through these doors for assistance and friendly place to visit. This store front operation is the base for connecting with the community and advocating and providing a voice to workers that had no voice. Our thanks to the staff, and our community allies and volunteers for their hard work and dedication."
"But the most important thanks goes to agriculture workers," said Brother Hanley. "We are grateful for the friendships we have made since 2003, and especially want to thank you for supporting the Simcoe AWA centre, and for the enormous contribution that agriculture workers make to our community."
When it opened in 2003, the Simcoe centre was the second of what has now become a network of 10 AWA centres across Canada. Over the past ten years, the Simcoe centre has helped thousands of workers with compensation claims, scheduling, pay issues, referral to legal counsel, health and safety training, CPP claims, unfair treatment, unsafe housing, and working conditions. Today, with more than 13,000 members across Canada, the AWA is the largest and most comprehensive agriculture workers' organization in North America.