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Niagara-On-The-Lake, Ont. – June 12, 2014 – Earlier this month, hundreds of migrant agriculture workers from Mexico, Jamaica, Central America, and the Caribbean joined with community activists for the Summer Festival for Migrant Farm Workers in Niagara-On-The-Lake, Ontario. The social and educational event was organized by the Agriculture Workers Alliance (AWA) and the Niagara Migrant Worker Interest Group.
The festival gave participants the opportunity to access important information regarding labour rights, services provided by local health clinics, legal counsel and support, English as a Second Language courses, and health and safety training. Labour and community leaders joined the event, including the Member of Parliament for Welland and the Official Opposition Critic for Agriculture, Malcolm Allen.
During the festival, more than 20 bicycles were raffled, which are the most popular and useful means of transportation for migrant agriculture workers in Southwestern Ontario. Often facing extreme hardships, dangerous working conditions, and a lack of access to adequate health and transportation, agriculture workers continue to be denied the right to join a union by the Ontario government.
For the last 12 years, UFCW Canada, the nation’s most progressive union, has worked tirelessly with the AWA in the ongoing struggle to secure basic human rights for agriculture workers across Canada. The AWA has more than 12,000 members and operates 10 support services where agricultural workers can gain access to free training, legal representation, and health and safety services.
“Congratulations to the AWA and the Niagara Migrant Worker Interest Group on the very successful Summer Festival for Migrant Farm Workers,” says Paul Meinema, UFCW Canada's National President. “Working together with our allies in the community, we will continue the fight for justice for agriculture workers until we are victorious in achieving security, dignity, and the right to organize collectively," Brother Meinema adds.