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Thanks to the efforts of UFCW Canada and the Agriculture Workers Alliance (AWA), Guatemalan migrant agriculture workers across Quebec will share in a $250,000 settlement. The settlement comes in the wake of complaints filed by the AWA St-Remi Support Centre in 2009 and 2010 with the Quebec Labour Standards Board, originally on behalf of 40 Guatemalan migrant workers at a Quebec agriculture operation whose housing deductions exceeded the provincial maximum of $20 a week.
That AWA action initially resulted in forcing employers across Quebec to immediately drop what they charged for housing to migrant workers to the provincial maximum — saving the workers hundreds of thousands of dollars in total in the years since. But those AWA efforts also led to a judicial procedure to compensate Guatemalan migrant workers across Quebec workers who had been overcharged for housing before 2010.
The settlement of the judicial procedure has now been finalized, and more than 700 Guatemalan migrant workers across Quebec have begun to receive their share of the $250,000 settlement.
"This is a victory for the Guatemalan workers, and a message to the employers that the rights of migrant agriculture workers must be respected," says UFCW Canada National President Wayne Hanley. "We are glad the efforts of the AWA and UFCW Canada have succeeded, and we will continue to stand with all Quebec agriculture workers in their campaign for justice and equality under the Quebec Labour Standards Act, and the Labour Code."