Virgil community celebrates AWA Centre's 10th anniversary of service
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Virgil, Ont. – August 14, 2014 – Hundreds of migrant agriculture workers and allies gathered for the 10th Anniversary of the Agriculture Workers Alliance (AWA) Virgil Support Centre. As Canada’s union for agriculture workers, UFCW Canada activists joined with AWA members and community partners to celebrate ten years of advocacy, support and organizing.
For the past decade, the AWA Support Centre in Virgil has provided crucially needed resources for thousands of migrant agricultural workers, who travel from as far away as Jamaica, Mexico and Guatemala to work on the commercial farms of Ontario’s Niagara region every year. Some of the services provided by the AWA include assistance with compensation claims, health and safety training, legal referrals, and English as a Second Language classes. The AWA also fights for better housing, safer working conditions, resolution of pay issues, and fair treatment.
With so much to be proud of, AWA members, friends, family and community supporters ensured that the 10th Anniversary was a resounding success. Activities included an open-air Mass, a community barbeque, music, greetings from community leaders, and a raffle with lots of great prizes.
“Congratulations to our AWA members, activists and supporters for working together and building a decade of service and advocacy for agriculture workers in the Niagara region,” says Paul Meinema, UFCW Canada National President. “We are grateful for the tremendous contribution migrant agriculture workers make to our communities, and we are proud to stand with them in solidarity to gain safer working conditions, a just workplace, and a secure livelihood in Canada.”
For more than a decade, UFCW Canada has led the campaign to secure the rights of migrant and domestic agriculture workers. Together with theAWA, Canada’s most progressive union operates 10 AWA support centres across Canada, including the one in Virgil.