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Saint-Rémi, Que. – September 5, 2014 – Celebration was in the air at the community gathering and barbecue held to mark the tenth anniversary of the Agricultural Workers Alliance (AWA) Support Centre in Saint-Rémi, Quebec. The event brought agriculture workers from across the region who work hard to grow and harvest crops and produce that make their way to the tables of families across Quebec.
Throughout the celebration, the workers were joined by joined by AWA and UFCW activists for a day full of good food, sports activities and entertainment. Many at the anniversary gathering were migrant agriculture workers primarily from Mexico, Guatemala, and Honduras. As well as giving thanks for their invaluable contribution to the Quebec community and economy, the gathering was also a reminder that UFCW Canada and the AWA remain steadfast in protecting the rights of agriculture workers to unionize – and ready to fight back against Bill 8, proposed legislation by the Quebec government to take those rights away.
UFCW Canada is strongly against the proposed legislation, as it would unjustly remove the rights from both domestic and migrant agriculture workers to join a union and bargain collectively, and their right to an effective dispute resolution process.
‘‘Employers claim that unionization cannot work out in the agriculture sector, yet UFCW Canada collective agreements are in place at eight Quebec agriculture operations. None of the agriculture enterprises where collective agreements are in place have ceased to be prosperous, which demonstrates that such labour relations can work well in Quebec’s agriculture sector", said Anouk Collet, UFCW Canada Quebec Regional Director.
‘‘We consider that it is possible to maintain the union certification process as provided for in the Labour Code, including in the case of agriculture workers, and we are of the same opinion concerning the grievance resolution procedure. That is what we are going to point out on September 9, before the Committee on Labour and the Economy at the Quebec National Assembly’’.