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On the May holiday weekend, more than 400 migrant and domestic agriculture workers joined the celebration of the ninth anniversary of the Agriculture Workers Alliance centre in Simcoe, Ontario. The Simcoe AWA centre is located in one of southwest Ontario’s most intensive agriculture areas. The Simcoe centre's multilingual staff and volunteers have been supplying support and advocacy services to migrant and domestic agriculture workers in the area since 2003, and its anniversary gathering was filled with friendship, food and solidarity.
“The Simcoe gathering was a wonderful opportunity to acknowledge the tremendous contribution that agriculture workers make to our communities,” says National President Wayne Hanley, who for much of the event was stationed behind a very busy barbeque. “The great turnout was also gratifying because the Simcoe AWA has grown into such an integral part of the workers’ community. The AWA is here for the workers and we’re proud to assist them in Simcoe and at all our AWA centres.”
Also joining to help out at the Simcoe gathering were UFCW Canada young activist members participating in the Youth Internship Program (YIP), as well as members of Students Against Migrant Exploitation (SAME). The two young activists groups were also on hand on May 27 to help celebrate the tenth anniversary of the AWA centre in Leamington, Ontario. The Leamington centre was the first of what has now become ten UFCW Canada/AWA centres operated across the country.