Premier Ed Stelmach: 14 months and 13 deaths later and still no action
It’s been 14 months since Justice Peter Barley told Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach that farm workers in Alberta should be granted the same health and safety rights as everyone else.
Despite asking Justice Barley for his advice, the Premier doesn’t want to hear it, and farm workers are paying the price.
After being asked by the Premier to investigate the workplace death of farm worker Kevan Chandler, Justice Barley found that farm workers must be included in Alberta’s Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) to prevent future workplace injuries and deaths.
To date, Premier Stelmach has ignored that advice, and since then 13 more people have been killed on Alberta farms in work-related accidents.
Since Kevan Chandler died at work on Father’s Day nearly four years ago, an additional 59 people have been killed in agriculture-related accidents.
As the leader of a majority government, Premier Stelmach is the “decider”. He has the power to save lives with stroke of a pen by granting basic health and safety rights to farm workers – they’re the same rights that most of us already have.
Tell Premier Stelmach to do the right thing by ending the deadly discrimination against Alberta farm workers.
Click here to tell Premier Stelmach: End the Harvest of Death!
In 1985, our UFCW Canada family of members and Local Unions made a pledge to work together to support the efforts of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada (LLSC).
Since then, your tremendous fundraising has raised more than $49 million for the LLSC. Combining all efforts across Canada, UFCW Canada members and Local Unions are a tower of hope and financial support for the work of the LLSC to find a cure, provide better therapies and patient support, and raise public awareness that blood cancer is a battle that can be won.
Advancing together, our LLSC fundraising has made a vital difference. Today, many kids and adults with leukemia and other blood cancers are living longer or are in remission because of new therapies that have led to higher survival rates and a better quality of life.
About the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada (LLSC)
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada (LLSC) is the single largest voluntary health agency dedicated to blood cancers in Canada. LLSC funds life-saving blood cancer research across the country, and provides information and support services free of charge to people affected by blood cancers. The LLSC's mission is to cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin's disease, and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of Canadians impacted by blood cancers.
UFCW Canada has been an ally, advocate and champion for agriculture workers in Canada since 1980 —successfully leading the campaign for justice, enhanced rights, safety, and a voice in the workplace for some of Canada’s most exploited workers.
Today, UFCW Canada is also the union for both domestic and migrant agriculture workers with collective agreements in place at locations in British Columbia, Manitoba and Quebec. They are strong contracts that protect the right of both temporary and domestic workers to return to work the next year based on years of service.
In association with the Agriculture Workers Alliance, UFCW Canada also operatesCanada’s largest association for agriculture workers, with a network of 10 help centres across Canada where the rights of all farm workers come first — no matter where they come from.
Since opening the first centre in 1992, UFCW Canada and the AWA have assisted literally tens of thousands of farm workers regarding abusive employers, unsafe workplace and housing conditions, medical treatment and Workers Compensation claims, parental leave benefits, health and safety training, as well as supporting the rights of agriculture workers to form a union.
UFCW Canada and AWA actions have also led to:
Health and Safety coverage and training for farm workers in Ontario
The right for farm workers in Ontario to unionize (the McGuinty Ontario government has appealed)
Rent reduction to migrant farm workers in Quebec due to AWA Human Rights complaint
Compensation to some migrant workers unjustly repatriated
Official partnerships with Mexican states to advocate for the fair treatment and rights of workers
Millions of dollars in Parental Leave Benefits for seasonal and temporary migrant workers Concerted pressure on the Alberta government to end its deadly discrimination of excluding farm workers from Health and Safety coverage
Charges filed with the International Labour Organization (ILO) that Ontario’s ban on farm unions is a violation of human and labour rights under United Nations conventions
“Agriculture workers have the same rights as every other worker in Canada, “says Wayne Hanley, the National President of UFCW Canada. “We have stood with these workers from the beginning, and we will continue to fight for them until their rights are upheld, their workplace is safe, and the hard and dangerous work they do is respected and rewarded fairly.”
Workers in Canada have fundamental rights — including the right to form a union to create a better, fairer relationship with their employer.
It is a right that Walmart cannot ignore because Walmart is not above the law. That law is Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms — our constitution — which has established the Freedom to Associate as a fundamental Canadian right.
In other words, Canada’s highest court has twice ruled that the Charter ensures that workers have the right to join a union and to negotiate a collective agreement with their employer.
As one of Canada’s largest private-sector unions with a strong history of activism, UFCW Canada is committed to ensuring that the labour and human rights of Walmart workers in Canada are respected.
For decades, Walmart workers have tried to improve their lives through collective bargaining. They face tremendous challenges in trying to exercise their rights, but with the assistance of UFCW Canada – and its 250,000-plus members – Walmart Canada workers are making progress.
Since 2002, over 20 different groups of Walmart workers, in several different provinces, have applied to become UFCW Canada members. And despite Walmart’s corporate and legal tactics, some Walmart Canada workers do have a UFCW Canada collective agreement today where they work, because workers understand that by acting together and taking collective action they can improve their workplace and their lives.
If you are a Canadian Associate who wants to join the growing movement for change at Walmart, click here or call: 1-866-977-0772.
UFCW Canada will continue to answer the call every day from Walmart workers who “associate” justice with their Freedom to Associate and form a union.
Ontario’s denial of the rights of agriculture workers to form and join unions for the purposes of collective bargaining is a violation of those workers’ constitutional rights.
The Supreme Court of Canada said so in 2001 and in 2007.
The Court of Appeal for Ontario said so in 2008.
The International Labour Organization (ILO) also says that labour rights are human rights – including the right of all workers to join and form unions, and the right to collective bargaining.
Tell the McGuinty Ontario government to stop discriminating against Ontario’s 100,000 agriculture workers by denying them the same rights that other workers in Ontario enjoy.
Join the campaign to bring justice to Ontario agriculture workers NOW! No more delays. No more excuses. No more cynical politics played out on the backs of these workers to protect the privileges and special interests of the agriculture lobby.
Send a message to Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty to respect the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeal of Ontario, the ILO, and above all, the human rights of Ontario agriculture workers.