AFL calls for change in laws governing farm workers before it's too late
EDMONTON - The Alberta government must act now before farm workers in this province suffer the kind of tragedy that has recently rocked Ontario, says the province's largest labour group.
"The conditions endured by farm workers on their journeys to and from worksites are a recipe for disaster," says Gil McGowan, president of the Alberta Federation of Labour, which represents 145,000 workers. "Let's learn the lesson from the tragedy in Ontario last week, when 11 farm workers died when the van transporting them crashed. Let's learn the lesson from B.C., where three farm workers died in 2007 when a van carrying 16 workers flipped. Let's not wait until people are killed on Alberta roads before doing the right thing," he says.
Tomorrow, the AFL will hold a media conference and will call on the Alberta government to end the exemption that allows farm workers to travel in the back on open pickup trucks. "We won't let anyone else travel in such a dangerous way – why are farm workers treated like second class citizens?" It will also call for tougher rules governing the types of vehicles used to transport workers.
This call for action coincides with a national day of action Friday demanding justice for migrant farm workers, including those who died in Hampstead, Ont.
A backgrounder on farm-worker transportation, including a photograph that illustrates the conditions facing farm workers, will be made available at the media conference.
TIME: 2:30 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 16
LOCATION: McDougall Room, 3rd floor,
Chateau Lacombe Crowne Plaza Hotel in downtown Edmonton
(10111 Bellamy Hill)
MEDIA CONTACT: Gil McGowan, AFL President, 780-218-9888
For more information call:
Gil McGowan, President, Alberta Federation of Labour @ 780-218-9888 (cell)