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Campaign Sends Harper a Message that "Migrant Workers Are Parents Too"

TORONTO, ONTARIO -- (Marketwired) -- 06/14/13 -- As Father's Day approaches, a national grassroots, multimedia, and postcard campaign has been launched by UFCW Canada and the Agriculture Workers Alliance (AWA) to tell the Harper government that "Migrant Workers Are Parents Too", and to re-instate the right of migrant agriculture workers who contribute to Employment Insurance to have equal access to the Parental Benefits of the program.

The activism kicks-off Friday, June 14, with the launch of national web-based "Migrant Workers Are Parents Too" campaign delivered to Stephen Harper (www.ufcw.ca/migrantparents).

Migrant workers and community allies will also gather Friday, June 14, at the Simcoe, Ontario constituency office of federal minister Diane Finley to personally deliver postcards demanding equity under the EI system. Finley's ministry regulates migrant and temporary worker programs in Canada, as well as the EI program.

Across Canada, migrant agriculture workers and community allies will also gather on Father's Day, Sunday, June 16, at AWA workers' support centres across Canada (ufcw.ca/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2008&Itemid=246&lang=en). From there, they will then fan out throughout the community to engage the public to join the post card campaign and send a message to the Prime Minister.

BACKGROUND:

Each season, migrant agricultural workers leave their families for as long as three years to do hard and gruelling work to put food on the tables of Canadian families. Now, the Harper government has attacked some of the most vulnerable workers in Canada by disqualifying migrant workers from Employment Insurance (EI) Parental Care benefits - despite the fact that migrant agriculture workers continue to pay over $25 million a year in EI premiums, and have paid hundreds of millions of dollars into the EI fund, along with their employers, for decades.

The only benefit migrant workers ever received for the millions they paid in EI premiums are parental, maternity and compassionate care benefits. Those benefits have now been arbitrarily ripped away, but nonetheless, migrant workers and their employers across Canada must continue to pay EI premiums.

For more than two decades, UFCW Canada (United Food and Commercial Workers Canada union) has led the campaign to promote and protect the labour, workplace and health and safety rights of migrant and temporary workers in Canada. In association with the AWA, UFCW Canada operates 10 AWA migrant worker support centres across Canada.

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