The Windsor Workers’ Action Centre is a community organization of workers, students and activists committed to improving the lives and working conditions of people in low-wage and unstable employment. Our goal is to ensure that all workers have a voice at work and are treated with dignity and fairness.
The Workers’ Action Centre provides a new way for people to join together to fight for fair employment. People who are directly affected by poor working conditions should be the ones providing leadership in our struggle for fairness and dignity at work.
The Centre seeks to achieve these goals:
Promote Worker Solidarity: We bring workers together to improve working conditions and wages and to make sure the government no longer ignores worker’s rights.
Legal Reforms: Labour laws such as the Employment Standards Act offer only limited protection, in part because of weak enforcement. One in three employers break the law, often with no penalty! That’s why this centre is aimed at getting out into neighbourhoods and workplaces to talk to other workers about how we can support each other and get organized. The Centre also works together with other organizations who are fighting to make laws and enforcement stronger so that working conditions are improved and wages increased.
Advice and Referral Service: The Centre provides advice, referrals and support through a phone line where you can get information on your rights, whether you are a temp worker, not being paid your wages or face other work-related problems. More importantly, we will help you deal with a difficult boss or a problem at work or refer you to another agency in our community who can better assist you.
Educational Programs: We organize workshops and produce and disseminate information on workers rights. It helps if workers know their rights. But we also talk about what workers can do to protect themselves even when the law isn’t working for them
Direct Action & Organizing: In the face of weak enforcement and a lack of union representation, we want to do as much as we can to pressure employers to follow the labour laws while at the same time revealing enforcement shortcomings to the public. We do this through direct action and publicity campaigns aimed at problem employers. We also help workers to affect change in their workplaces by giving them advice and organizational support including the area of occupational health and safety. The government and employers need to hear the voice of workers who are directly affected by bad working conditions and low wages.
Community Social/Cultural Space: The concept of the social space is to provide a safe location for community members and organizations to hold events and workshops, such as; popular education, preserving and canning food, film/discussion nights, visual art, music, and an open market with locally produced goods and food. Primarily the space is about connecting and rebuilding the overall capacity of working people and our community.
The Origins of the WWAC:
A meeting to discuss the development of a Workers’ Centre was initiated by faculty and students in the Labour Studies Program at the University of Windsor in February of 2007. Since the initial proposal, students and faculty from a number of programs have become involved, along with a number of labour and community activists. The Centre has begun producing pamphlets and flyers, delivering worker rights workshops, and providing training for volunteers for the phone advice and referral service. It has also been involved in organizing a number of direct actions, and has submitted a research grant proposal along with other funding proposals. The Centre will also be seeking to build a worker based membership as it extends and expands its activities.