The Workers’ Action Centre (WAC) has been building worker power for decades. We do it because workers deserve to know their rights and how to defend them. We do it because workers need a space to develop leadership skills and strengthen our communities.
But we can only do it because supporters like you help fund our worker education programs.
This year our Workers’ Bowl fundraiser will be on November 18. In partnership with the OEERC,* all funds raised will go to programs like Feet on the Ground organizer training, WAC’s Senior Leadership program, and everyday workshops and community outreach that bring valuable workers’ rights information to hundreds of people in the GTA.
Workers make a vital impact in our communities after they participate in these training programs. Veronica Bucio, a WAC member, completed the Feet on the Ground (FOG) program in 2022. And now as one of WAC’s Senior Leaders in 2023, she empowers Latinx workers with the tools they need to fight back.
Veronica took a moment to tell us how training at WAC has made her stronger.
Why did you become a WAC member?
Veronica: I’ve had many jobs – dishwashing, cleaning, supporting children at a community centre. I went to one of WAC’s Know Your Rights workshops. It left a deep impression. I joined WAC because I wanted to see how I could help other workers. During the pandemic, I did lots of outreach. I took English classes at WAC. After the lockdowns, I did more outreach than ever and joined the Feet on the Ground program.
How did the Feet on the Ground program help you grow into a leader?
FOG gave lots of training on workers’ rights. It was challenging but I learned to speak to people about their rights, and invite them to workshops and events. By talking to workers and helping them discover how they can protect themselves, I am also helping to build a community of workers, both inside the WAC membership and in the wider community.
All of the community outreach I’ve done has changed me. I used to be nervous to put up a poster – you couldn’t do that in my home country! But I learned that I can do that in this country. And that it’s important to do that so people know their rights and where to go to get support.
This whole experience pushed me to build my leadership skills and my confidence.
As a Senior Leader, how do you feel you are impacting other workers at WAC and in your community?
I hope I’m making them feel better when they call about problems at work or come to a Defending Our Rights workshop. At first, I couldn’t do anything but greet workers. But now I can help them understand labour laws such as public holidays, which days they should be paid for, vacation pay and overtime pay. I feel more confident talking with people and doing presentations.
I believe the labour law information I share will help them now and in the future. It feels good when the people I’ve helped show up again to learn more and get involved. It’s so important to join with other workers, support each other, and help defend our rights together. We each rely on each other’s strengths.
Veronica and several other WAC Senior Leaders have strengthened both their skills and their community. Will you help us continue delivering educational programs that raise up community leaders? Please contribute to the Workers’ Bowl today. Any amount is appreciated and charitable tax receipts are available for donations of $10 or more.
*The Workers’ Bowl is a joint fundraiser between WAC and the Ontario Employment Education & Research Centre (OEERC), which supports community leadership development. All donations go to the OEERC Education and Leadership Fund for Workers in Precarious Employment to create collaborative community leadership development and educational projects with WAC.