Wednesday, June 27, 2007

First Union of foreign farm workers in Canada

There are no details given but I am a bit surprised that the 43 who said they were misled by the union and did not want to join were simply ignored it seems. I guess if you sign on that is it. I wonder if the 43 were encouraged by their employer to sign the statement about being misled etc. Something must have prompted them.

Manitoba decision certifies migrant farm workers union
Last Updated: Tuesday, June 26, 2007 | 5:46 PM CT
CBC News
A group of migrant farm workers in Portage la Prairie, Man., has become unionized following a Manitoba Labour Board decision released Tuesday.

The certification means that dozens of workers at Mayfair Farms, a fruit and vegetable farm, are the first unionized group of foreign farm workers in Canada.

The United Food and Commercial Workers applied for certification at Mayfair Farms in September 2006.

The union said it had signed up more than 65 per cent of the 59 workers, which under Manitoba law entitles the group to automatic union certification.

The company argued the workers were not legally employees under the Labour Relations Act, so collective bargaining rights would not apply to them.

In October, 43 of the workers signed statements saying they were misled by the union and did not want to join.

In its decision, the Labour Relations Board said their objections were "untimely" and "did not allege misconduct," so they had no further standing at the hearing.

The five-page decision says the board determined the act did apply to the workers and Mayfair Farms was their employer.

UFCW officials said Tuesday the union will now begin bargaining for a collective agreement for the workers, most of whom are from Mexico.

About 18,000 foreign agricultural workers come to Canada every year under the federal Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program. About 1,000 work in Manitoba.

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