B.C. Labour Board rules in favour of blacklisted Mexican workers

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Photo: flickr/Egan Snow

The B.C. Labour Relations Board has ruled that the Mexican government blacklisted seasonal agriculture workers who formed a union at their workplace in the lower B.C. mainland.

The Board found that the Mexican government improperly interfered by identifying workers who were a part of United Food and Commercial Workers at Sidhu & Sons Nursery, a flower growing operation in Abbotsford, B.C. and prevented them from returning to Canada to work under the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program (SWAP).

The workers that remained at the nursery started a union decertification application. As a result of this ruling, the decertification request was quashed.

"It has been a long battle, but finally the truth has won out," said Ivan Limpright, the president of UFCW Canada Local 1518, in a written statement provided by UFCW. "Every worker in Canada has the right to join a union, including migrant workers. Mexico's blacklisting and coercion violated Canadian laws and the rights of the workers involved."

This decision was delayed because of an ongoing case brought by the Mexican Government to block voluntary testimony from former consulate employees. Mexico claimed their evidence was inadmissible under international law, which protects embassy and consular employees to testifying in foreign courts because of diplomatic immunity.

The B.C. Supreme Court ruled earlier this year that the testimony was in fact admissible because the consulate employees no longer worked there and therefore were no longer subject to the laws governing immunity.

Mexico has appealed the B.C. Supreme Court decision. Stan Raper, the national coordinator for the UFCW's Agricultural Workers Alliance, told rabble earlier this year that the union will continue to support the workers.

"We're determined to see it right though to the end," said Raper. "Whatever that is."

Photo: flickr/Egan Snow

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