A successful campaign to unionize migrant workers has led to allegations that the Mexican government blacklisted labour activists, then prevented some of those workers from returning to work in Canada under Canada's Seasonal Agricultural worker program.
For almost four years, Stan Raper and the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) have been fighting a battle for a group of migrant workers in B.C. who did something controversial -- they unionized.
"It has been a difficult process," explained Raper, the national coordinator for the UFCW's Agricultural Workers Alliance, as he detailed the multiple court battles he and the workers have undertaken.
Related rabble.ca story:
Canada’s agricultural sector is facing a labour shortage – and the governmental and corporate solution is migrant workers. But for decades these seasonal worker programs have perpetuated structures of discrimination and few to no rights for labourers.
Award-winning filmmaker Min Sook Lee's Migrant Dreams documentary project has a deep connection to her past -- her Korean parents emigrated to Canada in the early 1970s and her father did menial labour, including picking worms, in order to provide for the family.
"I appreciate the struggle," says Lee. "There was a lot of anxiety because we were poor and new to the country, so I'm very sensitized to issues of migration, acculturation and diaspora."