Migrant farmworkers: organizing and resisting before, during and beyond COVID-19

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Image: U.S. Department of Agriculture/Flickr

Today, we're grateful to be given the opportunity to present a timely issue here in Canada -- the tragic and unjust situation facing migrant workers.  There have been many problems with the treatment of migrant farm workers even before COVID-19, and the pandemic has made a bad situation even worse. 

The panel you're about to hear is called Migrant Farmworkers: Organizing and Resisting Before, During and Beyond COVID-19. It was an online discussion held on July 3, 2020, co-organized by the Institute of Development Policy at the University of Antwerp (IOB), the University of Bristol, the Transnational Institute and the Canada-Caribbean Institute at Brock University and the University of the West Indies.

The webinar is described by the organizers in this way: "This webinar brought together farmworker advocates who have been organizing and working alongside farmworkers in Canada, Italy, United Kingdom, the United States and across boundaries. In these countries, while farm work has been deemed 'essential,' the lives of farmworkers have been treated as disposable; states and private companies have done very little to ensure the health and safety of these workers. In fact, there are reports that some farmworkers have been asked to waive their rights in case they contract the virus. The webinar explored local and international strategies that could be adopted to challenge the political, legal and economic structures that result in farmworkers’ subordination."

Speakers:

  • Alagie Jinkang, Ikenga and University of Palermo (Italy)
  • Bridget Henderson, UNITE (UK)
  • Gerardo Reyes Chavez, Coalition of Immokalee Workers (USA)
  • Carlos Marentes, La Via Campesina (USA)
  • Vasanthi Venkatesh, Justicia/University of Windsor (Canada)

Facilitators:

  • Brid Brennan, Transnational Institute (TNI) 
  • Manoj Dias-Abey, University of Bristol
  • Tomaso Ferrando, University of Antwerp

Thanks to the organizers for permission to podcast this webinar on rabble.ca.

Image: U.S. Department of Agriculture/Flickr

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