For years, the United Food and Commercial Workers Union of Canada (UFCW) has waged a fierce campaign in the courts to establish migrant workers’ rights to unionize. But it appears the union needs to pay greater attention to those it wants to represent to see if collective bargaining is what they really want.
Last summer, 26 Mexican migrant farm workers on a Manitoba fruit and vegetable farm voted unanimously to opt out of the union. They signed their union cards in 2007 and received their first collective agreement about a year ago. “The workers recognized that there is nothing the union could do for them,” says Mark Wales, Ontario Federation of Agriculture vice-president.