Monthly Archives: December 2008

Rol-land workers update

We lost everything over night, our home, our jobs and our dream of being able to stay and work in Canada,” explained Carlos one of the recently fired farm workers employed at Rol-Land Farms. He added, “Rol-Land farms didn’t even give us notice or an explanation. I can’t believe that Rol-Land fired and evicted us so close to Christmas. This is a company with no heart.

see: Rol-Land Workers Update

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Mushroom workers to tell their story

Mushroom workers to tell their story | Better Farming

Fired foreign workers speak out at press conference

Media – Feature Stories – Story Details
TORONTO, ONTARIO – Dec. 11, 2008 – Farm workers, trade unions,
advocacy groups and academics at a December 11 press conference in Toronto, will speak about the more than 70 Mexican and Jamaican agriculture workers at a mushroom grow house outside of Guelph who were fired without notice on December 6, by Rol-Land Farms, a multi-million-a-year, privately owned industrial agricultural corporation that operates a number of mushroom growing operations across
Canada.

Scores of Temporary Foreign Workers deported by Ontario agri-complex

from UFCW Canada, December 6, 2008.

CAMPBELLVILLE, ONTARIO – Dec. 6, 2008 — More than 70 Mexican and Jamaican agriculture workers at a mushroom grow house facility outside of Guelph were fired without notice on December 6, by Rol-Land Farms, a $50 million-a-year, privately owned industrial agricultural corporation that operates a number of mushroom growing operations across Canada. No reason was given for the firings.

The workers were in Canada on the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, championed by the Harper government. They were also evicted from the housing provided to them by Rol-Land and are in the process of being repatriated.

“No company should have the right to treat human beings like disposable farm tools,” explained Chris Ramsaroop of Justicia for Migrant Workers, an advocacy group that works with migrant workers across Canada. He added, “these workers have lost everything over night: their jobs, their housing and even their ability to stay and work in Canada. Rol-Land Farms didn’t even issue notices to their employees.”

Wayne Hanley, the National President of UFCW Canada stated, “the Temporary Foreign Workers program has been designed to allow an employer to have complete power over a worker. In this case Rol-Land Farms was not only the employer but also the landlord and de facto deportation agent.”

“The workers had to make the impossible choice of taking a paid plane ticket back on Saturday or having no plane ticket if they decided to stay,” explained Hanley. “With no housing and no access to other employment many of them are left with no choice but to concede to immediate repatriation.”

“We cannot tolerate such treatment of workers in this country,” said Hanley. “We can’t allow the expansion of programs that create second class residents and workers.”

The fired workers had been only working for Rol-Land Farms for periods ranging from four to eight months. According to the terms of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program workers are issued work visas for two years.

On November 17, 2008 UFCW Canada gained a landmark victory for agriculture workers in Ontario at the Ontario Court of Appeal. The decision struck down the ban on farm unions in the province as a violation of the Charter rights of Ontario’s more than 100,000 agriculture workers. The court has given the McGuinty government 12 months to bring farm workers under the Ontario Labour Relations Act, or draft new legislation respecting the rights of farm workers to unionize.

UFCW Canada in association with the Agriculture Workers Alliance operates eight support centres across Canada for agriculture workers. UFCW Canada is Canada’s largest private-sector union with over 250,000 members across the country working in every sector of the food industry from field to table.

Temporary foreign worker program bad for economy: report

Canada Immigration 加拿大移民 : Temporary foreign worker program bad for economy: report

OTTAWA
– “Admitting 200,000 temporary foreign workers each year harms the
Canadian economy and we have proof,” charges New Democrat Immigration
Critic Olivia Chow.

The real story behind the Annual Immigration Report
released today is the dramatic increase of temporary foreign workers coming
into Canada.

Documents from Canada Immigration and the Minister’s
office acquired by Chow through Canada’s Access to Information
Act assert that the program makes it “too easy” for firms to hire temporary
foreign workers. The documents also state that bringing in a large number of
temporary foreign workers has a negative impact on existing wages and
employment.

historic decision for migrants workers

JUSTICIA:.: for Migrant Workers

Justicia for Migrant Workers (J4MW) echoes the sentiments shared by community and labour unions in celebrating the recent legal decision of Chief Justice Winkler in the case of Fraser, Liu, McGorman and Church versus the Attorney General of Ontario.

In this historic decision, Justice Winker upheld the right of agricultural workers at Rol Land mushroom farms in Kingsville, Ontario to be part of a labour union of their choice. The United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) won a clear majority among workers to gain recognition as the bargaining agent on behalf of these workers. In granting this decision, the courts have provided a clear and definitive legal direction in favour of some of the most exploited and vulnerable workers in Canada.

Migrant agricultural workers win right to bargain

The Ontario Court of Appeal has told the Ontario government to drop its ban
on farm unions because it violates the Charter rights of Ontario’s more
than 100,000 agriculture workers after decades of prohibiting
agricultural workers from effectively participating in the provincial
Labour Relations regime.  The decision was release this morning.

Many of these agricultural workers are temporary foreign workers (TFWs) or
workers who come to Ontario under the Federal Government’s Seasonal
Agricultural Workers Program (SAWP) from countries such as Mexico,
Jamaica, and Thailand.

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