Monthly Archives: January 2010

The Crisis & Canada’s guest workers

While researching issues relating to our story about Zoran and Edgar, I was surprised to learn that there now about 250,000 guest workers in Canada – a number that has grown dramatically in the last five years with the rapid expansion of the federal government’s Temporary Foreign Workers Program.

The Crisis & Canada’s guest workers

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Hundreds mourn migrant worker deaths

TORONTO–Hundreds gathered at 2757 Kipling Avenue on Thursday evening, staring at the building from which Alexander Bondorev, Aleksey Blumberg, Fayzullo Fazilov and Vladimir Korostin fell to their death on 24 December 2009. Dilshod Mamurov is still in the hospital.

Hundreds mourn migrant worker deaths : The Philippine Reporter

Migrant workers score breakthrough in Manitoba

Migrant workers score breakthrough in Manitoba | National Union of Public and General Employees

UFCW CANADA NEGOTIATES LANDMARK PROTECTIONS FOR MIGRANT WORKER UNION MEMBERS

Brandon, MB – January 7/09 — UFCW Canada Local 832 members at Maple Leaf in Brandon have overwhelmingly ratified a new contract with substantially increased monetary benefits for all members, and groundbreaking new language for Migrant Worker members working under the federal government’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP). Local 832 has thousands of members who are migrant workers in the Province of Manitoba.

Under the new contract at Maple Leaf in Brandon, migrant workers members now have contract language that states that the company is responsible for processing all the necessary paperwork leading to permanent residency status of all migrant worker members pursuant to the Foreign Worker Provincial Nominee Program (PNP). As such, the TFWP is effectively turned into a permanent immigration program which places the migrant worker at the front of the immigration line as a result of union negotiations. Pursuant to a previous agreement between Local 832 and Maple Leaf, hundreds of migrant workers who otherwise would not have secured permanent residency under the TFWP have received permanent residency and many are now Canadian Citizens.

The union additionally negotiated the provision of translators by the employer whenever required by foreign workers. Moreover, the Employer has agreed to pay for the translation of the collective agreement and the employee handbook into various migrant worker languages wherever there are more than 100 members whose first language is not English.

The new contract also includes an expedited arbitration process for PNP temporary foreign workers at Brandon if they have been terminated. These members will be allowed to stay in the province until the arbitrator’s award is received in their case and shall not repatriated which previously was a fear of some migrant workers filing grievances.

“This contract was unique to bargain because of the diversity at the plant,” says UFCW Canada Local 832 President Robert Ziegler. “It’s one thing to do your job, but then to worry about all the paperwork? So we got the company to agree that they will process the paperwork as quickly as possible. That takes the pressure off the worker who’s there and also allows them to concentrate on other areas.”

These advances build on the momentum that UFCW Canada has established in protecting and enhancing the rights of thousands of UFCW Canada migrant worker members across the Canada.

“As members of UFCW Canada, Local 832, these workers have the full protection of a mature collective agreement, Canada’s and Manitoba’s largest private sector union, and effective access to permanent residency,” says Wayne Hanley, the National President of UFCW Canada. “We are proud of the work of Local 832 in negotiating these progressive landmark protections in Manitoba. As the union with the largest number of migrant worker members in Canada, we are committed to continually evolving such protections negotiated for migrants; it is only through the collective resources of the union at the bargaining table that such protections can be secured.”

see ufcw.ca

Vigil to be held for 5 workers

Vigil to be held for 5 workers | Toronto & GTA | News | Toronto Sun

Fellow Uzbek reaches out to injured worker

Fellow Uzbek reaches out to injured worker | Canada | News | Ottawa Sun

Public Vigil for migrant workers killed at work on January 7, 2010 (Toronto)

Four construction workers with precarious immigration status fell to their
deaths on Christmas Eve in one of the worst workplace disasters that
Toronto has seen in decades. The swing stage scaffolding they were working
on broke into two pieces, plummeting the four workers over 13 stories to
the concrete below at 2757 Kipling Avenue. A fifth man is in critical
condition and will need medical attention for the rest of his life.

We mourn the deaths of these workers. We are enraged that such injustice
can take place. Migrant workers take care of children, feed communities,
construct housing, clean offices, and take up many other occupations in
almost all industries but are treated like second-class workers and denied
even the most basic protections.

The workers who died were provided insufficient safety harnesses and
forced to work on a site where a cease and desist order had been issued.
Workers without full status work the most dangerous jobs in the country
and are systemically prevented from being able to assert their rights.
These workers died because Canada denied them full status.

Fifty years ago, five Italian construction workers including Pasquale
Allegrezza, Giovanni Correglio, Giovanni Fusillo, and Alessandro and Guido
Mantella, died while working in a dangerous tunnel near Yonge Street in
Toronto, remembered as the Hoggs Hallow disaster. Knowing that workers
without full status were facing flagrant workplace violations, negligent
employers and little legislative protection from occupational hazards,
workers across the city rose up, and carried out a series of actions and
strikes in a fight to organize the building trades.

Today, fifty years later, racialized communities, immigrants, migrants and
undocumented people continue to work in dangerous and sometimes murderous
conditions. Not having full status means lax enforcement of health and
safety legislation, absence of meaningful laws to protect workers, and
negligent employers and recruiters who sacrifice health and safety of
workers to gain further profit for themselves. This long-term negligence
reveals the lack of social and political will in Canada to ensure justice
and protection of all workers.

Workers without full status are often denied just compensation when they
get injured or ill due to their labour. They are prevented from access to
healthcare and translation services. They get deported because they are
considered a burden on the health care system, and their injury is named a
"breached employment contract." They are unable to access full care in
countries they are deported to. Like all injured workers, compensation by
Workplace Safety and Insurance (WSIB) is inadequate.

Four men died on Christmas Eve, but every day, countless workers are
killed or maimed on the job, while those responsible, employers,
recruiters and government officials, do not face media or public scrutiny.
In 2008, 488 workers were reported killed because of their labour in
Ontario alone. Many more deaths went unreported. Thousands more workers
were injured, many of whom have to learn to live with their injuries
permanently. How many will have to die or be injured before this
government ensures that our communities are meaningfully protected?

Government officials, recruiters and employers need to be persecuted while
those precariously employed need to be protected at work! While we
commemorate and celebrate the lives of these workers, we also demand
justice for the workers, their families and all migrant workers across
this province. Broad and far reaching changes are needed.

Dilshod Mamurov, Aleksey Blumberg, Fayzulla, Vladimir Korostin, and all
injured and killed workers demand this.

This is the first in a series of actions, please keep checking:
toronto.nooneisillegal.org and
www.justicia4migrantworkers.org for updates.