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

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