Monthly Archives: March 2013

LETTRE OUVERTE AU GOUVERNEMENT DU QUÉBEC

 

Enfin, une victoire confirmée pour les travailleuses et travailleurs agricoles au Québec

(Lettre adressée au gouvernement du Parti Québécois)

Mesdames et messieurs,

Par la présente, nous désirons saluer les conclusions de la Cour supérieure confirmant la décision d’avril 2010 de la Commission des relations du travail (CRT). Le jugement très étoffé de la CRT déclarait déjà le caractère inconstitutionnel (et inopérant) du cinquième alinéa de l’article 21 du Code du travail québécois (2010 QcCRT 0191, p. 84). Depuis près de 50 ans, cet alinéa limitait considérablement la syndicalisation des salarié-e-s des entreprises agricoles du Québec.

En quelque sorte, l’une des plus anciennes discriminations législatives à l’endroit des travailleuses et travailleurs agricoles, tant locaux que dits étrangers temporaires ou migrants, est enfin judiciairement reconnue, malgré la bataille menée par certains employeurs agricoles et leurs principales organisations professionnelles, dont l’Union des producteurs agricoles (UPA) et la Fondation des entreprises en recrutement de main-d’œuvre étrangère (F.E.R.M.E.).

Dans le cadre d’un soutien continu à l’ensemble du secteur agro-alimentaire, il serait hautement approprié que l’État québécois reconnaisse finalement l’apport fondamental des plus de 50,000 personnes, non apparentées à leur employeur, qui sont embauchées, à l’année ou de façon saisonnière, dans l’industrie agricole au Québec. Rappelons qu’environ 7,500 d’entre elles sont liées, par contrat ou certificat de travail, à leur employeur respectif et restreintes à un emploi temporaire, puisque provenant pour la plupart du Mexique et du Guatemala, avec une obligation de retour dans leur pays d’origine après au maximum 8 ou 24 mois de travail, sans possibilité encore d’accès direct au statut de résident permanent au Québec.

Bien plus, en décembre 2011, la Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse (CDPDJ) avisait le précédent gouvernement qu’ « une aide à une industrie ne justifie pas la violation des droits contenus dans la Charte. » (Cf. « La discrimination systémique à l’égard des travailleuses et travailleurs migrants », par Me Marie Carpentier et al., CDPDJ, Cat. 2.120-7.29, décembre 2011, 94 p., p.70)

En somme, pour consolider votre « Politique de souveraineté alimentaire », nous vous demandons de vous différencier de vos prédécesseurs et de vous retirer immédiatement de ce dossier advenant un appel, ainsi que de toute nouvelle contestation judiciaire, en cette matière. Dans les plus brefs délais, votre gouvernement devrait plutôt formellement reconnaître aux travailleuses et travailleurs agricoles, en toute liberté, dignité et égalité, le droit de négocier collectivement leurs conditions de travail, cela comme tout autre salarié peut légitimement le faire au Québec depuis 1964 en vertu de notre Code du travail, notamment à l’aide des articles 3 et 21(4).

Information: ratam.qc@gmail.com

Réseau d’appui aux travailleuses et travailleurs agricoles migrants au Québec (RATAM-Qc)

LETTRE OUVERTE AU GOUVERNEMENT DU QUÉBEC – MigrantWorkersRights

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UFCW Canada victory for Quebec agriculture workers

Lien pour traduction française

A UFCW Canada Human Rights Department Release

March 15, 2013 – The Superior Court of Quebec has upheld a UFCW Canada challenge of a section of the Quebec Labour Code that had blocked many seasonal agriculture workers in Quebec from unionizing. The victory comes in the wake of a four-year battle at the Quebec Labour Commission and in the courts, to uphold a UFCW Canada Local 501 certification application made on behalf of migrant workers at the L’Écuyer/Locas farm in Quebec.

“This is a victory for the workers at L’Écuyer/Locas, and for all seasonal agriculture workers across Quebec,” says Louis Bolduc, executive assistant to the National President. “Moving forward, agriculture operators in Quebec will no longer be able to hide behind a section of the labour code that clearly breached the Charter rights of seasonal agriculture workers.”

The ruling, handed down March 11 by the Quebec Superior Court, upholds a UFCW Canada argument and a subsequent ruling by the labour commission that Section 21, Paragraph 5 of the Quebec Labour Code violated Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The section excluded agriculture workers from organizing at locations where less than three workers were employed continuously.

Because many agriculture locations go quiet in the winter, migrant and seasonal workers at those locations were essentially excluded from unionizing by Section 21, Paragraph 5. That was the argument the L’Écuyer/Locas operators made in challenging a certificate issued to Local 501 to represent workers there.

But in 2008, the labour commission agreed with UFCW Canada that Paragraph 5, Section 21 was unconstitutional and denied workers their Freedom of Association rights. An appeal of that ruling by L’Écuyer/Locas and the Quebec agriculture industry was struck down by this week’s Quebec Superior Court ruling, and the decision of the labour commission has been upheld.

“This is good news for Quebec agriculture workers who had been specifically stopped by this section of the labour act in exercising their rights to organize,” says Brother Bolduc. “The labour and human rights of all workers must be respected, including seasonal agriculture workers.”

UFCW Canada currently represents nine agriculture units in Quebec, with other applications currently before the labour board. In association with the Agriculture Workers Alliance (AWA), UFCW Canada also operates ten agriculture worker support centres across Canada, including AWA centres in Saint-Rémi and Saint-Eustache, Québec.

Quebec Superior court grants full union rights to agricultural migrant workers!

In a major victory for migrant workers, the Quebec Superior Court, asked to review a decision of the Quebec Labour Relations Board dating back to April 2010, has upheld the right for migrant workers to unionize.

The decision comes 3 years after the Quebec Superior Court received an appeal by Montreal area farmers relating to a decision of the Quebec Labour Relations Commission, in relation to the right to unionize of about 15 workers.

The initial case and union accreditation dates back to 2008.

On April 29th of 2011, the Supreme Court of Canada rejected full collective bargaining rights to agricultural workers under federal legislation, but seemed to indicate that provincial legislators have the power to decide.

It is now up to the Quebec government to review the labor code. The Quebec court states that this must be done in the next 12 months. When implemented this should mark the end of the long legal battle led by opponents of the right to unionize for farmworkers in Quebec.

Roberto Nieto
Webmaster

Jugement_..

UFCW makes its voice heard in roundtable on Temporary Foreign Worker Program

A UFCW Canada Human Rights Department Release

Ottawa – March 11, 2013 – UFCW Canada recently participated in an “invitation-only” roundtable regarding the federal government’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP). The meeting was held in Ottawa and was chaired by Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, and Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development.

The federal government is conducting ongoing consultations that it says are aimed at improving the TFWP following complaints that employers are using the program to exploit migrant workers who lack sufficient employment protections, benefits, and compensation.

As a longstanding defender of migrant workers’ rights, UFCW Canada expressed a variety of concerns relating to the TFWP in its submission to the Ministers. Through its ten AWA support centers across Canada, UFCW Canada comes in contact with tens of thousands of migrant workers annually and provides more services to migrant workers than any other organization in the country.

“While our grievances with the TFWP remain intact, and nothing was said to indicate that meaningful change is on the horizon, the dialogue with Ministers Kenney and Finley was an important first step in reforming a program that is unwanted by many migrants and is economically unsustainable,” says Naveen Mehta, General Counsel for UFCW Canada.

“Constructive dialogue and consultation with all levels of government has been a primary tenant of our long-term strategy to achieve legislative change and eliminate the abuse that is inherent within the TFWP as it is currently structured,” adds Mehta, who attended the consultation on behalf of the union.

Prior to participating in the roundtable, UFCW Canada encouraged the federal government to adopt the recommendations of the Fall 2012 Metcalf Foundation report entitled “Made in Canada: How the Law Constructs Migrant Workers’ Insecurity.” The report found that the TFWP lacks the supports, programming, and services needed to operate efficiently and effectively and recommended that adequate resources be made available to the program. It also called on the federal government to provide more migrant workers with a path to permanent residency and opportunities to improve their skills while working in Canada.

UFCW Canada is Canada’s largest private sector union with more than 250,000 members across the country working in almost every sector of the food industry from field to table. UFCW Canada in association with the Agriculture Workers Alliance (AWA) (www.awa-ata.ca) also operates ten agriculture workers support and advocacy centres across Canada, which have provided assistance to thousands of workers since the first centre opened its doors in 2002.

Les TUAC Canada figurent parmi les plus grands syndicats du secteur privé au Canada, représentant plus de 250 000 membres partout au pays qui oeuvrent dans presque tous les secteurs de l’industrie alimentaire allant des champs de culture à la table à manger. De concert avec l’Alliance des travailleurs agricoles (ATA) (www.awa-ata.ca), les TUAC Canada exploitent également dix centres de soutien et de défense pour travailleurs agricoles à travers le Canada, qui ont fourni de l’assistance à des milliers de travailleurs depuis l’ouverture du premier centre en 2002.

UFCW Canadá es el sindicato Canadiense más grande del sector privado con más de 250,000 miembros en todo el país trabajando en cada sector de la industria alimenticia desde el campo a la mesa. La UFCW Canadá en asociación con la Alianza para los Trabajadores Agrícolas (AWA) (www.awa-ata.ca) también opera diez centros de apoyo y de defensa a través de Canadá, los mismos que han proporcionado asistencia a decenas de miles de trabajadores desde que el primer centro abrió sus puertas en el año 2002