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

Migrant workers score breakthrough in Manitoba

New UFCW Canada contract in Brandon puts migrant workers on the road to permanent settlement in Canada.

Brandon (14 Jan. 2010) - A new union contract for employees at the Brandon Maple Leaf plant includes groundbreaking new language for migrant workers who have come to Canada under the federal Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP).

The collective agreement was negotiated by Local 832 of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW Canada), which represents thousands of members who are migrant workers across Manitoba.

Under the new contract in Brandon, migrant workers who belong to the union have contract language making the company responsible for processing all necessary paperwork leading to permanent residency status under the Foreign Worker Provincial Nominee Program (FWPNP).

As such, the TFWP effectively becomes a permanent immigration program placing migrant workers covered at the front of the immigration line. 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 also received permanent residency and many are now Canadian citizens. 

Providing translators

The union has also negotiated a provision requiring that translators must be furnished by the employer whenever required by foreign workers. Moreover, the employer has agreed to pay for the translation of the collective agreement, and an 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 FWPNP 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 will not 'repatriated.'

“As members of UFCW Canada Local 832, these workers have the full protection of a 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.

"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.”

The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) has signed a formal protocol with UFCW Canada to support the union in its ongoing drive to organize and improve the lives of long-exploited migrant farm workers in Canada.

NUPGE

The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE

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