mexican_migrant_farm_workers_event_march_5_2013

Mexican Migrant Farm Workers – Their Role in the Manitoba Economy

A presentation by:

Lynne Fernandez
Errol Black Chair in Labour Issues

Jodi Read
Migrant Worker Solidarity Network

Tuesday March 5
1PM – 2.15PM Tier 307

Organized by:
The Dept. of French, Spanish & Italian
Labour Studies Program

For more information:
204-474-9313 or
enrique_fernandez@umanitoba.ca

Jodi from the MWSN was quoted in the Winnipeg Free Press in this article:

Migrant workers ‘invisible’

WCB doesn’t track injuries by nationality

Saying goodbye to two young children and leaving to work in a foreign country for six months isn’t something most Canadians have to do.

Explaining to your spouse and children that as much as you’d love for them to join you, strict immigration laws ensure they probably never will, is also something most Canadians avoid.

This is the reality migrant farm worker 44-year-old Luis Galvain faces each year.

Jody Read, a member of the Migrant Worker Solidarity Network, said some workers are paid for the amount of vegetables they pick, instead of an hourly wage.

Last summer, she said one migrant farm worker had his hours cut and was suspended for two days after he told the farm’s management workers could not meet the quota of vegetables and were making less than minimum wage.

“Migrant farm workers are invisible and get treated as such,” Read said.

You can read the full article here.

"Migrant Farm Workers Need Public Health Care." - Front of campaign postcard

The MWSN is currently running a campaign to have workers in the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program (SAWP) included in the provincial health care plan. As taxpaying residents of Manitoba, they deserve to have the same access to critical health care services as everyone else, and by keeping them outside of the existing public health plan, we expose the people who grow our food to the risk and uncertainty of uninsured medical bills.

We want to convince the provincial government of Manitoba to include SAWP workers in the provincial health care plan, something they have already done with international students in this province. If you support the right of migrant farmworkers  to health care, please contact us at info@mwsn.ca to request post cards, or print and sign one yourself (remember that mail to the Premier does require postage).

El Contrato, the documentary that follows a group of Mexican migrant farm workers as they travel to Canada to work in the  Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program (SAWP) in Ontario,  is available online courtesy of the National Film Board (NFB). You can watch it for free here – anyone interested in migrant farmworker issues should definitely give this one a look, as it opens the lid on the lives and working conditions of some of the workers who pick the food we eat.

Mud and Water Radio, a local radio show, recently ran two interviews on migrant worker issues. You can find both interviews online at their website, or click on the links below.

 

Gustavo Mejicanos of the Agricultural Workers Alliance on labour issues for Manitoba farm workers. Download

Thomas Novak of St. Ignatius church on Canada’s temporary foreign worker programs. Download

Thanks very much to Mud and Water Radio for airing these important interviews! Mud and Water Radio runs weekly and broadcasts about current affairs and the arts. You can listen in on Mondays at 5:30 pm CST on CKUW 95.9 FM, or download their interviews off their website – there’s lots of other interesting interviews to listen to. The radio program is run by folks behind the Mud and Water online magazine.

The Migrant Trail is a annual journey in solidarity with undocumented migrants from Central and South America. Jodi Read, a supporter of the MWSN, will be on the Migrant Trail this year and wanted to share some of her reflections on the march. The Migrant Worker Solidarity Network is a supporter of the Migrant Trail march, which occurs annually in the United States.

I’m preparing for another Migrant Trail. Yearly since 2006, I have embarked on this 75 mile, seven day journey through the desert borderlands of Sonora and Arizona called “Migrant Trail: We Walk for Life.” We are a diverse group of walkers, more than 60 people from around the U.S., Canada and Mexico who come together to remember people who have died in the Mexico-U.S. borderlands and those who continue to come.  In our walking we feel a little of the inhumanity of the crossing and recognize the tragedy of death occurring on the land.

Read the rest of this entry »

Many migrant farm workers in Manitoba are working directly in the path of the floodwaters in Manitoba, and have had their livelihoods harmed by the flood as much as any other resident of the area. Since the money these workers make goes home to their economically-depressed countries of origin to help support their families, the flood probably has a greater negative impact on these workers than on the average Canadian.

The Winnipeg Free Press recently ran an article on the impact of the flood on migrant workers in the province; Jennifer deGroot, a member of the Migrant Worker Solidarity Network, had her letter to the editor published as Letter of the Day in the Winnipeg Free Press about the challenges these workers face in Canada and the need for them to be covered by any provincial flood compensation scheme. You can find the text of the letter below. Read the rest of this entry »

CBC News is reporting that the UFCW is presenting allegations that the Mexican consulate in Vancouver collaborated with employers in union-busting. Based on leaked documents from the consular office, it appears the consulate blocked pro-union migrant workers from returning to Canada for this growing season and has been threatening workers with deportation if they join a union.

From the CBC.ca article:

A Canadian union accuses Mexican consular officials in Vancouver of blacklisting and harassing Mexican farm workers who voted in favour of forming a union at two Surrey, B.C., farms.

The United Food and Commercial Workers union told a Vancouver news conference Tuesday it has filed complaints about the alleged activities with the B.C. Labour Relations Board.

Read the rest of this entry »

From the April 19th Winnipeg Free Press, a news article about the health risks faced by migrant farm workers in Canada.

UPDATE: You can find more information about the report in this news article at ScienceDaily; the UFCW has also issued a press release on these reports.

From the WFP/Canadian Press article:

Many migrant farm workers who come to Canada every year are not given proper safety training, live in hot and cramped quarters, have no access to clean water and see their health suffer as a result, say two new research papers.

Researchers found that many workers from Mexico, Jamaica, the Philippines and other countries develop ailments linked to the gruelling work they do on Canadian farms, largely in British Columbia and Ontario.

Read the rest of this entry »

Welcome!

Welcome to the website of the Migrant Worker Solidarity Network!

We’ve spruced up the website- you can now find above more information about the MWSN, see what we’ve published on the issue of migrant workers in the province, and see how you can get involved to support migrant workers in the province.

We would also love to hear from you: you can contact us at info@mwsn.ca.

-the MWSN

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