UFCW Canada

UFCW Canada
Agriculture Workers Alliance

December 20, 2011 11:30 ET

UFCW Canada and the Agriculture Workers Alliance Ask for Immediate Stop to the Blacklists

MEXICO CITY, MEXICO--(Marketwire - Dec. 20, 2011) - UFCW Canada and the Agriculture Workers Alliance are asking for an immediate stop to the blacklists created by the Mexican Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare (STPS) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (SRE), who are blocking the return of Mexican workers to Canada. These workers are employed through the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program (SAWP).

During a press conference held in Mexico City in commemoration of the International Migrants Day, UFCW Canada and the AWA denounced the arbitrary actions of officials who violate the rights of Mexican workers who seek to maintain their employment in Canada. The press conference took place one day after International Migrants Day, which is held every year on December 18th - the day that commemorates the proclamation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Migrant Workers.

The SAWP was created in 1974 through a memorandum of understanding signed between Mexico and Canada. Every year, this program allows thousands of Mexicans to travel to Canada with temporary work permits. However, excluded workers reported that Mexican consular officials in Vancouver blacklisted them for their union activities. They reported that despite their intention to return to Canada in the following season, they were no longer allowed to participate in the program because they were labeled as "troublemakers".

Andrea Galvez, UFCW liaison in Mexico, said the federal government is criminalizing workers who exercise their rights. She added that even though the government claims the SAWP is a model program, it should be revised to consider the needs and rights of more than 16,500 workers that participate every year.

Octavio Nava declared that Mexican authorities are ironically penalizing workers who wish to organize and defend their rights.

UFCW Canada is Canada's largest private-sector union with more than 250,000 members across the country working primarily in the food industry. In association with the Agriculture Workers Alliance (AWA), UFCW Canada also operates ten agriculture worker support centres across Canada.

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