Friday 24 July 2009

And a victory for the little guy against the union

Three years ago, migrant farm workers at Mayfair Farms in Portage, Manitoba, Canada were deceived into joining a union. One of the workers got in trouble with the police for a non-work related problem. The United Food and Commercial Workers Union told the Mexican workers, most of whom did not speak English well let alone read it, that signing cards would get the UFCW to provide legal help for their buddy. They didn't know that signing the cards meant that they'd joined a union. They didn't want a union. Nothing required the union to provide documentation in a language that the workers could understand. The sordid tale is documented here, here, and here.

Now, the farm workers have finally been able to decertify the union.
A group of migrant farm workers in Portage la Prairie that once made history by accepting a collective agreement and forming a union have now managed to break their ties and de-certify their union.

On June 25, a representation vote was held, and 26 employees cast their ballots against union membership in a unanimous decision.

As a result, on July 9, the Manitoba Labour Board revoked the workers' union that was originally certified on June 26, 2007.

Heladio Martinez Perez, one of the seasonal employees at Mayfair Farms Portage Ltd. from Veracruz, Mexico, who was opposed to forming a union from the start, was overjoyed to see the employees were able to now sever their relationship with the union and end the collective agreement.

Perez said the employees did not originally want a union, but were misled into signing the initial agreement through a misunderstanding.
Congrats to the workers at Mayfair for breaking the union shackles! The UFCW treated them as pawns in their broader campaign to force through unionization of seasonal migrant labour, regardless of whether the workers wanted to be members. Nice to see the good guys win one.

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