Independent media needs you. Join the Tyee.


The Hook: Political news, freshly caught

Migrant workers win historic contract

*this story was updated November 17, at 2:35 p.m.

A group of seasonal workers in Abbotsford have won what their union says is a precedent-setting contract that includes higher wages and benefits like overtime pay and statutory holidays.

The contract is between Sidhu and Sons Nursery and 40 employees, from Mexico and the Caribbean, hired under the federal Season Agricultural Workers Program. The United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) union has included seasonal, or migrant, workers in previous collective bargaining agreements. But this is the first time in B.C. the union has negotiated a contract specifically for this sector of the workforce.

Local 1518 spokesperson Andy Neufeld said the contract is the result of three years of appeals to the B.C. Labour Relations Board. It includes a wage increase of ten cents the first and second years and 13 cents the third year, an increase in vacation pay, overtime and stat holidays.

The contract also ensures the right to recall, says Neufeld, meaning the employer has a legal obligation to hire workers back for subsequent seasons if they have fulfilled their job duties.

In 2008, seasonal workers in at Greenway Farms became the first in B.C. to join the union. The following year, Greenway management won a decertification vote that removed the union from the farm.

Union organizers claimed that this was only after Greenway Farms management replaced many of its season workers with local labour.

In 2009, Mexican migrant workers in Manitoba also voted to leave the UFCW because, under their collective agreement, although they got a pay raise, they weren't allowed to work more than 70 hours a week.

Colleen Kimmett reports for The Tyee.

Find more in:

What have we missed? What do you think? We want to know. Comment below. Keep in mind:


  • Verify facts, debunk rumours
  • Add context and background
  • Spot typos and logical fallacies
  • Highlight reporting blind spots
  • Ignore trolls
  • Treat all with respect and curiosity
  • Connect with each other

Do not:

  • Use sexist, classist, racist or homophobic language
  • Libel or defame
  • Bully or troll
  • Troll patrol. Instead, flag suspect activity.
comments powered by Disqus