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First collective agreement in Canada specifically for migrant agricultural workers negotiated by UFCW Canada Local 1518

Jurisdiction: - British Columbia
Sector: - Agriculture

The UFCW Canada Local 1518 has posted an article on its website announcing what it is calling the first collective agreement in Canada specifically for migrant agricultural workers. The website goes on to note:

  • the migrant workers work at Sidhu & Sons Nursery in Abbotsford BC;
  • the workers are primarily from Mexico and Jamaica;
  • they come to Canada each year under the federal government's Canadian Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program (CSAWP);
  • a unique feature of the collective agreement is that it is specifically for the migrant workers at Sidhu & Sons, rather than the entire workforce; and
  • the collective agreement provides the migrant workers with, among other things, a grievance procedure, seniority rights, recall rights, paid breaks, increased vacation pay, and a wage increase.

The history of this case before the BC Labour Relations Board was long and drawn out, as evidenced by the following:

  • October 14, 2008: in BCLRB No. B159/2008, the Board originally dismissed the union's application for certification of a bargaining unit of "all Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program (SAWP) employees employed by Sidhu & Sons Nursery Ltd." on the basis that the unit was not appropriate for collective bargaining.
  • March 26, 2009: in BCLRB No. B63/2009, a reconsideration panel overturned the original decision and remitted the matter back to original vice-chair for a fresh determination of the appropriateness of the proposed unit in light of the reconsideration decision.
  • February 9, 2010: in BCLRB No. B26/2010, the original vice-chair ordered that the representation vote be counted and that the union be certified if it had majority support.
  • April 26, 2010: in BCLRB No. B64/2010, the reconsideration panel dismissed the employer's application for leave and reconsideration of BCLRB No. B26/2010.