August 26, 2009

Mexican Consul tampered with Migrant farm Vote, National Union of Public and General Employees, Winnipeg (17 Aug. 2009)

Published on National Union of Public and General Employees (

Threatened Mayfair Farms workers with blacklisting before union decertification vote was held.

Winnipeg (17 Aug. 2009) - The Mexican consul visited migrant Mexican farm workers in Manitoba and threatened to blacklist them from ever coming to Canada again if they did not vote to decertify their union at Mayfair Farms in Portage La Prairie, says a spokesperson for group supporting the workers.

The vote to abandon the union, which they had previously chosen to join, was announced earlier this month.

Jennifer deGroot, a member of a coalition supporting seasonal workers in Manitoba and a research associate with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA), outlines what happened in an article published by the Winnipeg Free Press on Friday.

"Recent media reports state that workers at Mayfair Farms in Portage La Prairie chose to decertify after the long struggle to unionize," deGroot writes.

"What those reports don't talk about is the threats that workers received when they expressed interest in unionizing. At least one strong union supporter was denied return to Mayfair Farms this year," she reports.

"The day before the decertification vote the Mexican consul – which has a vested interest in keeping workers in Canada, as their remittances are a major source of national income – held a closed-door meeting with workers at Mayfair Farms.

"Early this summer the Mexican consul visited all farms with seasonal agricultural workers in Manitoba letting workers know that should they unionize they would be blacklisted.

"The lack of permanent status, the ever-present threat of being sent home, their isolation and their inability to communicate in either official language leave them among the most exploited of Canadian workers. Yet, they keep coming back."

The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) has signed a formal protocol with the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW Canada) to support the union in its ongoing drive to organize long-exploited migrant farm workers in Canada.


The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE

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