UFCW Canada and Mexico's Federal District unite efforts to protect migrant workers in Canada, as well as their families
MEXICO CITY - On Thursday, July 1st, Maria Rosa Marquez Cabrera, representing the Secretaria de Desarrollo Rural y Equidad para las Comunidades (SEDEREC) and Victor Carrozzino, executive assistant to the UFCW Canada National President, signed a mutual cooperation and Letter of Intent to protect the human and labour rights of Mexican temporary agricultural migrant workers in Canada, as well as members of their families living in Mexico City.
The pact reflects the commitment both institutions have shown towards migrant workers for many years, and proposes a model of cooperation and institutional support to improve living and working conditions of Mexican migrant workers while in Canada.
"We look forward to the new cooperation pact with SEDEREC," says National President Wayne Hanley. "The corporate globalization agenda too often ignores the rights of migrant workers, so we are committed to working with sending countries to ensure that doesn't happen."
In association with the Agriculture Workers Alliance (AWA), UFCW Canada will provide workers with a toll-free Assistance phone line. In addition, 10 AWA centres across Canada, with Spanish speaking staff, will provide assistance with issues like labour rights, housing conditions, workers’ compensation and other work-related matters. These centres will also offer workshops on health and safety, work-related accidents, English and French as a second language, and free long distance calls.
SEDEREC will also provide support and information through its Migrante Line, with trained staff to answer the concerns of workers and their families regarding issues such as birth certificates, drivers' licenses, consular referrals, duty-free imports when they return to Mexico, etc.
Every season, more than 17,000 Mexicans work in Canada under the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program (SAWP); a bilateral treaty between Mexico and Canada. The new agreement between UFCW Canada and SEDEREC aims to address the current shortfalls in the SAWP program by offering a model of institutional coordinated support, accessible to every migrant worker.
Vol. X No. 27 • July 12, 2010