|UFCW Canada National President Paul Meinema alongside the President of CATEM Senator Pedro Haces Barba
Toronto – October 19, 2023 – UFCW Canada has signed a historic new agreement with Mexico’s largest labour organization, the Confederation of Workers in Mexico (CATEM), that calls on both organizations to work collaboratively to better protect the rights of Mexican migrant workers while in Canada.
The collaboration agreement, signed by UFCW Canada National President Paul Meinema and the president of CATEM, Senator Pedro Haces Barba aims to defend the human and labour rights of Mexican migrant workers throughout their time in Canada.
A cornerstone of the agreement includes a commitment for both organizations to pressure governments in their respective countries to overhaul their temporary foreign worker programs to include stronger worker protections including the right to union protection, open work permits, improved and increased access to status, among more.
“With the signing of this historic agreement, UFCW Canada continues to build on its legacy of over 30 years of fighting for the rights of migrant workers across borders,” says UFCW Canada National President Paul Meinema. “As Canada’s leading union, we’ve always maintained that the fight for all workers begins with the most vulnerable and precarious. The fight for human and labour rights transcends all borders and is why cooperation agreements like this are of the utmost importance.”
The new agreement expands UFCW Canada’s longstanding relationship with CATEM as both organizations work together to share experiences and political strength to give a voice to the concerns of Mexican migrant agricultural workers in Canada.
“Both UFCW Canada and CATEM recognize that we will always be stronger together and collectively, we continue to improve the lives of working people across both of our countries,” President Meinema adds.
For more than three decades, UFCW has led the fight for migrant workers’ rights in Canada. In collaboration with the Agriculture Workers Alliance (AWA), UFCW Canada operates a national, on-the-ground network of Worker Support Centres with staff and volunteers helping thousands of migrant workers navigate and enforce their limited rights and entitlements, as well as providing health and safety and “know your rights” training. To learn more about this important work, click here.