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On the Eve of NAFTA Summit, Mexico Relaunches Its Legal Battle Against Mexican Migrant Workers in Canada

MEXICO CITY, MEXICO -- (Marketwired) -- 02/17/14 -- UFCW Canada -

The Seventh NAFTA Summit, to be held in Toluca on February 19th, will leave a bitter taste for Mexican migrant farm workers in Canada. To properly celebrate Barack Obama's and Stephen Harper's visit, Mexico has decided to relaunch its legal battle against the right of association for its own citizens in Canada.

Twenty years after the signing of NAFTA, trade and investment in North America have grown exponentially. Unfortunately, the agreement has only served to create a precarious and vulnerable workforce that faces dire conditions of exploitation and discrimination linked to their status as non-citizens. Ironically, there seems to be a consensus among the three countries on migration: Mexican labour is disposable and does not enjoy any rights.

In 2009, Mexico faced charges of anti-union activity for conspiring with Canadian farmers to exclude SAWP (Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program) workers that dared to organize with UFCW Canada Local 1518. Back then, Mexico sought and obtained diplomatic immunity. However, nearly five years later, Mexico keeps appealing every decision of the Canadian courts, trying to remove all record of evidence of their anti-union activity, including leaked documents and testimonies of former consular employees. This last appeal, announced last Friday, February 14th, will once again serve to deny these workers their fundamental right of association enshrined in the Canadian, Mexican and international standards.

UFCW Canada is the largest and most progressive of the Canadian private sector unions, with more than 250,000 union members across Canada working primarily in the food production, processing and retail sectors - including migrant and domestic agriculture workers at various locations in Quebec and British Columbia. For more than two decades UFCW Canada has been a leading advocate for farm workers' rights, and in association with the AWA (Agriculture Workers Alliance) operates 10 agriculture worker support centers across Canada.

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