Vancouver – January 30, 2015 – For the second time, Mexico’s claim of sovereign immunity has failed to convince a BC court to quash evidence that pointed to the Mexican government blacklisting Mexican migrant workers from returning to Canada because they were suspected of being union sympathizers.
“This is a victory for the workers,” says Ivan Limpright, the president of UFCW Canada Local 1518, “and a warning to Mexico that sovereign immunity is not a license to abuse the rights of workers in our country.”
The evidence had originally been presented in 2012 to the BC Labour Relations Board (BCLRB) by UFCW Canada Local 1518 (United Food and Commercial Workers Union Canada Local 1518). The case revolved around a BC agriculture operation where migrant agriculture workers had succeeded in forming a UFCW Canada Local 1518 union bargaining unit.
On Friday, the BC Court of Appeal upheld a January 2014 ruling by the BC Supreme Court to allow the BCLRB to rule on testimony from former Mexico consular officials, along with leaked documents that overwhelmingly pointed to blacklisting. Ultimately, the BCLRB determined that Mexico had altered documents in an attempt to cover up its union-busting activities (see www.ufcw.ca/blacklist).
With Friday’s Court of Appeal ruling against Mexico, the BCLRB decision stands. The Court of Appeal was unanimous in it decision explaining, “The Board was doing no more than vindicating the rights of persons in British Columbia.”
Mexico has 60 days to decide whether to apply for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada.
“Blacklisting is a violation of our border and of the people who work here. Labour rights are human rights that apply to all workers in Canada, no matter here they come from,” says UFCW Canada National President Paul Meinema. “That is the truth, that is the law, and Mexico must respect both.”
For more than two decades, UFCW Canada has led a campaign for the labour and human rights of domestic and agriculture workers in Canada.