|BCLRB decision - Floralia Plant Growers
Abbotsford, B.C. – March 10, 2016 – The union rights of UFCW Canada Local 1518 migrant agriculture members at a British Columbia nursery operation have been upheld by the B.C. Labour Relations Board (BCLRB), which has struck down a decertification application in the wake of a breach of the labour code by the employer and other parties.
The BCLRB decision faulted Floralia Plant Growers for not allowing newly arrived Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program (SAWP) workers who had just come from Mexico, the time to consider the facts and meet with the union before a representative vote to be held the very next day. According to the board ruling handed down on March 1, Floralia’s action “in respect to these new SAWP employees from Mexico was to deny them the time and opportunity to properly ascertain the circumstances at issue and make inquiries and assess the views which were being presented to them.”
This is not the first time that an attempt to break the union at Floralia was called into question in front of the labour board. In 2011, the union filed charges with the board that the Mexico Ministry of Labour had instructed a SAWP worker at Floralia to initiate a decertification campaign at the location. That campaign also failed.
Along with the Floralia charges, the union also filed charges that certain Mexico government and consular officials had attempted to blacklist Mexican SAWP workers suspected of being union supporters from returning to work at another BC agricultural operation. The location in question was Sidhu and Sons Nursery, where a Local 1518 bargaining unit has been in place since 2010.
In January 2015, the Supreme Court of British Columbia struck down Mexico’s appeal to dismiss a 2013 ruling on the Sidhu charges by the BCLRB, which based on strong evidence pointing to blacklisting, found Mexican officials had improperly interfered in union representation at Sidhu.
Bargaining units remain in place at Sidhu and at Floralia “and the rights and wishes of the members at the two locations must be respected,” says UFCW Canada Local 1518 President Ivan Limpright. “As their union, we will continue to defend their right to join a union, bargain collectively, and ensure they are guaranteed the same rights as every other worker in Canada.”