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Fraser Valley mushroom farm workers launch union drive

Unionization attempt not yet certified at mushroom farms owned by international company
A Fraser Valley Highline Farms mushroom facility. (Google Street View image)

Temporary foreign workers at mushroom farms in the Fraser Valley have applied to unionize with the United Food and Commercial Workers, the union announced on June 12.

The workers all work for Highline Mushrooms operations. Highline has seven farms and offices in B.C., including locations in Langley and Aldergrove, four in Abbotsford, and one in Hope.

Health and safety and ensuring a safe and fair work environment were among the key concerns of workers, according to a UFCW statement.

“Congratulations to Highline Mushrooms workers for their courage and determination in asserting their rights,” UFCW local 1518 president Patrick Johnson said. “We are excited about the possibly to represent these workers and improve their lives by negotiating a strong union contract.”

The UFCW statement said the temporary foreign workers are among the most vulnerable in Canada. Many farms in the Fraser Valley use temporary foreign workers seasonally to harvest crops.

“For the past three decades UFCW has been the leading force in helping migrant workers exercise their fundamental rights,” said Shawn Haggerty, National President of UFCW Canada. 

Highline Mushrooms issued a statement in response to a question from the Langley Advance Times:

"At Highline Mushrooms, we are proud to offer a work environment where our employees can develop meaningful and fulfilling careers," it said. "Growing premium quality mushrooms is what we do, and we couldn’t do it without the excellence of our dedicated team. We respect our employees’ decision to be part of a union and will work with them to continue to provide an exceptional employee experience."

Highline is currently owned by Sumitomo Corporation, after being sold by Fyffes, a Europe-based company, in 2021.

UFCW represents 255,000 unionized workers.

- this story has been updated to reflect the current ownership of Highline Mushrooms

Matthew Claxton

About the Author: Matthew Claxton

Raised in Langley, as a journalist today I focus on local politics, crime and homelessness.
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