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Langley mushroom farm workers unionize

Most are temporary foreign workers, union says
A Highline Farms location in the Fraser Valley. Workers at several Highline Farms sites have recently unionized. (Google Street View image)

More than 200 workers at a Langley mushroom farm have joined the United Food and Commercial Workers, the union announced.

The BC Labour Board certified 210 workers at Highline Mushrooms on July 8, the union announced. That brings the total of newly-certified workers at Highline Farms in the Fraser Valley to 390, the union said.

“The biggest motivation to join UFCW is job security to have a personal peace of mind. If anything goes wrong, or if the employer treats you unfairly, the union has your back,” Kulwinder Kaur, a Langley worker, said in a statement released by UFCW.

Highline sent a statement to Black Press earlier in the summer, after the union drive had been announced.

"At Highline Mushrooms, we are proud to offer a work environment where our employees can develop meaningful and fulfilling careers," the company statement 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."

According to the UFCW, this recent drive has resulted in the largest group of farmworkers in Canadian history to join a union.

Most of the new unions are temporary foreign workers, from countries such as Guatemala, Mexico, India, and Vietnam, as well as local workers in packaging, or employed as drivers, according to UFCW.

“This is more evidence that there is a strong desire for migrant food workers to engage their fundamental labour rights and unionize,” said Shawn Haggerty, UFCW Canada's national president.

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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