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Report/Press release

Migrant Farm Workers Continue Their Struggle for Justice




Immigrant worker center/Centre des travailleurs immigrants - MTL

Full text

Press Conference
Thursday, December 13 at 12:00pm
Holiday Inn, Salle Pivoine
99 Viger Ouest (metro Place d’Armes)

Noe Arteaga Santos and Isaias Castillo Garcia will be pursuing the next chapter in their struggle for justice against Les Serres du St Laurent Inc, a company that produces Savoura tomatoes. Both workers will be attending the latest arbitration hearing in their case at the Commission des Relations du Travail.

In 2008, Arteaga Santos was summarily dismissed and deported to Guatemala after organizing a work-stoppage to obtain medical treatment for a co-worker. He is demanding a public apology, along with reinstatement into his previous job, payment for his overtime hours, and compensation for his plane ticket back to Guatemala, for which he was forced to pay out of his own pocket. In addition, Arteaga Santos is also requesting that Savoura be blacklisted for the abuses and exploitation to which it subjects its workers.

He will be joined in arbitration by Isaias Castillo Garcia, whose contract was terminated in 2008 after seeking health care services. “For over a month, I was denied medical treatment and was forced to work, despite my illness. After contacting friends to drive me to the hospital, my contract was terminated upon my return”, Castillo Garcia stated. ” There have been many repercussions for my family in Guatemala. My brothers have been blacklisted and have been unable to work in Quebec since then”, he further elaborated.

In many respects, their cases are emblematic of the many structural problems in the temporary foreign worker program, which create a context in which workplace exploitation often takes place. “Noe’s and Isaias’ cases are vital with the respect to gaining rights for all low-paid immigrant workers”, said Mostafa Henaway of the Temporary Agency Workers Association. ” Companies like Savoura feel that they have complete impunity in their treatment of migrant workers, even if workers are demanding only the most basic of labour standards”, he added.

Arteaga Santos will also be highlighting the hypocrisy of the Canadian immigration system. “The Canadian government has been increasingly detaining and deporting families, while stating that there still exists a labour market shortage. This kind of double-speak must be denounced”, he asserted.

A press conference will be held at noon in Salle Pivoine of the Holiday Inn, located at 99 Viger West. At this time, Arteaga Santos will be distributing a letter obtained from the Guatemalan consulate, disputing some of the central arguments Savoura has been upholding to justify their actions.


Statement by Arteaga made on December 1, 2009: www.cmaq.net/fr/node/37655

Last Solidarity rally held on May 11, 2012: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DgusAwAOS18

Articles : http://www.journaldemontreal.com/2012/12/03/dedommagement-reclame-a-savoura

Media Contacts: Isaias Castillo Garcia: 438-938-6270

Economic sectors

Agriculture and horticulture workers, Labourers in food, beverage and associated products processing, and General farm workers

Content types

Policy analysis

Target groups

Journalists, Unions, and NGOs/community groups/solidarity networks

Geographical focuses

Canada, United States, Ontario, Alberta, México, Manitoba, Quebec, British Columbia, Other provinces, Federal, Nova Scotia, and National relevance