PRESS RELEASE: APRIL 27, 2011

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Supreme Court to rule on farm workers' union rights

Battle dates to mid-1990s

By Sharon Hill, The Windsor Star April 27, 2011

 WINDSOR, Ont. -- The Supreme Court of Canada will rule Friday on whether farm workers across Ontario can join a union in a lengthy legal battle that has Essex County roots.

"This is really, really it," Stan Raper of the United Food and Commercial Workers Canada union said Wednesday morning.

A lot is at stake for Ontario's estimated 80,000 farm workers, Raper said.

"We at UFCW, and I think the labour movement in general across Canada, believe every worker should have the right to join a union and have that right protected and that's really what this boils down to."

The Supreme Court of Canada announced Wednesday it will deliver its judgment Friday in the case between the Attorney General of Ontario and Michael Fraser filed on his own behalf and on behalf of the UFCW, and three other workers.

The Supreme Court is expected to rule on whether Ontario's Agricultural Employees Protection Act of 2002 violates the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The legal battle, which dates back to the mid-1990s, has links with mushroom farms in Leamington and Kingsville.

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