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Resistance to exploitation : East Indians and the rise of the Canadian Farmworkers Union in B.C. Jhappan, Carol R. 1983

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RESISTANCE TO EXPLOITATION: EAST INDIANS AND THE RISE OF THE CANADIAN FARMWORKERS UNION IN B.C. by CAROL R. JHAPPAN B.A. (Hons.) Oxford University, 1981 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES (Department of Political Science) We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA June 1983 (e) Carol R. Jhappan, 1983 V, In presenting t h i s thesis i n p a r t i a l f u l f i l m e n t of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of B r i t i s h Columbia, I agree that the Library s h a l l make i t f r e e l y available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of t h i s thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of my department or by his or her representatives. I t i s understood that copying or publication of t h i s thesis for f i n a n c i a l gain s h a l l not be allowed without my written permission. Department Of P n H - H f t a l S n l g n r a The University of B r i t i s h Columbia 1956 Main Mall Vancouver, Canada V6T 1Y3 Date 18th July. 1983. DE-6 n/sn - i i -Abstract British Columbia has an undistinguished history of racial discrimination against ethnic minorities, most notably against "Asiatics", such as the Chin-ese, the Japanese and East Indians. Members of these "visible" minorities were allowed into the province in the past as cheap labour, often with the proviso that they enter designated occupations. These occupations were usu-ally the low-status, low-paying jobs spurned by whites, such as domestic ser-vice and farmwork. "Asiatics" were systematically denied the opportunity to participate in the political sphere by Acts of disfranchisement, which in turn prohibited access to certain potentially powerful positions. Discrim-ination by statute was both blatant and intentional, and there is l i t t l e doubt that the law sanctioned public animosity towards non-white minorities. One particularly subordinated sector of the work force was (and is) agricultural labour. Farmworkers are a minority both numerically and in that approximately ninety per cent of them in B.C. are of East Indian origin. As a group they have never enjoyed the benefits of protective labour legislation afforded other B.C. workers. Discrimination against farmworkers has taken the forms, either of omission from certain acts, or outright exclusion from protective provisions. Farmworkers have, until recently, been denied the right to unionize, as well as the coverage of minimum wages, Workers' Compen-sation and statutory safety regulations for farms, despite the fact that farmwork i s the third most dangerous occupation in Canada. In 1979, a Farmworkers Organizing Committee was formed, which later be-came the Canadian Farmworkers Union. The C.F.U. represents a response to legislative discrimination, and its purpose is to fight for the rights and dignity of farmworkers. The strategies employed by the Union in pursuit of i t s goals have been those of a resource-poor minority, and are aimed at sec-uring benefits for farmworkers comparable to those of other B.C. workers. - i i i -This thesis i s the story of that struggle. It is a struggle against injustice, inequality and exploitation. The thesis explores the grievances of B.C.'s farmworkers and analyses the tactics utilized by the C.F.U. The argument presented, however, maintains that although the Union has enjoyed some success in its attempts to eliminate discrimination, i t has been part-i a l l y pre-empted by the Social Credit government's Employment Standards Act of 1980. Further, the (limited) degree of success has, to an extent, obviated the basis of the C.F.U.'s continued struggle. The Union is currently at a political cross-roads, whereby i t s survival i s threatened by the dual prob-lems of a criti c a l financial situation and a depleting membership, and not least by the unconcealed anti-unionism of the present Social Credit govern-ment and the resistance of the farmers' B.C. Federation of Agriculture. A Note on Methodology Because the C.F.U. i s unparalleled in Canada, and because i t is relat-ively new, l i t t l e literature exists which is specifically related to the iss-ue. Therefore, the primary research presented here is based primarily on interviews with individuals concerned in one way or another with the farmwork issue. They included members of and workers for the C.F.U., lawyers, trade unionists, politicians, bureaucrats, farmers, contractors and farmworkers. Where portrayals of the 'facts' differed, I have recorded the range of opin-ion (where numbers warranted), and where information was corroborated by newspaper reports or other written sources, I have quoted those sources for easy reference. Another major source of information was that provided by various written submissions (for example, recommendations and briefs) to the government and to the Human Rights Commission, as well as occasional informal papers written by concerned individuals. -iv-Table of Contents Page Abstract i i List of Figures vi Acknowledgement v i i Chapter One - Introduction and Theoretical Perspectives 1 The Encounter 1 Theoretical Propositions: A Paradigm of Conflict 5 a. What Needs Doing - What Can Be Done? 5 b. Strategies of Conflict - Creating and Sustaining Group Support 8 c. Strategies of Conflict - Winning 10 d. Dominant Group Strategies - "Won't You Come Into My Parlour?" 11 e. An Action-Response Model 15 Chapter Outlines 18 Footnotes 20 Chapter Two - Historical Discrimination and i t s Subtle Perpetuation 22 Unsettled Settlements 22 Closing the Floodgates 24 Channelling 26 A Change in Climate 28 But Surely That Sort of Thing Is In the Past? 30 Summary 35 Footnotes 38 Chapter Three - Poverty in the Valley of Plenty 42 The Imbalance of Power 43 The Grievances - Living Conditions 44 Farmwork May Be Dangerous to Your Health 50 The Grievances - Working Conditions 54 Summary 64 Footnotes 66 - V -Page Chapter Four - "Uthan Da Vaila" (A Time to Rise) 70 Everything Is Possible, Nothing Can Be Done 70 In the Beginning 72 The Farmworkers Organizing Committee ?k Strategies of Resistances Phase 1 - 'Going Public' 75 The Canadian Farmworkers Union* Phase 2 - Recognition and Bargaining 81 Less Talk, More Actions Phase 3 - Coercion 83 Grappling with the Law 85 WhererNow? 89 Summary 90 Footnotes 93 Chapter Five - "You Can't Legislate Love" 99 "The People's Package" 99 The Burden of Proof 102 What Use Is Law? 106 Summary 107 Footnotes 109 Chapter Six - Conclusion Without An End 111 The Theory Revisited 113 Implications for the Future 115 Some Tentative Solutions 117 Epilogue 121 Bibliography 123 Appendices 126 List of Figures Page Figure 1 : A Model Depicting the Action-Response Dynamic Between Farmworkers and Government 14 - v i i -Acknowledgements To the many and varied people who have kindly furnished me with infor-mation and insights during the course of my research, and especially to those involved with the Canadian Farmworkers Union, I am grateful for this oppor-tunity to extend many gracious thanks. I am particularly indebted to Calvin Sandborn for giving me the benefit of his knowledge and research, as well as to Raj Chouhan and Charan G i l l and the farmworkers of the Fraser Valley. I do hope my efforts have done justice to yours and I take pleasure in extending my very best wishes for future success. Good luck. To my supervisor, John Wood, who is responsible for getting me started and keeping me plugging at this work, I hope the finished product goes some way towards settling my indebtedness. I have enjoyed great freedom and indep-endence in the pursuit of my studies - thanks, John, for helping me to make a difference. To the Department of Political Science at the University of British Columbia, I offer appreciation for enabling this rewarding experience to come my way. Fortunately, I have no wife to thank for endless cups of strategically placed coffee, but I have been privileged by the friendship of B i l l Gyles and Liz Hewetson, who have endured stacks of grubby papers scattered liber-ally about their living room with patience bordering on the divine. Thanks for the grins and magic tricks, my friends. Gratitude seems a superfluous offering to my Editor and Inspiration, Nancy McMaster, who has made this work a thesis, rather than an amorphous bunch of words strewn about at random. You'll get plenty good karma for this one,Nancy. Finally, to my Mother and Friend, Alice, and my late Father, Derek Jhappan, I dedicate this thesis, with love. -1-INTRODUCTION  THEORETICAL PERSPECTIVES The Encounter One fine summers* day in 1973. a twenty-four year old recent immigrant from India went to work at a farm in Clearbrook, B.C., having responded to a labour contractor's advertisement in a local newspaper. On his f i r s t day, Raj Chouhan was fired. He had seen and heard the contractor, also of Indian origin, hurling verbal abuse at an old woman in the fields. Chouhan had in-tervened, asking the contractor to show some respect for his elders, and had lost his job for his pains. Moving to another farm and another contractor, he found similar conditions, similar disrespect for the workers, a similar inequity in the distribution of power between employers and employees. It was not long before Chouhan began to wonder how and why this situation was allowed to persist, why farmworkers were unable or unwilling to resist such treatment. He began to make enquiries as to whether any union, existed which was capable of defending the workers' rights and dignity. No such organiz-ation existed, and furthermore, no one had ever heard of a union for farm-workers in the whole of Canada, much less in British Columbia. Chouhan was quickly dropped from the labour force when the contractor heard of his 'union talk'. His next job took Chouhan to a turkey farm in the Clearbrook area, where twelve workers each earned approximately $2.00 an hour. Again, his talk of unions resulted in a speedy dismissal. A few weeks later, in a small chem-ical plant which employed five workers, Chouhan discovered the existence of an Oil and Chemical Workers' Union, and eventually persuaded his fellow workers to become members. He was fired after three months. It was not until January, 1974 that he got his f i r s t taste of bitter struggle. Along with thirty-six other workers in a small Lower Mainland lumber factory, he - 2 -fought for several months to get a local of the International Woodworkers of America (I.W.A.) certified by the B.C. Labour Relations Board (L.R.B.) -and again found himself unemployed. After working in a small organized saw-mill for eight months, a frustrated and brow-beaten Chouhan returned to India in 1975• With ample time for reflection, he decided his future lay in Canada and so came back in 1976. This time he found employment in a plywood factory on the Fraser River. This was to provide his most stable economic base to date, from which he could pursue what was increasingly becoming a major goal-the creation of an organization which could fight for the rights of farm-workers as workers. 1 Raj Chouhan is a member of one of Canada's 'visible' ethnic minorities, more specifically, a member of Vancouver's East Indian community. His ex-perience on the farms of the Fraser Valley in B.C. is an experience shared by many farmworkers in the province. There are an estimated thirteen thou* sand farmworkers in British Columbia , and they are, almost without excep-tion, members of various ethnic minorities. In the Fraser Valley, nearly ninety per cent of farmworkers are of East Indian origin (the remainder being mostly Chinese) and in the Okanagan they are mostly drawn from the Quebecois and Native Indian communities, with some student and miscellaneous labour during the peak of the season. Out of the total, an estimated sixty-five 3 per cent are women, while the rest are mainly older men and children. Many farmworkers speak no English and some are also illiterate in their f i r s t language. Farmworkers in B.C. have never enjoyed the rights and privileges con-ferred upon other workers in the province. With the exception of domestic workers, they have traditionally been the most lowly paid section of the Canadian labour force. They have always been exempted from protective labour legislation. Their relative powerlessness has reinforced their subordinate position in society and they have largely been ignored by government, by the trade union movement and by the wider society. Yet in the last three years a union claiming to represent these neglec-ted workers has arisen, its leaders and membership drawn from the East Indian community of Vancouver. Its aims are to fight for the 'rights' and human dignity of farmworkers by modifying the existing institutional and legis-lative environment. In this sense, the Canadian Farmworkers Union (C.F.U.) can be seen as a response to legislative discrimination. The C.F.U. at this point can legitimately claim to be the only union for farmworkers in Canada. Its leaders are careful to present the organiz-ation as an ordinary trade union, with the usual concerns of trade unions such as hours, overtime, holidays, health and safety and collective bargain-ing. Yet the C.F.U. i s further distinguished by i t s marriage of traditional class-based actions with a distinct, ethnically-oriented approach to polit-ic a l and economic conflict. Although the Union seeks to represent a l l Can-adian farmworkers, its emergence from within the East Indian community of Vancouver has given the organization a singularly ethnic flavour. Farmworkers, as mentioned above, have traditionally been one of the most lowly paid sectors of society. They have also traditionally been drawn from ethnic minorities. Is this mere coincidence, or is ethnicity a determining factor in the economic subordination of farmworkers? How do governments balance their obligations to represent the diffuse, and sometimes conflicting interests of a l l sections of the electorate? Who has the power to change the system of distribution of rewards? With respect to the last question posed, the C.F.U. believes itself to be capable of effecting changes in farmworkers' living and working conditions, and has enjoyed a measure of success in the past three years. However, this thesis will argue that the few victories the Union has achieved have been more in the nature of placebos than of fundamental changes in the structure of social and economic relations. It will be argued that the concessions made (by government) have been the results of two main pressures - f i r s t , the negative publicity generated by the C.F.U.'s agitation and, second, the imperatives foisted upon both federal and provincial governments by the non-discrimination clauses of the 1981 Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. In other words, i t i s polit-i c a l expediency rather than an induced awareness of social injustice and in-equality which has motivated shifts in policy towards the farmworkers. Furthermore, this thesis will argue that the C.F.U. (notwithstanding the enormous difficulties associated with organizing farmworkers) has made a number of strategic mistakes which have serious implications for its eff-ectiveness as a pressure group. By 'going public' from the outset, the Union was somewhat successful in embarrassing the government. However, the chan-ges incorporated into the 1980 Employment Standards Act, i t will be argued, have to a large extent pre-empted the C.F.U.'s case for further mobilization. This dilemma, combined with the fact that the Union does not have a mass support base among farmworkers, has serious implications for the survival of the Union in the immediate future. The last major argument of this thesis will refute an argument presented by recent British Columbian governments to rebut charges of racial discrim-ination. Although post-war B.C. governments have claimed that discrimination against farmworkers is inadvertent, an unfortunate and unforeseen side-effect of expedient policies, the facts support an argument to the contrary. There is a long and ignominious history of legal discrimination against East Ind-ians (among other groups) in B.C., and a similar history of segregative treatment of farmworkers which militate against the ?expediency' claim. The essential argument of this thesis is as follows: i f a government perceives that a group i s experiencing discrimination as a result of i t s policies, and that this discrimination i s pernicious in its effects upon that group, and i f , furthermore, i t i s within the government's power to rectify the situation but i t does not, then that discrimination i s , to a l l intents and purposes, both intentional and purposive. To date, the present work i s the only academic enquiry into the emer-gence and progress of the Canadian Farmworkers Union. It will examine the progress of the Union from i t s inception in 1979/80 through a chronology of events, as well as through an analysis of the implications of actions, res-ponses and their motivations. It will deal with the issues, the particip* ants and the means employed in the pursuit of ends, as well as assess the gains and losses to the main protagonists. Finally, the thesis will provide some insight into the complex process by which an ethnic minority group per-ceives itself as a victim of discrimination and mobilizes in order to defend i t s interests. To this end, the thesis begins by setting up a theoretical framework within which information can be interpreted and which will, i t i s hoped, have some predictive value. Theoretical Propositions: A Paradigm of Conflict Theoretical frameworks are mischievous creatures. They invariably res-trict; they rarely liberate, although they can enlighten. Their function is to narrow discourse and "keep us from leaping the walls of our own imagin-h ation" . The theoretical model presented here i s of limited scope and app-licability. It i s designed to illuminate a dynamic process between certain types of antagonists, exemplified by the C.F.U. and the B.C. government. a. What Needs Doing - What Can Be Done? Because the Canadian Farmworkers Union is engaging in an adversarial struggle with the B.C. provincial government (as well as with farmers and - 6 -contractors), the conceptual paradigm utilized here is based on conflict theory. The notion of conflict implies a perception of incompatible views or interests between two or more parties. In the case of minority groups, i t refers to dissent, where the minority not only perceives itself as having different values and goals from the dominant group, but finds itself opposing those of the latter. For the purposes of this discussion, therefore, con-f l i c t will be defined as a situation where minority groups (or individual leaders) question the legitimacy of the system of distribution of rewards and enter a political battle against the dominant group. The term 'minority' as used here i s a qualitative rather than a quan-titative term. In other words, a minority group will have a range of char-acteristics, above and beyond its numerical strength (or weakness). Louis Wirth used the following definitions We may define a minority as a group of people who, because of their physical or cultural characteristics, are singled out for differential and unequal treat-ment, and who therefore regard themselves as objects of collective discrimination. The existence of a minority in a society implies the existence of a corr-esponding dominant group enjoying higher social status and greater privileges. Minority status carries with i t the exclusion from f u l l participation in the l i f e of the society. Though not necessarily an alien group, the minority is treated and regards itself as a people apart. 5 This definition of minority is based on both the minority and the dominant groups' perceptions of inter-group separateness and intra-group sameness. Yet i t i s possible for a group to be treated separately and unequally with-out engaging in conflict. The notion of conflict presupposes certain levels and types of aware-ness, which have been identified by Kriesberg as follows: For social conflicts to emerge, three major elements of awareness are needed. First, the groups or parties to the conflict must be conscious of themselves as collective entities, separate from each other. Second, -7-one or more groups must be dissatisfied with their pos-ition relative to another group. Finally, they must think that they can reduce their dissatisfaction by the other group acting or being different; that i s , they must have aims which involve the other group yielding what i t would not otherwise yield. 6 Even i f the dissatisfied group does not hold the dominant group directly responsible for i t s position, there must be at least a belief that the dom-inant group i s able to redistribute goods. As Kriesberg points out, "dis-satisfaction, discontent or a sense of grievance analytically entails people having less than they think they should have and conceivably could have" . The differences between what people have and think they should have are usually based not only on the absolute magnitude of deprivation, but also on a comparison of their position relative to other groups. But the 'goods' in question are not always material ones. In the case of minority ethnic groups who have been "singled out for differential and unequal treatment", the rewards sought are often intangible or 'symbolic' rewards, such as 'rights'. As Oberschall points outs Social conflict is seldom a simple mechanical reaction to grievances and frustrations experienced in pursuit and defence of material interests. Interests and dissatis-factions are experienced and interpreted by way of moral ideas about right and wrong, justice and injustice or conceptions of the social orders as they are expressed in ideals and highly regarded principles. The drive to change existing institutions, whether to reform or rev-olutionize them, is inspired by unrealized ideals. Mea-sured against the ideals that are enshrined in the sacred books, the constitutions and collective myths, reality falls short. The gap may be wide or narrow; i t s very existence will justify the effort to close i t in the name of legitimate, highly valued and respected principles. 8 The difference between this view of conflict and those approaches which stress only economic and material deprivation, lies in the possibilities of outcomes. The materialist view implies a zero-sum game, where the gains won by the minority would be precisely offset by the losses to the dominant group. Oberschall's view, on the contrary, allows for a variable-sum game, -8-because i t is possible that the non-material gains sought by the minority may not be perceived as significant losses by the dominant group. If this is the case, then the latter may be more willing to concede to the minority's demands. However, the dominant group may be more willing to grant material concessions than to encourage a sense of moral rectitude on the part of the dissatisfied group, which may ultimately foster higher ambitions. b. Strategies of Conflict - Creating and Sustaining Group Support Thus far, the discussion has implicitly assumed that the minority (in this case, the farmworking minority) sees itself as an aggrieved group and is ready to act en masse. However, this is seldom the case with ethnic min-orities. Often, even i f group members do feel dissatisfied, they are loathe to engage in political struggle for a number of reasons. First, they may be prepared to accept their lot as present conditions may be better than past experience; their expectations may be low; their present situation may only be temporary; or the income from the industry in question is only a supple-ment to their total family income, so i t is not a matter of survival. Second, they may feel intimidated by their employers, by the authorities, or by their fear of ending up in a worse position than before. Third, they may lack con-fidence in their power, individually or collectively, to effect changes in circumstances, especially i f they see no reason to expect privileged others to care about their dissatisfaction. The above constraints are some of the problems faced by emergent leaders of subordinated ethnic minority groups. Leaders, whatever their origins, must be skilled in a number of areas i f they are to create and sustain group support. First, would-be leaders must encourage a sense of common consciousness and purpose within their reference group. They must be able to identify and articulate the grievances of the group, in a way that members can recognize. Second, leaders must highlight discrepancies between actual conditions and the ideals of the group. This can be done by pointing to the superior con-ditions of other groups, a comparative distinction which will make the group's relative situation appear unjust. Third, the leaders must suggest that con-ditions should be changed, and furthermore, that they can be changed. This entails convincing group members that there is an identifiable 'enemy', or at least a responsible party, which i s capable of redistributing economic benefits and granting symbolic rewards. Fourth, leaders must convince group members they they have (or can attain) appropriate resources and power to effect change, and have as well a reasonable chance of 'winning'. Such prerequisites refer to the i n i t i a l stages of creating group con-sciousness and confidence before entering conflict. Once the battle has be-gun, however, these awarenesses must be kept vivid in the consciousness of the group, and supplemented by further strategies. If the group as a whole is demand-rich but resource-poor, i t may be nec-essary to appeal not only to members' desires for material benefits, but also to their sense of righteousness, the feeling that the struggle itself is in-trinsically valuable and rewarding. One effective way of appealing to this o sense is to create a "vile enemy" . As Shibutani and Kwan observe, concom-itant with the nurturing of group identity, groups will characteristically "impute vile motives to their opponents". A form of 'ethical dualism' evol-ves through contrasting images of oneself as against the 'enemy's Whatever the enemy does is interpreted in the least fav-ourable light...Everything that is condemned in one's own group is imputed to the enemy. He i s cruel, treacherous, sordid, perfidious, destructive. He i s a fiend who com-mits atrocities against women and children, the old and the blind. 10 Under such assumptions, anyone joining the struggle will be helping to combat evil. One of the remarkable ironies of conflict, as Shibutani and Kwan note, -10-i s that the conception of the enemy formed on one side i s almost a mirror image of the conception formed on the other. Finally, i f leaders are to sustain group support during the struggle, they must be seen to be making gains. Their goals, both strategic (long-run) and tactical (short-run), must at a l l times be 'realistic'. The succession of goals must always be related to group capacities, and they must allow the sense of grievance to grow, i f the movement is to sustain itselfs There i s a paradox here. In one sense the organization must succeed in meeting the demands of the supporters, but success obviates the basis for support of the organ-ization. Leaders, the opposition and fortuitous c i r -cumstances may or may not conjoin to yield a combination of distant goals and immediate achievements which sus-tain the emerging conflict organization. 12 c. Strategies of Conflict - Winning The idea of conflict often involves coercion. Opposing sides will att-empt to utilize their power (which i s taken here as the relative coercive strength of the conflicting parties) to induce desired behaviour. Assuming a resource-poor minority (such as farmworkers), efficacious strategies in conflict will not only act as means toward end goals, they can also yield more resources in the process. For example, by enlisting the support of the trade union movement, the group can win more supporters of 'the cause', as well as monetary assistance. A resource-poor minority can thus vary strat-egies with increasing resources and/or power. These strategies can be iden-tif i e d as (l) Persuasion; (2) Embarrassment; (3) Bargaining; and (4) Coercion. Persuasion i s an appropriate technique for influencing the adversary's behaviour where the dissatisfied group has limited human and material resour-ces. By appealing to the dominant group's sense of 'fair play' or unwilling-ness to be seen as a discriminator, the minority group hopes to persuade the dominant group that meeting i t s 'requests' would be in both parties' inter-ests . Persuasion therefore involves inducing the dominant group to want to -11-make appropriate concessions. Embarrassment is a technique used by relatively powerless minority groups, particularly i f persuasion has failed. It involves publicizing the issues in the hope of exposing inadequacies in the system as unjust, thereby enlisting the support of members of 'the public'. As democratic governments are founded upon consensus, public opinion can be used as a formidable weapon. To embarrass a government means to attack its public image by highlighting i t s unresponsiveness to 'justified' claims. Bargaining occurs when group leaders have enlisted enough support and accrued sufficient resources to present themselves as legitimate represent-atives of a group with legitimate grievances. This applies particularly to would-be trade unions, such as the C.F.U. Once formally recognized, the group becomes a partner to negotiations, rather than an extraneous pressure group. Finally, coercion is a strategy which may be utilized i f a l l else f a i l s . It depends, of course, on how much power the minority group leaders are able to wield. However, the use of coercive tactics normally invites similar tac-tics from the dominant group (government, in our case). The ethnic minority group will inevitably be dwarfed by the corporate power wielded by govern-ments, though some strategies, such as strikes and boycotts, can s t i l l be effective. d. Dominant Group Strategies - "Won't You Come Into My Parlour?" The ease under scrutiny here features the government as the object of the C.F.U.'s attention. Anderson and Frideres have outlined four major tech-niques by which dominant groups maintain political control over ethnic min-ority groups. They are (l) Insulation; (2) Sanctions; (3) Persuasion; and (4-) Co-optation . To these techniques, 'pre-emption*should be added. Like -12-the strategies subordinated groups may employ in conflict, the selection of strategies by a dominant group will depend on i t s power relative to that of the aggrieved group, as well as what i t can hope to 'get away with' in the public eye. Insulation refers to the process of keeping a minority from effectively participating in the political and economic l i f e of the society. In the past, such techniques have included disfranchisement and exclusion from certain forms of employment, from education, from public positions and even from re-siding in certain areas. Today, most of the more archaic forms of insulation have been removed from the statutes, though the reality may s t i l l be perpet-uated by other means. For example, until recently, some workers were prohib-ited from forming trade unions (farmworkers being a case in point). Insul-ation by legislative exclusion (which will be the subject of Chapter Two) can prevent (or at least delay) mobilization of ethnic minority groups by denying them the means of protest through ordinary channels. Sanctions refer to negative or positive rewards which can be meted out by the dominant group (government). They can take physical forms, such as confiscation of property, or abstract forms, such as recognition of a group's legitimacy. In the case of a relatively powerless minority group, like farm-workers, sanctions can make the costs of protest negate the expected benefits. Persuasion involves attempts to control the desire rather than the abil-ity to influence, unlike sanctions or insulation. Although as an approach i t closely parallels the minority's strategy, persuasion by the dominant group appeals to different emotions. Worries about the world economic re-cession may be played upon, for example, and the dominant group will try to convince the protesting group that they should sacrifice their own welfare for the greater good of "the national interest". The subordinate minority may be persuaded that its demands are excessive, or that the dominant group -13-i s taking care of i t s interests as far as i s possible. Co-optation is another strategy for maintaining control. It involves taking some influential members of the protesting group into the dominant group's power structure or established institutions. The technique relies upon the re-socialization of the co-opted leader and his/her adoption of the norms and values of the dominant group. Co-optation is designed to isolate leaders from their reference groups, and this "seriously jeopardizes their 14 ability to bring pressure against the dominant group". Finally, pre-emption refers to a situation where the government gives the appearance of playing out the conflict, but in fact, its responses are attempts to pre-empt further agitation/conflict. For example, the dominant party may grant 'concessions' which prove illusory - perhaps by setting up a committee to look into grievances, which includes minority participation, but whose recommendations have no 'teeth' (as is usually the case with Human Rights Commissions). In any case, to an undiscerning public, i t may look as i f the minority's grievances have been addressed and rectified, so that there i s no need for further public attention. If the minority keeps protesting, the government can claim to have reached an equitable 'compromise', and may accuse the minority of intransigence.^ The above strategies to maintain control by the dominant group will not necessarily be used in sequence. They parallel the strategies of minority groups in that they are dependent on perceptions of relative power, goals and calculations of the efficacy of each technique. But in conflict, each party will take cues from the responses of the other party. Kriesberg notes: Each party affects the way the other acts, not only as each responds to the other, but as each may anticipate the responses of the other. 15 Parties in conflict cannot blindly follow a predetermined set of strategies. They must monitor and respond to their opponent's actions, i f they are to succeed. -14-Flgure 1. A Model depicting the Action-Response Dynamic between Farmworkers and Government. Dominant Group -Government Ethnic Minority - Farmworkers -15-e. An Action-Response Model Figure 1 (page 14) i s a diagrammatic illustration of the action-response dynamic between the dominant group (government) and the subordinate minority (farmworkers, as represented by the CFU). The model assumes: (1) that the two parties engage in conflictual struggle only as a means of achieving goals, and therefore conflict is not pursued for its own sake; (2) that both parties value stability and will usually try to return to stable positions; (3) that the dominant society (as represented by government) experiences increasing levels of tolerance, racial enlightenment and valuation of ideals such as social justice and equal opportunity over time, and that therefore i t s willingness to accede to legitimate claims for fair treat-ment will grow over time; (4) that the minority (farmworkers) will become increasingly aware of its subordinate position relative to other groups, and that this awareness will be accompanied by rising dissatisfaction and aspirations, manifested in higher demands; (5) that i f the dominant society i s high on the liberalization scale, then most of the minority's sources of dissatisfaction will have been allev-iated already, so that outstanding grievances will be addressed by means other than conflict. 17 The model i s based on standard economic functions. Demand curves plot trade-offs between two variables. There can be infinite numbers of demand curves, so their actual representation on the diagram i s entirely arbitrary. However, the slope of the demand curves (d^ to dg on Figure l) from north-west to south-east implies that demands or claims decrease as the level of liberalization increases (because of the fi f t h assumption). The -16-vertical axis represents the increasing levels of tolerance on the part of the dominant group (as in the third assumption), using the generic term, "liberalization". The horizontal axis represents the rising dissatisfaction of farmworkers, which wil l be manifested by increased demands (as in the fourth assumption). Finally, the function, S, at a 45°angle from the origin, represents 'stability', which is here taken as the absence of protracted social strife and disruption. Point E shows that level of ethnic minority demands is in equilibrium with the prevailing level of liberalization of the dominant group. Here, there will be l i t t l e , i f any, conflict. However, as the minority's collec-tive self-image improves and its aspirations increase, i t may make higher demands than the dominant group i s willing to concede. Point G represents such a situation. The idea i s to induce a change in what the government is prepared to give. The minority i s cognisant of the fact that the government does not want protracted conflict, and so may try to hold out for its demands until the government gives in. The group does not pursue conflict for its own sake either, but i t has more motivation for continuing than the govern-ment, which faces pressure from many sources. A return to stability requires either a vertical or a horizontal move-ment by the protesting group. In order to reach an agreement whereby each party gains something and does not lose face (a 'good' in itself for the government, which is anxious to protect its positive public image), com-promise i s necessary. It may be to the farmworkers' benefit to demand more than they actually expect to win. In that way i t is possible to Induce a small change in the dominant group's willingness to concede. By demanding at G on d^ , a compromise will get the minority onto a higher demand curve (d^ at point F) than i t s original position, though this is not as high a curve as the projected one (d^ at point I). In other words, at the start of -17-the next round of bargaining, the minority begins from an elevated position, and i t can upgrade i t s demands accordingly. A degree of success will rein-force the followers' faith in their ability to change their circumstances. We have discussed earlier the requirement that goals/demands must be related to group capacities. They must also be realistic in terms of an ass-essment of what the prevailing level of liberalization of the dominant group will allow. Point X denotes a level of demands which far exceeds the requi-site level of liberalization. At this point one of three things could hap-pen. First, the group would ideally like to be at J . However, the dominant group will not yield to pressure. The group could therefore try to reach a compromise which will elevate its position to d^, d^ or dg. Second, i f this does not work, the dominant group might "crack-down" with sanctions, forcing the protesting group back to its original position, or in some cases, even to a lower position. Generally, the level of liberalization i s expected to increase over time, but i t s real progression may be in 'stop-go' cycles. There may even be times when i t actually declines. Third, the government could simply ignore the group's demands. If the group i s left to flounder around at X, i t risks losing support as i t may be seen to be achieving noth-ing. This is a similar position to that at which many left-wing groups find themselves, unable to achieve goals and unable to carry mass support. Of course, i t is possible to find a society at positions to the left of the function S . For example, at K, the dominant party i s willing to give much more than the minority is demanding. The anti-slavery issue in the United States after the C i v i l War was a good example of this, as the black exclaves were not themselves demanding their freedom. However, this s i t -uation is very much the exception after a minority has begun to compare its lot with other groups in the society. From the point of view of the minority, political ingenuity will lead -18-to choices of strategies which yield serviceable compromises on an increm-ental basis. The minority should not risk losing important skirmishes for lack of preparedness, as i t will risk losing the battle. It must also leave enough room for movement in response to the opponent's actions i f i t is to have the flexibility required by organizations in conflict. Chapter Outlines Chapter Two of this thesis concentrates on the 'insulation' technique utilized against East Indians by B.C. governments since the turn of the cen-tury. The chapter traces historical discrimination on the basis of race, which was enshrined in provincial legislation. It discusses how immigration policy varied with the needs of the economy, and how this policy, until very recently, blatantly expressed the racial prejudice and hatred which has been part of B.C.'s political history. Finally, Chapter Two links the historical discrimination against East Indians with historical discrimination against farmworkers. The chapter concludes that even i f the exclusion of farmworkers from protective labour legislation has been only a side-effect of 'expedient' policies, the neglect of farmworkers has nonetheless been intentional, and amounts to purposive discrimination. Chapter Three outlines the major grievances which form the basis of the C.F.U.'s campaign to modify legislation. The issues concern living and working conditions and pesticides. A fourth issue area concerns exclusion from compulsory coverage under schemes like Workers' Compensation. The chap-ter discusses the confusion as to which ministry i s responsible for various aspects of farmworklng conditions, and argues that this is part of the gen-eral disinterest in farmworkers which has rendered them a powerless and for-gotten minority. Chapter Four traces the development of the C.F.U. from its inception -19-i n 1979/80, concentrating on the individuals involved, how the organization was formed, which strategies were used (how, why, when and to what effect) and how the government and farmers have responded to them. The chapter pro-vides a chronology of events to date for those readers who are interested in the actual logistics of the development of the farmworkers' struggle. Chapter Five is speculative. It discusses some of the implications of the non-discrimination clauses of the 1981 Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, with respect to minorities such as farmworkers. Finally, there follows a brief discussion of the legal debate over discriminatory purpose versus disproportionate impact. This debate is intimately linked with the human rights question, because i t places the burden of proof upon the a l l -eged discriminator, as does human rights legislation. The question i s an important one for minorities, for the Charter implies that discrimination against particular groups must be justified according to criteria other than expediency, and could well change the kinds of treatment sanctioned by Can-adian law. Chapter Six is a tentative conclusion - tentative because the C.F.U. is s t i l l a fledgling union whose struggle is by no means over. The chapter will assess the arguments in the light of the 'facts' and determine their validity. It reconsiders the theoretical propositions and their usefulness and proposes some provisional solutions to some of the long- and short-term problems of survival currently facing the Canadian Farmworkers Union. -20-Footnotes 1. Information supplied by Raj Chouhan, President of the Canadian Farm-workers Union, in an interview held on September 1, 1982. 2. This figure represents an average of estimates reported by the CFU, the Labour Relations Board, the B.C. Federation of Agriculture and the Can-ada Farm Labour Pool at Abbotsford. "Farmworkers" as used here Includes full-time, part-time and seasonal workers who are employed in any aspect of farmwork, including machinery operators, hoers, weeders, planters and harvesters. It does not include family members of farm owners. It must be noted that the farmworking population i s a transient one. Thirteen thousand i s an average - some people drop out of farmwork after a year or so, while others begin i t . Many people only engage in farmwork periodically or sporadically and may have other occupations with which they primarily associate them-selves - for example,'housewives* or students. 3. Again, this figure is an average of estimates from the sources quoted above. 4. Ira Goldenberg, Oppression and Social Intervention. (Nelson-Hall Inc., Chicago, 1978), p . l . 5. Louis Wirth, "The Problem of Minority Groups", in Minaka Kurokawa, Minority Responses} Comparative Views of Reactions to Subordination. (Random House, New York, 1970), p.34. 6. L. Kriesberg, The Sociology of Social Conflicts. (Prentice-Hall, New Jersey, 1973)1 p . 6 l . 7. Ibid., p.67. 8. A. Oberschall, Social Conflict and Social Movements. (Prentice-Hall, New Jersey, 1973), P.I87. 9. R. Shibutani and K.M. Kwan, Social Stratification. (MacMillan Publishing, New York, 1965), P-385. 10. Ibid., p.386. See also, Arthur Gladstone, "The Conception of the Enemy", in Journal of Conflict Resolution. No. 3 (1959)« pp.132-137. 11. Shibutani and Kwan, op. ci t . , p.390. 12. Kriesberg, op. c i t . , p.83. For a good discussion of the functions of social conflict, see L. Coser, The Functions of Social Conflict. (Free Press, Glencoe, Illinois, 1956), and J. Himes, "The Functions of Racial Conflict", in Social Forces. 45 (1966): pp.1-10. Coser suggests that conflict (a) sets boundaries between groups by strengthening group consciousness; (b) permits the maintenance of relat-ionships under conditions of stress; (c) provides a kind of balancing mechanism in preventing deep cleavages along the social axis; and (d) allows for a testing of power strength of each group so that accomodation -21-between the groups is possible. Himes identifies four dimensions in which conflict can be viewed as functional from the perspective of the subordinate groups (l) structural; (2) communication; (3) solidarity; (4) identity. 13. A.B. Anderson and J.S. Frideres, Ethnicity in Canada - Theoretical  Perspectives. (Butterworth & Co., Vancouver, 1981), p.199. 14. Ibid., p.256. 15. Kriesberg, op. c i t . , p.20. 16. W.A. Gamson, Power and Discontent. (Dorsey Press, Illinois, 1968),pp.180-3. In The Strategy of Social Protest. (Dorsey Press, Illinois, 1975),p.29, Gamson constructs the following tables Acceptance (by dominant group) Many New 1 Full Response 2 Pre-emption Advantages None 3 Co-optation — _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 4 Collapse Boxes 1 & 4 are unambiguous successes or failures Boxes 2 & 3 are mixed outcomes "Co-optation" - acceptance without new advantages "Pre-emption" = new advantages without acceptance There are four indicators of "acceptance": 1. Consultation - invitation to participate in decision-making 2. Negotiations - acceptance of group as spokesmen 3. Formal recognition - explicit recognition of group as a representative 4. Inclusion - co-optation, giving group leaders status or authority in the antagonist's organizational structure (without cutting ethnic ties). 17. Any reader not familiar with standard economic principles might refer to any introductory economics text-book for in-depth explanations of the functions and meanings of demand curves, etc. -22-GHAPTER TWO HISTORICAL DISCRIMINATION AND ITS SUBTLE PERPETUATION This Chapter discusses the 'insulation' technique utilized historically by B.C. governments against East Indians, who form the majority of the prov-ince's farmworking population. It shows how both immigration and employment policies have effectively denied East Indians f u l l political and economic participation in society in the past. The chapter shows that farmworkers, who have traditionally been excluded from protective labour legislation, are s t i l l suffering discrimination. Finally, the chapter argues that because legislators have been, and are,aware of the ethnic composition of the farm labour force, legislative exclusion has been conscious, and the neglect of farmworkers amounts to purposive discrimination. Unsettled Settlements British Columbia's record concerning Asian immigration i s , at best, undistinguished. The year 1983 represents the eightieth year of East Indian presence in Canada, with the community numbering about 310,000 throughout the provinces.''' Although people of South Asian origin probably make up the most rapidly growing ethno-cultural group in Canada, they have never received the welcome with which other groups have been greeted. Immigration of "non-whites" to Canada has fluctuated with the vagaries and needs of the Canadian economy and with the 'tolerance' of white society - itself composed of a multiplicity of ethnic groups. Because they did not have free access to the realm of formal politics, employment or housing, and because their entry status was a subordinate one from the start, East Indians were effectively hampered in a l l aspects of Canadian l i f e . Without presuming to identify the origins of racism, one may be certain that the law has sanctioned public antipathy towards East Indians. -23-East Indians f i r s t arrived in Canada around 1898, though official rec-ords of entry only began in 1904. Sikh regiments had passed through Canada on their return from Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee and had later told their compatriots of Canada's richness and opportunities. Consequently, a small number trickled into B.C., so that by 1904, approximately one hundred East Indians were living in Vancouver. They were, almost without exception, single men who had come in order to make money, which they could send home to India, where they would some day return. Their f i r s t employment was centred around the saw-mills of Port Moody. Some moved to lumber camps and the r a i l -2 ways, while others moved on to farmwork. As most immigrants came with l i t t l e or no money in i t i a l l y , i t was not until the 1920's that some East 3 Indians became farm owners themselves. At f i r s t , the employment opportunities available to East Indian immig-rants were circumscribed by previous exclusionary policies against Oriental 4 labour. Chinese labour had been brought to B.C. during the Gold Rush of the 1850's to work on railroads and in mines (and later other low-status jobs), but burgeoning anti-Oriental sentiment soon resulted in a series of "head taxes" designed to 'choke o f f Chinese immigration. ^ The ensuing curtailment of Chinese labour meant that cannery owners, farmers and employers of domestic servants would be forced to hire white workers. Given that i t was common practice to pay non-white workers only two-thirds of the going rate that white workers could demand,^  and that white workers in general had recently won wage increases, employers were faced with higher labour costs. Claiming that these costs had tripled, they began to petition the government to re-open immigration. Thus, between 1906 and 1907, 4,700 East Indians were allowed to enter B.C. (along with 10,000 Jap-anese) , subject to the proviso that they should enter designated occupations, g namely, farming, canning and domestic service. -24-However, the labour shortage soon turned into a job shortage and by the end of 1907 there were 1,500 unemployed East Indians in B.C. Predictably, racist sentiments made an appearance once again. C.F. Gray, President of the Victoria Trades and Labour Council, said in 1907: The introduction of this class of cheap labour will be the means of excluding the very class of labour that is most essential for the progress and prosperity of the country - i.e. white workers, who, i f paid a fair living wage, could settle here, maintain homes and rear families and thoroughly f u l f i l l the duties of citizenship. 9 It i s interesting to note that here, 'class' refers to race. This 'class of cheap labour' was performing, for the most part, work which whites did not want to do, but the above argument was to be used again and again. The 'duties of citizenship', whatever they were, likewise assumed im-portance amongst racists. R.G. McPherson, Liberal M.P. for Vancouver, said in an anti-immigration meeting in 1906: A race of men who cannot appreciate our mode of l i f e , our mode of education, a l l that goes to make up Canadian citizenship, are not f i t immigrants of this country. 10 No explanation was ever offered as to why immigrants from other countries quite dissimilar to Canada were expected to adjust more readily and make a more valid contribution to society, save for the fact that they were white. In any case, the reaction to the Asian presence was hostile, and was enhanced by lurid accounts in the newspapers of the 'raging Asiatic menace' living in hot-beds of immorality and disease and endangering the lives and safety of white women and children. Closing the Floodgates On September 8th, 1907, an enormous and ugly riot took place in Van-couver's Chinatown, led by the Asiatic Exclusion League, and was only quell-12 ed by the resistance of the Japanese. With animosities s t i l l at fever pitch, i t became apparent to the government that what was needed was a con--25-certed, off i c i a l , 'catch-all' immigration policy, supplemented by restrictive legislation on a l l other fronts, to limit the participation and autonomy of Asians already in the province. A series of blatantly discriminatory laws 13 was passed over the next few years. Although Mackenzie King, Deputy Minister of Labour, admitted in his special report on the 190? riot that " i t was virtual exclusion we would like 14 to have" , two constraints militated against the fulfillment of these wishes. The primary constraint was a warning by the British Imperial Govern-ment, which feared that a f u l l ban on East Indian immigration to Canada would inflame the growing Independence movement in I n d i a . T h e second constraint was the difficulty of overturning previous immigration laws which were design-ed to attract European immigrants, but which had aot included provisions for prohibiting non-white immigrants. The passage of P.C. 27 on June 8th, 1908, was the response of the Can-adian government to the constraint imposed by the British government. This Order in Council forbade entry to Asians unless they had come by continuous journey on a through ticket."^ It was passed in the knowledge that there was only one steamship company offering through trips from India. Unofficially, Mackenzie King ordered the Canadian Pacific Railway company to stop selling through tickets to Indians. In addition, for any Asian who managed to reach Canada, the Federal Government stipulated that "Asiatics" must possess at least $200 before they would be admitted to Canada.1^ The effect of these policies was that only 125 East Indians entered Canada between 1907 and 1912. Altogether, from 1904 to 1914, 5,300 East Indians were admitted, out of an 18 immigration inflow of two and a half million. Three challenges were mounted to the restrictive policies. The f i r s t was the arrival of the Monteagle ship in 1908, which carried a few East Indians. They were allowed to land after the "continuous journey" Order was -26-ruled invalid by the B.C. Supreme Court. The second challenge came in 1913 when the 'Panama Maru' arrived with 36 passengers. Again, the "continuous journey" and "$200 in hand" requirements were declared ultra vires for exceed-ing the powers authorized by the Immigration Act, and again, the Indians were admitted to B.C. The third and most notorious challenge came from the 376 passengers of the *Komagata Maru' in 1914. However, this time the court up-19 held the discriminatory provisions. Channelling 20 For the "strangers within our gates" (ito coin Woodsworth's term ) a l -ready resident in B.C., the provincial government concocted a number of dis-criminatory acts and regulations designed to bar Asians from certain economic and political privileges. The primary means of so doing was to exclude them 21 from voting eligibility. "Hindus", together with Chinese and Japanese, 22 were excluded from the provincial voters' l i s t in 1907, while the Municipal Elections Act barred a l l "Chinese, Japanese or other Asiatics" from the mun-23 icipal voters' l i s t s . J Because they were not eligible for local voting rights, Asians were thereby excluded from the federal franchise also. They could not be elected to the provincial legislature, or be nominated for mun-24 icipal office or as school trustees, or be called upon to do jury service. Disfranchisement was a powerful weapon indeed, particularly as i t afforded a good excuse not to grant naturalization to any Asian. Angus noted in 1937 that few certificates had been granted to Orientals since 1923, on account of "the silent but effective discrimination which is made possible by a dis-25 cretionary power...". ^  Apart from their exclusion from the franchise, Asians were also prohib-ited from certain occupations because non-voters were not eligible to hold 26 hand-loggers licences for cutting timber on Crown lands , or become lawyers -27-27 or pharmacists. In addition, the standard contract of the Department of 28 Public Works required private employers not to hire Asians. Furthermore, as the B.G. Human Rights Commission Report notes, the Liquor Control Act of 1936 prevented Asians from obtaining beer licences, and the Trade Licences 2C Board Act of 1928 limited the number of business licences granted to Asians. ' Several court cases were fought during this period over the exclusions. However, in the absence of a clear and articulated B i l l of Rights or Human Rights Code, the justices often 'opted out' by declaring, as in the Cunning-ham v. Tomey Homma case, that "the policy or imploicy of such an enactment as that which excludes a particular race from the franchise is not a topic 30 upon which their Lordships are entitled to consider". Finally, in 1925, the Minimum Wage Act was passed. It would be mistaken to presume that this law was motivated by any benevolent, altruistic concern for the redress of wrongs against Asians. On the contrary, as Ward notes, i t was publicly understood that the act was intended to reduce Asian employ-31 ment. The logic was as follows* i f employers were forced to pay a minimum wage, they would, by their 'natural' preference, hire white workers and drop their Asian labour. On the other hand, the guarantee of a minimum wage would encourage white workers to perform the labour currently done by Orientals. This would ensure that these "less desirable" workers, that i s , Chinese, Jap-anese and East Indians, would be channelled out of well-paying jobs and herded into the only areas of employment not covered by the Act - namely, canning, farming and domestic work. Asians were to be systematically and ruthlessly denied the rights and privileges accorded other immigrants by whatever means provincial and federal governments could find. It seemed that they would be able to maintain a "white Canada forever" as long as popular prejudice prevailed. -28-A Change in Climate It was not until after World War II that racial discrimination in the many areas of legislation against Asians began to change. Whether this was due to the lessons of Nazi genocide, a belated awareness that there were sim-ply not enough Asians in Canada to make them a real threat, an upturn in the post-war economy which made cheap labour once again desirable, or a re-app-raisal of the values of equality and justice, is a matter for debate. What-ever the reasons, in 19^7 the Provincial Elections Act regulations were drop-32 ped, and in 19^9 the Municipal Elections Act exclusions were also repealed. In 19^7, Mackenzie King, now Prime Minister, had ruled out "any fund-33 amental alteration in the character of our population", and in keeping with this desire, P.C. 2743 (June,1949) allowed British subjects who met Immigra-tion Act requirements to be landed, "provided that the provisions herein 34 above provided shall not apply to immigrants of any Asiatic race". But in 1951. when i t was becoming apparent that the economy was at the beginning of a major boom, a mini-liberalization took place in immigration policy. An agreement was reached with India, Pakistan and Ceylon, establishing that a quota of 150 Indians, 100 Pakistanis and 50 Ceylonese would be admitted to 35 Canada yearly. J However, this quota was seldom f i l l e d because, although there was no shortage of applicants, bureaucratic processing took an inord-inately long time, there being only one office in India (a country over half the size of the United States, with a population greater than Western Europe and North America combined). In 1962, a "colour-blind" immigration policy was introduced, which, how-ever, singled out Asians once again, by restricting the range and number of relatives they could s p o n s o r i n 1967, new regulations established the present "points system", under which potential immigrants are allotted points for education, training, language skills and family connections. It was -29-under the family re-unification provisions that most East Indian immigrants came to Canada, sponsored by relatives here. Ninety per cent of East Indians in Canada as of 1975 had arrived since 1968, and by 1977, East Indians had 37 become nine per cent of the total immigration flow into Canada. But although these acts were increasingly more 'liberal', there was s t i l l scope for discrimination. For example, Tom Mclnnes, drafter of the 1910 Federal Immigration Act, wrote in 1927s ..in a certain section I thought i t expedient to name Chinese and Japanese, and also Jews, Greeks, Armenians, and those of the undesirable ri f f r a f f on the Levant and the Near East who will never work with their hands on land in Canada while there are Canadian cities in which to exercise their cunning, I was not allowed to name even the name [sic] of any of,them in the Act. But I got around i t with a section empowering the Governor in Council by proclamation or order to "prohibit, or limit in any number for a stated period, or permanently, the landing in Canada of immigrants belonging to any nation-ality or race, or of immigrants of any specified class or occupation, which by reason of any economic, indus-t r i a l or other condition temporarily existing in Canada, may be deemed unsuitable, having regard to the climatic, industrial, social, labour or other conditions or req-uirements of Canada; or because such immigrants are deemed undesirable owing to their peculiar customs, habits, modes of l i f e and methods of holding property, and because of their probable inability to become read-i l y assimilated, or to assume the duties and responsib-i l i t i e s of Canadian citizenship within a reasonable time after their entry".......There is enough dynamite in that one subsection to keep any undesirable race or class out of Canada, by naming i t , whenever the govern-ment at Ottawa has the wish and courage to do so. 38 The passage in the 1910 Act quoted by Mclnnes is precisely the wording of Section 57 of the Immigration Act which was s t i l l on the statute books until 1978, and of which the legal scholar, W.S. Tarnopolsky wrote: ....the possibility of reintroducing a discriminatory immigration policy continues to exist, and the very presence of this provision in the regulation-making power helps to fortify the arguments of those who claim that despite the public announcements of Min-isters of Immigration, discrimination continues in the treatment of potential immigrants. 39 -30-Finally, in 1978, the Federal Government introduced a new Immigration  Act, which was less overtly colour-conscious than any of the previous acts. The emphasis now in selection criteria is on family re-unification, concern for refugees, the promotion of Canada's economic, social, demographic and cultural goals, and non-discrimination. However, i t remains to be seen whe-ther this policy will have a significant impact on discrimination in admitt-ance policies. But Surely That Sort of Thing i s in The Past? With an overwhelming history of often unabashed, sometimes subtle leg-islative discrimination apparently relegated to distant memory, i t is temp-ting to think that ethnic minorities in Canada are finally free of the nettle of discrimination. It is true that B.C. is institutionally and legally more liberalized than ever before, but the following three reports suggest that 40 racial discrimination is thriving in B.C. Fraser Valley College set up an inquiring body, which reported in February, 1982. Its purpose was to dis-cover how widespread was the incidence of racism and to what extent i t was manifested as discrimination. It concluded thats ...although quantification was impossible, prejudice appears to be a common ingredient in the attitudes of many of the community. These attitudes have encour-aged a process of stereotyping which helps to provide a rationale for discrimination and thence to a ci r -cular reinforcement of the prejudiced attitudes upon which the stereotypes are based. 41 Furthermore, the B.C. Human Rights Commission Report of February, 1983 argued that: ..we are, at best, unwilling perpetrators of a modern 'sanitised', 'no-name' brand of discrimination. 42 Finally, Matsqui-Abbotsford Community Services prepared a report to the Secretary of State in 1982, which also found widespread racism in the Fraser Valley of B.C., and which made a series of recommendations concerning the -31-Churches, the Police, schools and a l l three levels of government. The report concludes: Racism is like a strand in a braided rope. Remove one part of the rope, and the whole is weakened, but i t does not disappear. Combine racism with greed, oppor-tunism, fear and violence, and one finds a rope of injustice which has become strong indeed. Add to that neglect, benign or otherwise, and the noose of opp-ression holds the disadvantaged in a position from which there is no escape. 43 "Neglect" appears to be the principle behind the more recent forms of legislative discrimination against farmworkers in British Columbia. Since Hansard (B.C. Legislative Assembly Debates) began in 1971, the question of inequitable farmworking conditions has been raised by several M.L.A.s, though no legislative action was taken until 1980. For example, Mrs. P. Jordan (Social Credit, North Okanagan) expressed concern in the Legislature in 1972 that: ...there have been no provisions to assure, by the programmes of the government, that these people [farmworkers] come under the basic minimum wage. We see no assurance that the agricultural [labourers] will in fact receive a fair return for their pro-duce. 44 In 1973, Ms. Rosemary Brown (New Democratic Party, Vancouver-Burrard) cr i t -icised the Minimum Wage Act on the grounds that':' . . . i t was not extended to cover a very large group of people who work on farms...In my travels around the province with the Select Standing Committee on Social Welfare and Education, we were continually made aware of the hardship that is caused..because they [farmworkers] were not covered by this legis-lation, were offered less than the minimum wage and so were unable to demand at least the minimum wage, because they were not covered by the Act. 45 During the 1975 debates over B.C.'s new Labour Code. Mr. D.A. Anderson (Liberal), had urged the government to include farmworkers in the Code: It's high time that agricultural workers were treated like other workers..[because contractors] are exploit-ing very very badly certainly a number of people who are forced to work through the contract system. 46 -32-The government meanwhile, did extend the right to unionize to farmworkers, although this was not seen as an immediate possibility. Mr. Steves (Social Credit) noteds Actually, as far as the organization of farmworkers is concernedi..to organize a union takes time. I don't see any on the horizon at the present time so I don't think anybody really has to worry about i t for a while until this happens. 47 On April 10th, 1975, the Select Standing Committee on Labour and Justice, which had been commissioned to investigate conditions in the B.C. farmworking community, submitted it s report to the B.C. Legislature. Chaired by M.L.A. Colin Gabelmann, the Committee had conducted province-wide hearings, accepted many briefs and travelled extensively in order to make an assessment of the situation. The Committee noted that farmworkers were excluded without just-ification from nine major acts. These were: the Annual and General Holidays  Act; the Control of the Employment of Children Act; the Hours of Work Act; the Employment Agencies Act; the Factories Act; the Maternity Protection Act; the Payment of Wages Act; the Truck Act; and the Minimum Wage Act. The Comm-ittee could see no reason why the protection afforded other workers with respect to payment of wages, maternity benefits, licencing of contractors, the Factories Act, the Truck Act and employment of children, could not and should not be immediately extended to farmworkers. As far as the piece-rate system was concerned (see Chapter Three), in favour of which the B.C. Feder-48 ation of Agriculture had strenuously argued, the Committee saw "no objec-tion to the maintenance of piece-rates as an incentive system above and be-yond the minimum standard which should be guaranteed to a l l workers". The Committee also recommended extension of coverage of the Workers' Compensation  Act to farmworkers. Gabelmann stated that there was "no justification for exploitation", and noted that B.C. (and most of Canada) is at variance with International Labour Organization conventions, not to mention with B.C.'s and Canada's own Human Rights Codes."'7 As well as evidence that the Legislature (and therefore the government) was aware of the farmwork issue since (at least) the early 1970's, there is also evidence that legislators were, and are, aware of the ethnic composition of the labour force. Karen Sanford (N.D.P., Comox), stated in the Legisla-ture in 1979 that farmworkers were being exploited in B .C., and that the f a i l -ure to include them under W.C.B. regulations amounted to an "ethnic slur"."^ During the second reading of the Employment Standards B i l l . Sanford noted that: ...very often these farm labourers do not speak English. Most of them are East Indians, and most of them are being exploited by the way the present system operates....1 think the Minister [of Labour] i s aware of i t . I think the Minister has had preliminary reports. I think that he has enough information at this stage to take some action which would alleviate the exploitation currently taking place. 51 The Employment Standards Act of 1980 represented the Social Credit Gov-ernment's response to pressure from members of the Legislature, as well as from the Canadian Farmworkers Union. It was intended to 'clean up' the nine previous acts which had been cited by the 1975 Committee as discriminating without justification against farmworkers. For the f i r s t time, the Act pro-vided coverage for maternity protection, payment of wages and juvenile emp-loyment. It also required, for the f i r s t time, that farm labour contractors 52 should be licenced, and in some cases bonded. However, Colin Gabelmann, after congratulating the government on being only "five years behind the times", criticised the Act in the Legislature, on the grounds that i t s t i l l leaves significant 'loopholes': ..The Minister [of Labour] has hailed this legislation as a breakthrough for farmworkers and domestics because i t now covers them. That's not true, Mr. Speaker. The Min-ister, through Order-in-Council, can have the Cabinet exempt..farmworkers..should he choose. There are no lim-itations, no rules; nor is i t even implied that they will be developed in the Regulations. That i s i f , in fact, the regulations proceed to cover these people... Judging by the comments that float around these buildings and... -34-in this province, even i f the Minister is in favour of making sure that farmworkers and domestics are fully covered, he will lose that fight in Cabinet... 53 The 1981 Regulations appear to prove Gabelmann fight. Section 3 (4) of the Regulations specifies minimum piece-rates for a range of fourteen crops, but denies the minimum hourly rates to "farmworkers who are employed on a 54 1 piece-work basis to hand-harvest...vegetables or berry crops". Section 4, respecting general holidays, likewise does not apply to "an employee employed sin 56 55 primarily to harvest fruit and berry crops", ^ while Section 9 similarly ex-empts farmworkers from set hours of work and overtime payments. Whatever the expediency of these exemptions is deemed to be, the govern-ment claims to have redressed the balance with the Employment Standards Act and the 1981 amendments to the Workers' Compensation Act. In March 1982, the Workers' Compensation Board's Chairman, Art Gibbons, announced that coverage would apply to farmworkers from April 1983* Farm employers would be required 57 to register with the Board and pay assessments of 3# per $100 of payroll. They would also, for the f i r s t time, be obliged to comply with health and 58 safety regulations. However, in March 1983, just one month before the reg-ulations were to become operative, and coincidentally, two weeks before the Premier called an election, the Minister announced that the plans were to be scrapped. Instead, a farm safety agency is to be set up to promote and im-prove health and safety through education programmes aimed at farmers and workers. This leaves the farmworkers to "once again depend on the goodwill 59 of the farmers", which has not proved reliable in the past. Given that the government offered no explanation for this reversal, i t is difficult to ascertain why the f i r s t scheme was at one point judged to be feasible, and then suddenly was rescinded. One explanation would be that the original modifications were introduced in order to pacify the pressure groups opposed to government policy, and then, with an election planned for May 1983, -35-the reversal was designed to woo the farm vote. This was the explanation offered by the N.D.P. Agriculture Critic, Barbara Wallace, who charged that the decision was a timely ploy in the electioneering campaign of the Social Credit government: In their haste to buy the farm vote, Socred Ministers have granted a farm safety agency in lieu of regul-ations, with utter disregard for the consequences to both farm labourers and farmers. 60 Summary British Columbia is essentially a white society which, historically, has wanted to benefit economically from cheap non-white labour, without want-ing to live side-by-siide :wi,th,or include in its social order, those individ-uals who provide that labour. This attitude resulted in a wide range of eff-orts to insulate the non-white population, by limiting their numbers, their citizenship, the jobs they could hold and their political voice. As the tol-erance of the white majority increased over time, various control measures were relaxed. Yet, in relation to at least one section of the immigrant labour force, namely the farmworkers, governments acquiesce in the persis-tence of inequitable and deplorable working (and living) conditions, which could be rectified by legislation. The continued exclusion of farmworkers from labour legislation can be seen as a matter of political expediency. Farmers represent a sizeable vot-ing bloc, (both in the predominance of rural ridings and in their traditional conservative party allegiance) and a significant lobbying force (being major suppliers of food and export goods). Their representative organization, the B.C. Federation of Agriculture, has expressed an interest in the continued exclusion of farmworkers from minimum wage legislation. ^ On the other 62 hand, the farmworkers, only recently permitted by law to unionize (in 1973) f -36-often isolated by language, culture and working hours, and scattered through-out numerous ridings, do not have the numbers, organization or the 'political clout' of the B,C. Federation of Agriculture. Although this power imbalance could, as mentioned above, explain govern-ment decisions regarding farmworkers, the following factors show that B.C. governments have been aware of the situation, but have nonetheless been will-ing to perpetuate discrimination: 1. The living conditions of farmworkers are so bad as to be shocking to the public and to the members of various government investigatory committees. 2. .Their working conditions are poor enough to be identified as "exploitative" by several M.L.A.s. 3. Farmworkers have been consistently singled out and specifically excluded in B.C.'s labour legislation, to date. 4. Recent B.C. governments, by the commissioning of several investigatory studies, have demonstrated an awareness of the quality of conditions in farmwork. 5. The committee members of these committees have declared that f u l l coverage of farmworkers under the law i s both justified and feasible. 6. Recent labour legislation, to date, has withheld f u l l coverage of farm-workers, despite the findings, recommendations and feasibility studies of their committees. 7. New legislation has demonstrated a recognition of the legitimacy of farm-workers' grievances, and an acceptance of governmental responsibility for the improvement of farmworking conditions through the law. 8. This new legislation took ten years to enact, from the fi r s t available records of governmental cognizance of farmworking conditions, and six years after the reports of the Standing Committee on Labour and Justice. 9. A l l of the recent legislation regarding farmworkers contains various escape -37-clauses, which effectively preclude any assurance of the maintenance of protection for farmworkers. As can be seen, in view of their mandate to represent a l l sectors of the population, ensure fair treatment of a l l individuals and uphold basic human rights insofar as i t is within their power, the government of B.C. has been notably remiss regarding the farmworkers. Regardless of the ethnic com-position of this labour force, the limited willingness of the government to rectify their situation, once i t had been made known, would demand an explan-ation. Given the fact that farmworkers are predominantly East Indian in the Fraser Valley, and are being so deliberately disadvantaged, the fact of ethnicity as a causal element in this persistent discrimination cannot be denied. -38-Footnotes 1. Norm Buchignani, "Research on South Asians in Canada: Retrospect and Prospect", (Department of Anthropology, University of Alberta, unpub-lished, 1983), P.l. 2. Rajani Kanta Das, "Hindustani Workers on the Pacific Coast", (Walter de Gruyter, Berlin, 1923), pp.23-27. 3. R.A. Button, "Sikh Settlement in the Lower Mainland of B.C.", (B.A. essay, Geography Department, University of British Columbia, 1964), p.6. 4. See Peter Ward, White Canada Forever. (mcGill, Queens' University Press, 1978), passim. 5. Gerard Mare,"Political Adaptation and Change in the Vancouver Sikh and the Vancouver Chinese Communities: A Comparative Perspective", (Honours Essay, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, 1979), p.12. 6. Norm Buchignani, "The Political Organization of South Asians in Canada: 1904-1920", in J. Dahlie and T. Fernando, Ethnicity. Power and Politics  in Canada. (Methuen, Toronto, 198l), p . l . 7. Ward, op. c i t . , p.79« 8. Calvin Sandborn, "The History of Legislative Discrimination Against East Indians in B.C.", (unpublished, Spring 1980), p.3. 9. Quoted in Ward, op. c i t . , p.83. 10. The World. Oct. 19th, 1906. 11. Ward, op. c i t . , p.142. 12. See Ward, Chapter 6, for more details. 13. See Sandborn, op. c i t . , for a l i s t of a l l the discriminatory laws of the period. 14. Quoted by Sandborn, op. ci t . , p.5« '15. Buchignani's "Political Organization of South Asians in Canada" (cf. foot-note #6 above) for a very good discussion of the revolutionary Ghadr Party tradition in B.C., and other East Indian political responses/organizations in Canada. 16. Sandborn, op. c i t . , p.6. The Superintendent of Immigration had made i t clear that the order was only intended against "really undesirable immi-grants" . 17. Sandborn, op. c i t . , p.7. 18. Ward, op. c i t . , p.78. -39-19. See Sandborn, op. c i t . , pp.8-16 for much greater detail. 20. J.S. Woodsworth, Strangers Within Our Gates.(University of Toronto Press, 1972). 21. "Hindus" were defined as "any native of India not born of Anglo-Saxon parents'. Apart from the fact that a l l immigrants to Canada from India were Punjabi Sikhs, this definition meant that any person born in India of Italian, Dutch, Turkish,Russian or any other parents was automatic-ally a "Hindu". 22. The Provincial Elections Act. S.B.C.. 1907,ch.l6, s.2-3. 23. The Municipal Elections Act. S.B.C., 1908, ch.14, s.13. 24. R.S.B.C. 1924, ch.45, s.27{ R.S.B.C.1924, ch.75, s.42: R.S ,B.C .1926,chi 179, s.37; R.S.B.C. 1924, ch.123, s.4. 25. H.F. Angus, "The Legal Status in B.C. of Residents of Oriental Races and Their Descendants", in The Legal Status of Aliens in Pacific Countries, edited by N.A.M. McKenzie, (Oxford University Press, London, 1937),p.86. 26. Ibid., p.82. 27. Ibid., p.83. 28. Ibid., p.82. 29. Ibid., p.84. 30. W. Tarnopolsky. "The Control of Racial Discrimination in Canada", in Freedom. (1979), pp293-294. 31. Ward, op. c i t . , p.137. 32. Sandborn, pp."cit., p.21. 33* Quoted by John Wood, "East Indians and Canada's New Immigration Policy", in Canadian Public Policy. Autumn, 1978, p.550. 34. Quoted by Sandborn, op. c i t . , p.24. 35. Ibid., p.24. 36. Freda Hawkins, Immigration and the Rise-of Multiculturallsm. (Copp Clark Publishing, Toronto, 1975), P-72. 37. Buchignani, "Research on South Asians in Canada", (cf. footnote #l),p.94. 38. Tom Mclnnes, The Oriental Occupation of B.C.. (Sun Publishing, Vancouver, 1927), P.122. 39. W.S. Tarnopolsky. The Canadian B i l l of Rights. (McClelland and Stewart Ltd., Toronto, 1975), p.294. -40-40. 'Racism', as used here, refers to a negative pre-judgement of individuals on the basis of race. 'Discrimination' is the manifestation of this usu-ally unfounded predisposition. Personal discrimination refers to acts taken by individuals and can range from 'name-calling' to refusing to em-ploy persons of the group which is the object of racially-based hatred. Institutional discrimination refers to practices which are sanctioned by and are integral parts of institutional arrangements. Examples would be discriminatory wage structures, hiring and firing practices, or any built-in mechanism in the various social, cultural, economic and political ins-titutions of a society. Legislative discrimination is that enshrined in the law, by which some groups are singled out for unfair and unequal treat-ment, and are exempted from the enjoyment of the same rights and p r i v i l -eges as other.members of a society. 41. Colin Rldgewell et. a l . , "Report of the Task Force on Racism in the Fraser Valley", (Fraser Valley College, February, 1983), P«59« 42. "What This Country Did To Us It Did To Itself", A Report of the B.C. Human Rights Commission, February, 1983, P«15« 43. Walter Bergen, "final Report to the Secretary of States Racism Awareness Project", (unpublished paper, sponsored by Matsqui-Abbotsford Community Services, 1982), p.40. 44. B.C. Legislative Assembly Debates. October 23, 1972s 1568. 45. B.C. legislative Assembly Debates. 3rd Session, 1973« 126. 46. B.C. Legislative Assembly Debates. 5th Session, 1975s 3977. 47. B.C. Legislative Assembly Debates. 5th Session, 1975s 4037. 48. In fact, the B.C. Federation of Agriculture has considerable power and influence over pertinent legislation. For example, the Honourable Mr. Stupich said in the Assembly in 1973; "...there was some disagreement within the Federation itself as to whether they wanted the regulation that says the min-imum wage legislation does not apply to agriculture! whether or not they wanted that taken out. The current thinking is that they're a bit reluctant to have i t removed", (p.928). 49. B.C. Legislative Assembly Debates. Feb.-June, 1975$ 1225-30. 50. B.C. Legislative Assembly Debates. 1979, Q.343: 934-935* 51. Ibid. 52. The Employment Standards Act. Part 9, Sections 60-70. 53. B.C. Legislative Assembly Debates. 2nd Session, 1980s4026. 54. Employment Standards Act Regulations. Section 3(4). 55. Employment Standards Act Regulations. Section 4. -41-56. Employment Standards Act Regulations. Section 9« 57. It had previously been 6%, when the scheme was operated on the basis of voluntary 'opting in'. However, as the government has now chosen to rescind the planned decrease to 3% and participation will remain voluntary, most farmers will continue to be discouraged from opting in to the Workers' Compensation scheme by the high costs of participation. 58. Health and safety regulations have not been rigorously articulated for application to farms and i t seems unlikely that the proposed farm safety agency will be given any power to enforce i t s guidelines. 59« Raj Chouhan, from a speech delivered at a fund-raising benefit at the University of British Columbia on April 9th, 1983. 60. Quoted in the Vancouver Sun. March 14th, 1983. 61. See footnote #48. 62. The right of farmworkers to unionize was granted by the 1973 Labour Code, which, incidentally, was passed by the only New Democratic Party govern-ment British Columbia has ever had. -42-CHAPTER THREE  POVERTY IN THE VALLEY OF PLENTY The .previous chapter concentrated on the historical discrimination lev-elled against both farmworkers and East Indians in general. It was suggested that although i t could not categorically be proven that the farmworkers' ex-clusion from certain protective legislation was motivated by racism, the la-tter is certainly a contributory factor. Neglect, benign or otherwise, was posited as the principle behind recent provincial governments' treatment of farmworkers, while i t was further argued that such 'neglect' amounts to tacit consent to discrimination. However, such an inference implies that there is a specific, coherent and concerted policy regarding farmworkers, as there has been in the past to-wards East Indians. It is doubtful that this is the case today. Policy to-wards farmworkers can best be described as uncoordinated. There are several ministries which have jurisdiction over farmworkers, including those of Lab-our, Health, Agriculture, Transport, Housing and Human Resources. In some cases i t is not clear which ministry is accountable for what policies, and as a result, the ascription of responsibility is difficult. The purpose of this chapter is to identify and discuss the major issues, or more accurately, the grievances of B.C. farmworkers, which form the basis of the Canadian Farmworkers Union's platform. It is argued that the inequit-able conditions prevalent in agricultural employment are exacerbated by the apparent unwillingness of the Social Credit government to synchronize inter-ministerial policies and delineate clear areas of jurisdiction. Such unclar-ity can be said to demonstrate, in varying degrees, ignorance, disinterest and low prioritization of the farmwork issue. Although there have been some changes in the four years since the begin-ning of farmworker organization, i t is useful to present the situation as i t - 4 3 -existed prior to 1979, in order to appreciate fully the grievances of the province's farm labourers. It must be added that many of the conditions des-cribed here s t i l l prevail today. The Imbalance of Power It has already been pointed out that British Columbia's seasonal farm labourers are drawn from various ethnic minorities. More specifically, in the Fraser Valley, about ninety per cent are of East Indian origin. Of these some sixty-five per cent are women. Apart from the relative subordination of the East Indian minority as against the dominant white society, these women are rendered even more powerless by the system of economic, social and cultural relations practised in the Valley. There are an estimated one hundred and f i f t y East Indian growers in the Fraser Valley, the majority of whom produce fruit, berries and cole crops.^" Likewise, of the thirty-five or so contractors, only two are Chinese, the re-mainder being of East Indian origin. This commonality of language and cult-ural heritage acts at once to provide both a relatively isolated working en-vironment and a major tool of exploitation. Women in employment have traditionally been exploited, regardless of ethnicity, and East Indian women farmworkers are by no means exempt from the tendency. Their access to information regarding rights and obligations is often severely limited: f i r s t , because of their isolation on farms during the harvesting season (where many live for four or five months a year); second, beause of the lack of information from Employment and Immigration, which is not available in their f i r s t languages; and third, because the farmers act, not only as 'protectors' (from other men'.), but as interpreters and filterers of information pertaining to matters such as employment, housing, payment of wages and U.1.C. contributions. This situation gives East Indian farmers and -44-contractors significant control over the workers as they can regulate the degree and type of contact with the 'outside world*. This regulation often extends to driving the farmworkers into town on Sundays to shop in stores where the farmer or contractor has a 'deal' with the proprietor for a percen-tage of the profits. In addition, the traditional subjugation of women to men within Indian society acts to reinforce the inequitable power relationship. The more pat-ernalistic structure of working relations practised by East Indians is a for-midable tool of exploitation which may be denied to white farmers, who have a different tradition of employer-employee interaction. This suggestion is not to imply that East Indians are somehow more exploitative, or more ruth-less in their exploitation than white farmers (assuming the relationship is such) . The point is simply that i t is reasonable to expect commonality of language and a set of shared cultural traditions to render control of the workforce more practicable. This expectation is certainly confirmed by the relatively greater success the C.F.U. has had in organizing white-owned farms, which lack the rather pervasive customs of East Indian modes of control. The Grievances - Living Conditions There are two major areas of discontent as far as farmworkers are con-cerned. The f i r s t is living conditions, the second, working conditions. Straddling the two is the issue of pesticides and their abuse. Pesticides affect workers both at work and in their living quarters (for those who live on the farms during the season), and many workers have reported being sprayed in the fields and in the vicinity of the cabins, though more will be said of this later. Farmwork i s seasonal. During the peak of the season, some eight thou-sand people come to harvest the twenty-six thousand acres of berry fields in -45-the Fraser Valley. About half of these workers come from as far as Prince George, Williams Lake, Campbell River, Nanaimo, Port Alberni and Vancouver Island. These migratory workers must live on the farms for the duration of the harvesting season. Living quarters usually consist of converted barn-stalls and dilapidated outbuildings. Take, for example, the case of a sixty-seven year old farmworker, Pritan Clair, as reported in the Vancouver Sun: She and her seventy-two year old husband, Sadhu, live in a twelve by sixteen foot, unpainted, unventilated room, the roof of which slopes from a low of three and a half, to a high of seven feet. It is l i t by a single naked light-bulb and furnished with two iron-frame beds and a single table. The farmer who owns the converted chicken-coop housing the Clairs and thirty-eight other pickers (and which contains only two toilets, one sink and no shower) holds back part of their piece-meal wage as "rent" equivalent- in the case of the Clairs, with both picking ten to twelve hours a day, seven days a week, comes to over $600 a month. Assuming similar con-ditions for the coop's other residents, the farmer re-tains some $12,000 a month in already paltry wages for accomodation which, by urban standards, ranks somewhere between a slum and the gutter. By farmwork standards, the Clairs* room is slightly above the norm, which fre-quently precludes running water and often crams up to four adults in an 8'xlO' shack. It is a heinous irony that the more the field-hands pick, the higher is their rent. 2 It must be noted that this example, while similar to the situations of many farmworkers interviewed, does not represent an absolute standard. Some farm buildings have been better adapted than others and do have adequate san-itary fac i l i t i e s . Some farmers are concerned with the health and safety of their employees and have taken steps to improve the facilities. For example, at B & G Bros. Farms in Abbotsford (operated by Gurnaib Brar and Mohinder G i l l ) , a complex of twelve new units was built in 1981. They were made from concrete and fire-proof gyproc and contain smoke-detectors, hot-plates and fridges. These units cost $3,000 each, without government subsidies. Sim-ila r l y , Jagir Bathe's Abbotsford farm has twenty new units with aluminum sid-ing and roofing. While these buildings hardly constitute luxury, they are -46-inhabitable, clean and reasonably sized, and are a vast improvement over previous quarters. Yet modern facilities such as these are by no means common. Farmers are apt to point out that these buildings are not the farmworkers permanent res-idences. They see themselves as providers of a service, in the absence of which farmworkers would be forced to pay rents elsewhere, and face the added inconvenience of having to travel to work each day. Whatever the merits of this argument, farmers have l i t t l e incentive to improve their 'services' with-out 'persuasion' by health authorities or coercion by law, especially as the government has not offered to subsidize costs. A tragic incident on July 16th, 1980 highlighted the inadequacies of the housing situation. Sukhdeep Madhar, a seven-month old infant, drowned in a bucket of drinking water after rolling off a bunk-bed. The bucket contain-ed drinking water because no potable water was piped to the converted horse-st a l l where her mother was living. In addition, the incident raised ques-tions about the lack of day-care facilities on the farms. An estimated five hundred children accompany their mothers to the fields of the Fraser Valley each year. Approximately one week after the death of Sukhdeep Madhar, three young boys (Gurgit Pehatta,8, his 9 year old brother, Sumin and Boota Bassi, aged 10) drowned in an Aldergrove gravel pit while their parents worked in a 3 field nearby. The Coroner investigating Sukhdeep's death likened the living conditions if. on the farm to "Nazi concentration camps". On August 21st 1980, the Coron-er's jury recommended that legislation be "immediately initiated", empowering the Ministry of Health to establish minimum living conditions for farmworkers housed in Fraser Valley cabins. Although i t is s t i l l a "matter of interpret-ation" whether farm accomodation is included under industrial work-camp reg-ulations in B.C., the jury called for "immediate inspections" by civic fire, - 4 7 -health and building officials, and recommended that these inspections be con-ducted regularly. However, despite these recommendations, there i s s t i l l some confusion as to how they can be implemented and by whom. A Matsqui Police Constable, John Spring, had testified at the hearings that as many as seventy people lived in the horse-barn on Jasmer Braich's Glearbrook farm, and one building inspector, Harold Neuman, reported that the building was much below the standards requir-ed for human habitation. Yet the chief building inspector for Abbotsford, B i l l Horn, maintained that "there is not any serious problems Esic] with farm camps right now".^  Horn did stress that he was only concerned with new buil-dings and not with existing sub-standard accomodation. The sticky question of who is responsible remains. To date, the promises of the Ministries of Health and Labour to look into living conditions ahve yielded no known studies, no recommendations and thus, no changes. Cabins are seldom, i f ever, inspected, partly because, even i f inspectors do want to survey premises, many camps are not recognizable as living quarters from the outside. But the main problem is for farmworkers. Inspections can only be made after a complaint has been lodged and i t is incumbent upon farmworkers to make formal complaints. Several farmworkers interviewed cited fear of harrassment, retribution and even dismissal as constraints against reporting unsatisfactory conditions. The C.F.U. has long argued that the government need not create new reg-ulations for farm housing. Calvin Sandborn (of Farmworkers' Legal Services) notes that the "Industrial Camp" regulations of 1946 apply to farm camps,and that health officials admit as much, though the Ministry has adopted an in-g formal policy of not enforcing the law on farms. Sandborn urges the B.C. o provincial government to "stop breaking i t s own law"^ and enforce Section 2 of the Regulations for Sanitary Control of Industrial Camps, amended by -48-Order in Council 2?80, December I960, which states: The application of these regulations shall apply to lumber camps, mining camps, sawmills, railway construction camps, canneries and other similar places where labour is employed throughout the province. 10 The Union argues that farm labour camps can be considered as "other sim-i l a r places". In February 1980, the B.C. Farmworkers Organizing Committee presented a brief to Jack Heinrich, the incumbent Minister of Labour, concer-ning nine recommendations for provisions which were already enforced in the lumber and mining industries.^ However, nothing seems to have come of i t . But where the provincial government has been lax, municipal governments have tried to make amends. In January 1982, the municipality of Matsqui, where Sukhdeep Madhar was drowned, formulated a by-law "to establish stand-ards for seasonal full-time farm help accommodation to protect the health and 12 safety of the occupants". The main provisions of the by-law concerned gar-bage disposal, maintenance, minimum floor space, ceiling heights and ventil-ation, cooking facilities and the licensing of owners of such accommodation. Although the by-law did not provide for regular inspection of housing, failed to guarantee heating for winter workers and required only half the sleeping space required by U.S. farmworker law, i t was a step in the right direction (as far as farmworkers are concerned). However, i t has not been approved by 13 the Health Minister, so the by-law cannot become operative. In a submission to to B.C. Human Rights Commission, Charan G i l l noted that in California there are twenty-five state-owned migrant family centres operating in rural areas. He also noted that the U.S. Federal Department of Labour issued rules and regulations for housing for agricultural labour in 14 March 1980, a law which i s enforceable in every state. Charan G i l l , Secret-ary of the C.F.U., recommended that the B.C. government "should build govern-ment-subsidized public housing on Crown land, managed by its own administra-tive machinery in order to comply with the criteria of existing legislation -49-15 of the Ministries of Health, Agriculture and Housing". The idea of placing the housing blocks on Crown land came from Gill's conviction that the only way to eliminate "the feudal style of employer-employee relationships prac-tised by the growers" is to take the workers away "from the direct influence of the growers". Again, the government has yet to respond to this suggestion. Because of the uncertainty concerning which department, ministry or . agency is responsible for enforcing health and safety regulations on farms, an inter-ministerial committee was set up in July 1981. It comprised the Ministries of Health, Human Resources, Agriculture, Labour, Fire and Municipal Affairs. Yet very l i t t l e is known, either of the proceedings of the committ-ee's meetings, or of their results. Andy Hindley, Chairman of the Committee, announced that recommendations had been sent to the Ministers concerned, though he "couldn't even guess" when the Ministers would make a decision. He added that "...from our point of view, public health, working on stopping the spread of communicable diseases...we don't see that much of a problem".^ If the public health authorities are only concerned with stopping the spread of communicable diseases, then they are not concerned with taking preventive measures against the many diseases to which farmworkers are prone. Examples include everything from the common cold (a consequence of working long hours in wet conditions), to intestinal and stomach disorders (often contracted from unclean drinking water) to a variety of diseases associated with exposure to pesticides. These include lung and heart diseases, skin rashes, eye infections, incremental deafness and even cancer. In terms of the Ministry of Health's criteria, exposure to such diseases or illnesses does not amount to a public health hazard, as long as they are not communic-able to the rest of the community. In February 1981, the C.F.U. asked the Ministry of Health whether i t could submit recommendations regarding health and safety, but only received -50-17 a letter from the Ministry acknowledging its request. ' This is consistent with the government's reticence and inaction regarding the inclusion of farmworkers under any protective legislation. Farmwork May Be Dangerous to Your Health In an article entitled "Racism and Labours The Struggle of B.C.'s Farm-workers", Ronald Labonte wrotes The lack of enforced or explicit regulations controlling farmworker housing and the illness consequent to such septic squalor pales in comparison to the perils lurking in the fields. Farmwork is the third most dangerous occupation in Canada, a fact which may come as a surprise to those of us equating our backyard veggie patches with' a feisty cardiopulmonary workout rather than to an exer-cise in dying younger. 18 Apart from threats to health such as those associated with twelve hour daily stints of stooping, plucking, lifting and toting ('flats' weigh between sixteen and twenty pounds and must be carried long distances to the farmer's weigh station), farmworkers also face defective farm equipment, unsafe drink-ing water, lack of sanitation, overcrowded housing and overcrowded contract trucks (for those who 'commute' from Vancouver). In a statement released by Farmworkers' Legal Services, Calvin Sandborn noted that according to the pro-vincial Department of Vital Statistics, at least twenty-three B.C. farmwork-ers were killed in farm accidents in 1977* In 1976, sixteen people died; in 1978, nine; in 1979, eleven; and in 1980, five. This brings the total to sixty-four deaths between 1976 and 1980, and the figure does not include 19 transportation accidents or long-term occupational diseases. In Ontario, i t is estimated that one worker per week is killed perform-ing farmwork. Further, a Saskatchewan study found that farmworkers have a much greater incidence of poor hearing, speech defects, respiratory diseases and back problems than the general population, divided into occupational cat-on egories. In addition, an American study of orchardists in the Okanagan -51-area of Washington State found that farmworkers had extraordinarily high rates of lung and intestinal cancer, pernicious anaemia, cerebral embolism and thrombosis, and concluded that there was a definite connexion with the 21 use and abuse of pesticides. According to the California Department of Ind-ustrial Relations, the toxic chemical injury rate of Californian farmworkers is more than double the overall injury rate of a l l other workers in various 22 industries in the state. Although there are few similar Canadian studies, the Matsqui-Abbotsford Community Services conducted a survey in October 1982, the major findings of which are contained in Appendix A (page 123)• The hazard of the uncontrolled use of pesticides on B.C. farms is one area in which farmwork outweighs mining and logging on the danger scales. Pesticides are no longer used just to k i l l insects, but also to k i l l birds, fungus, rodents, fish and plants. There are chemicals to speed up the growth of crops and chemicals to slow growth down. They can have both acute and chronic health effects in humans. Acute effects include everything from skin rashes, dizziness and vomiting to paralysis and, according to The Farmworker. 24 even death. Chronic effects include liver damage, cancer and the birth of still-born or deformed children. Varieties of pesticides have been modified over the last f i f t y years, each in i t i a l l y acclaimed as 'safe', and many subsequently discovered to be far from safe. Currently, although organochlorines are now banned (because they were found to be causes of cancer), there are s t i l l some in use on B.C. farms. Today, organophosphates are used to k i l l insects and, on average, their acute effects are even more severe and dangerous than organochlorines. They attack the nervous system and can cause paralysis. The $250 million a year Canadian pesticide industry obviously has a ves-ted interest in selling i t s wares, and has sophisticated and persuasive tech-niques, whereby farmers are 'convinced' that without pesticides they would -52-suffer heavy crop losses. Thousands of tons of toxic substances are dumped over the fields and plants of Canada every year, with apparently l i t t l e or no regard for their effects on workers. Many farm labourers have reported the spraying of fields while they and their children were in them, and rep-orts of workers entering fields while the air is s t i l l a vaporous cloud are not unusual. The recent investigation into Industrial Bio-Test Labor!tories (I.B.T.) in the United States which resulted in thirty criminal indictments for fraud, raised many questions about the assurances of 'experts' that certain pestic-ides are safe. At least 97 chemicals listed on the falsified I.B.T. data 25 are s t i l l allegedly in use in Canada. J For example, the most widely used fungicide in Canada, Captan, was declared safe by I.B.T. - 300,000 kgs. were 26 used last year on corn, potatoes and berries. Yet Captan has been proved to cause cancer, birth defects and genetic damage in laboratory animals and is likely to do the same in humans. As Reasons, Ross and Faterson point out, the government, with its tendency to "err on the side of business" where occ-upational or environmental health issues are concerned, has chosen to phase 27 out the use of Captan over several years. This leaves farmworkers to con-tinue exposing themselves to chemicals "whose testing has been specious at best". 2 8 The recent death of Jarnail Singh Deol lends ammunition to the case of farmworkers and their supporters. Deol, a twenty-year-old farmworker, died on October 3rd 1982, after swallowing a lethal dose of the toxic pesticide, Monitor, at Mound Farm, Surrey. Although there is some suggestion that Deol committed suicide, Dr. B i l l Meekison, director of the Boundary Health Unit in Surrey, was convinced that Deol's death was due to toxic psychosis induc-ed by pesticides. Deol had been admitted to hospital three times in Septem-ber, and five other farmworkers had been treated for similar symptoms (nausea, -53-sweating and clammy skin). These symptoms are a l l consistent with Meekison's 29 suggestion of gradual and incremental poisoning over a long period. As mentioned above, farmworkers are not covered by the provisions of the Workers' Compensation Act. Only some workers - those under labour con-tractors-are covered, but only 5% of growers have opted into the scheme, which is s t i l l operated on a voluntary basis. Farmworkers are also denied the protection of health and safety regulations, as in B.C. these regualtions are included with workers' compensation in the same act, and both are admin-istered by the Workers' Compensation Board. This situation compounds the suffering of workers who are not only vulnerable to a greater number and ran-ge of injuries and diseases than other B.C. workers, but are also denied re-muneration for occupational hazards. Constitutional protection in the U.S. is far ahead of Canada's in this respect. For example, in the case of Guiterez v. Glaser Crandall Company [202 NW 2D 786 (1972)], the Supreme Court of Michigan struck down a law that denied workers' compensation coverage to seasonal farmworkers. One of the Supreme Court Justices stated that "such treatment is clearly discriminatory and has no rational basis". Another judge held that the separate classific-ation of farmworkers was "inherently suspect" because most farmworkers are from minority ethnic backgrounds. Sandborn noted that in 1952, and again in 1956, two Royal Commissions into Workers' Compensation recommended that farmworkers be covered, but to date they are s t i l l bereft of the insurance and safety protections offered 30 by the scheme. Given the recent example of "back-tracking" by the Minister of Labour (Bob McClelland), and the Social Credit Government's renewed man-date of May 5th, 1983, i t seems highly unlikely that the government will be willing to revert back to the promises of March 1982. The Vancouver and District Labour Council had urged an investigation -54-into Deol's death in November 1982, with a view to bringing in regulations 31 to control the use of pesticides throughout British Columbia. In addition, the C.F.U. released a report in October 1982, which claimed that there is widespread ignorance among B.C. farmers about the safe use of pesticides. Having interviewed two hundred and seventy-two farmworkers in the Lower Main-land, Fraser Valley and the Okanagan, the authors of the report recommended that the W.C.B. implement strong regulations, along with an education and training programme. It looks now as i f the only positive step taken will be the implementation of the latter, while the C.F.U. argues that although educ-ation will undoubtedly cut the number of accidents, those injuries that do 32 occur regardless will go uncompensated. As Ronald Labonte points out in his cited articles A dreary irony of a l l this i s that, while farmworkers are legally ineligible for compensation for injuries suffered from pesticide use, farmers receive legally required compensation for crop losses due to pesticide overkill. The Grievances - Working Conditions The area of discontent concerning living conditions discussed above is not the main focus of attention for the C .F,U., and does not appear to be a focus of the Social Credit government's attention at a l l . The housing issue applies to fewer than .half of B.C.'s seasonal labourers. But the issues of pesticide hazards and of general working conditions apply to a l l farmworkers, and have consequently been the predominant focal point of C.F.U. agitation. Some of the conditions which f a l l into the category of working condit-ions have already been mentioned above. They are the physical circumstances which are part and parcel of farmwork and which are probably unalterable. Hand-picking berries and vegetables will always involve stooping, plucking and toting in rain or sunshine for a good many years to come. -55-However, there axe some conditions which are not immutable, and which are possibly more pernicious to farmworkers than the physical reality, ass-uming that farmworkers' interests are to earn as profitable a living as poss-ible, under safe and equitable conditions. There are two major issue areas under contention, which, i t i s argued, can be changed via legislation. They are the piece-rate system and the contractor system. The "piece-rate" refers to a system of payment according to productivity. While this somewhat archaic system has been replaced by hourly wage rates in most areas of work today, i t is s t i l l used widely in farmwork. The approp-riate unit for harvesters i s payment per 'flat' of produce picked, a flat being a plastic container subdivided into sixteen compartments (for berries), each holding one pound of fruit. Certainly i t would be difficult, i f not preposterous, to conceive of bank clerks being paid per customer transaction per day, or librarians being rewarded for each book checked out. Likewise, the C.F.U. argues, i t is un-fai r that farmworkers should be paid according to the amount they can pick, when conditions vary with many things, from the time of the season to the amount of rain per day and so forth. Yet there is an argument prevalent in farming (and government) circles that farmwork lends itself best to the piece-rate system. This argument is not without some merit. It i s a fact that crops are perishable, and, during the harvesting season, must be transported to the retail outlets as soon as possible. Deadlines entail not only swift and efficient harvesting, but long hours of labour and planning co-ordination. The piece-rate system, i t is ar-gued, enables the farmer to make fairly accurate predictions of how much of the crop can be harvested within a given time-frame and what his overall pro-f i t i s likely to be. The argument in favour of the piece-rate system i s , of -course, predicated on the assumption that an incentive system (which is the -56-fundamental notion behind the piece-rate) will make workers pick as quickly as they can, and that they will pick the whole crop. The piece-rate system makes sense for the farmer in a variety of other ways. One of the most important is that i t ensures equal per unit costs. This i s obviously very important to farmers, who would-certainly resent hav-ing to pay, say a minimum of $3.65 an hour, to a worker who picks two flats an hour, in contrast to a worker who picks four. Their per unit costs for the f i r s t worker would be $1.84, but for the second worker, i t would be 91<|. Furthermore, another of the very persuasive arguments made by farmers in defence of the piece-rate system i s that i t frees farmers or managers from supervisory tasks, enabling them to do other work which is more productive. By leaving productivity to the workers' anxiousness to earn as much as they can by picking as much as possible, farmers argue that the free market economy can be seen to be working in the best interests ofall parties. Because workers are responsible for what they produce and do not have farmers telling them to work faster, affable industrial relations are said to be encouraged. Ann Farrell makes what appears to be a very sound argument in a recent newspaper article. Quoting a spokesman from the Abbotsford Farm Labour Pool, a government agency, she tells of a woman who picked forty-one flats in a ten-hour day. At fifteen pounds a flat, that amounted to six hundred and fifteen pounds. At 15f a pound, she earned $92.25 for the day (or $9.22 per hour). Yet the average good picker f i l l s only twenty to thirty flats a day, for between $45.00 and $6?.50 a day. Farrell notes that ten hours paid at the minimum hourly rate of $3.65 would earn such a worker only $36.50 - be-tween $8.50 and $31.00 less than s/he could earn at the piece-rate.^ While the argument that the principle of piece-rates means that the slow-er worker will be paid at the same rate as more productive workers seems rea-sonably fair, Farrell has ignored some important qualifications. First, the -57-forty-one flat picker is very rare, and could only have managed her feat dur-ing the three or four weeks of the season's peak. Second, speed of picking also depends on the nature of the crop - for example, how closely fruit or vegetables are grouped. This is not to mention weather conditions, or indeed, good health. Third, there is a large discrepancy between the 15<f per pound rate and the retail price of the produce. For example, at the end of June, 1982, Safeways in Vancouver were selling strawberries at $1.79 per pound. Fourth, i t is not clear whether the 154 P e r Pound rate i s the sum actually paid to the worker, or whether this is the rate paid by the farmer to the contractor, who then subtracts his "rake-off". Finally, Farrell misses the essential point altogether. No one i s advocating $3«65 (or any other amount) as a maximum hourly rate. Rather, i t is intended as a minimum hourly rate. There i s no reason why the proficient worker cannot be rewarded for product-ivity and earn above that minimum. This i s , in effect, to advocate a minimum hourly rate to ensure a reasonable return when the picking is not so good, supplemented by a piece-rate system above a certain threshold. Of course, i t could be argued that i f the latter were general practice, farmers would tend to employ only the most productive workers, thereby exclu-ding elderly or slower workers from a source of employment that is often the only one open to them. This is certainly a valid argument. However, i t could be interpreted as a demonstration that perhaps farmers are not as in-terested in speed and efficiency as they are in exploiting cheap labour. This argument, i f true, would be consistent with the growers' position on machinery. The threat of mechanization has been made on many occasions. Some farmers have used mechanical harvesters for crops like raspberries, ra-ther than have their operations unionized. However, machines tend to ruin a large proportion of the crop (up to 25%), and machine-harvested fruit can only be used for canning and jarring. Hand-harvested fruit, on the other -58-hand, eomes off the hushes in much better condition and can be sold for eat-ing, at a much higher price. Last year, of an estimated thirty mechanical harvesters in the valley, only one was used. Manual labour is s t i l l very much in demand, despite the growers' claim that they are 'doing the workers 34 a favour' by offering them employment. Nonetheless, the argument most often invoked against the abolition of piece-rates is that i t would mean an increase in retail prices to the cons-umer. Price rises would lead consumers not only to "squawk about the low wages farmers pay to those who harvest their crops", but also to complain 35 about the rising prices of farm produce. J However, the C.F.U. points out 36 that labour costs account for only 8-9% of the retail price of food. In the case of Safeways strawberries, 9% of $1.79 comes to 15$. The question then becomes one of a trade-off by consumers between cheap farm produce or clear consciences.... The Canadian Farmworkers Union claims that piece-rates work against the farm labourer in several ways. First., not only is the rate per flat low (in 1982 i t was, on average, about $2.20), but the time taken to f i l l a flat de-pends on variables mentioned above (such as nature of the crop and the time of the season). If the crop is poor or the weather proves inclement, more time and effort are required to f i l l a flat. In effect, as the season dwin-37 dies, the workers must "work harder and harder to earn less and less". In addition, many workers have complained of harrassment when they bring in their flats. They claim they are sent back to the fields to pick more, on the pretext that the flats are not properly f i l l e d , although farmers' scales are notoriously outdated and unreliable. The final issue is the question of overtime. Farmers have claimed that because farmwork is seasonal and the crop must be taken in as quickly as po-ssible, overtime payments are not warranted. Meanwhile, the Union claims -59-that non-payment of overtime contravenes the Human Rights Code, which guaran-tees equality of opportunity in the workplace. In this case, 'equality* re-fers to the overtime provisions of the regulations of the Ministry of Labour. Part 3t section 26 (b) of the 1980 Employment Standards Act defines "regular wage" as "where paid on a flat rate, piece, commission or other incentive ba-sis, the wages of the employee in a pay period divided by the employee's to-tal hours of work during that pay period", with overtime defined as payment due for work in excess of the average. However, the 1981 Regulations. in 39 section 9» exempts farmworkers. The question of minimum wages for farmworkers is a prickly one, and has been discussed in Chapter Two. In a statement to the Vancouver Sun on July 25th 1981, Raj Chouhan charged that the Social Credit party's "expensive TV commercials and glossy leaflets" mislead the public to think that farmworkers are already covered by hourly minimum wage regulations. In fact, the govern-ment appears to have no intention of introducing hourly rates for farmworkers. The final major issue area under working conditions is the infamous con-tractor system. FFarmers do not generally hire their labour directly, except for those workers who migrate from the far-flung corners of B.C. Most farm-workers are hired by labour contractors, who agree to provide a steady supply of labour to the farmer, in exchange for a percentage of the payment in wages to the workers. Like piece-rates, the contractor system makes sense for farmers. First, one telephone cal l will secure a labour force of the appropriate size for the appropriate length of time. Second, the grower is assured that his crop will be picked. Third, the contractor is responsible for transporting workers to the fields each day. Fourth, the contractor supervises the pickers, and where the farmer i s white, the contractor acts as interpreter between the growers and the workers. Fifth, because he is actually the employer of the c o -workers, i t i s the contractor who must handle the book-keeping. This can be a formidable task i n i t s e l f , a s i t i s necessary to calculate each worker's t o t a l number of f l a t s picked, their U.I.C. contributions, as well as C.P.P. and tax. Contractors, who number between thirty-five and forty i n the Fraser Val-ley, are predominantly East Indian and are usually workers from saw-mills or factories who absent themselves from their jobs to practise the lucrative business of contracting. Their incentive i s undoubtedly the "rake-off", which the C.F.U. claims i s often between 2 5 and 40 per cent. Because they have only recently been required to register (with the Employment Standards Board), and because the law has been so lax, contractors have enjoyed signif-icant scope for exploitation. Indeed, the C.F.U. holds that they are "more responsible [than farmers] for using coercive tactics l i k e witholding wages 40 and threats and blackmail concerning U.I.C". This "legal pimping", undertaken by persons who have "become enamoured 41 with this country's potential for exploitation" y has serious effects on the farmworkers' earnings, liberty and independence. Contractors compete with each other for contracts with farmers, and as they 'win' by bidding low, they lower the workers* wages i n the process. I t i s the contractor who de-cides where labourers work, for how long and for how much. I t i s the cont-ractor who pays wages, negotiates with farmers over working conditions, c a l -culates deductions (mentioned above) and arranges transport to the farms. The typical farmworker's day begins at 5 a m , when s/he i s driven to the Fraser Valley i n converted mini-buses - 'converted' usually means that the seats have been ripped out and replaced by benches. Often, thirty workers 42 w i l l be herded into a van designed to take twelve. A number of driving accidents have been reported i n the last few years, and of course, none of 43 the injured was covered by Workers' Compensation. -61-One labour contractor, Kishan Walla, claimed in an interview with the Province that after paying for gas and two drivers, he cleared only about $80 a day. Yet according to Walia, he paid his workers $2.25 a flat out of $3.15 be was paid by the farmer. With eighty-two people working for him, collectively earning more than $5,000 a day, Walia would have been grossing more than $1,500 per day, which is 30% of the total. ^ It Is difficult to imagine gas for two trucks plus two drivers' wages coming to $1420.00 for four two-hour trips a day. Something, somewhere is missing. Why would Walia take a leave of absence from his saw-milling job where he could earn around $80 a day, without getting up at 4a.m. and suffering a l l the undoubted head-aches which are part and parcel of the arduous job of contracting? If i t is true that "nobody's getting rich on this job" as Walia claims, why do the contractors do it? If there i s no legitimate way to make a good profit from contracting, a contractor may devise other ways of making i t pay. They have enormous power over their workers, partly because, until very recently, U.I.C. regulations required farmworkers to be employed by the same employer for at least twenty-46 five consecutive days, in order to qualify for benefits. The contractors could, and often did, shuffle workers round from farm to farm, so that many workers could never meet U.I.C. requirements. This practice has been elim-inated, however, by the new regulations, which count contractors as perman-ent employers. There are several allegations of particular 'scams' practised by con-tractors . Many complaints concern the practice of deducting U.1.C. contrib-utions from workers' wages. Then, at the end of the season, some contractors have feigned hard times or even bankruptcy, telling the workers they must pay the $500 or so outstanding, or else they will be in trouble with the government. ^ -62-As mentioned above, given that as the season progresses i t is not worth workers' while to continue working for diminishing returns to their labour, contractors have been known to withold their wages t i l l the end of the har-vest. This was easy before the Employment Standards Act as there was no law requiring weekly, two-weekly or monthly payment of wages to farmworkers. Much worse than this practice is the less common, but s t i l l evident, •scam' of witholding wages altogether. When badgered by workers, contractors can, and allegedly do, write bad cheques and disappear. As this i s only a criminal offence when purchasing goods, a l l the worker can do is f i l e a c i v i l suit and try to seize the contractor's possessions. As there is nothing in writing, i t i s very difficult to prove anything. If the contractor has trans-ferred his assets to his wife or other relatives, virtually nothing can be . 48 done. Jim McDowell cites another 'scam' in a Vancouver Free Press article: At the end of the year a dishonest contractor may also skim off the workers, witholding tax, or demand a kick-back. If the contractor witheld $500 from the worker, he might send in $100 and pocket the rest, with no records to keep him honest. 49 It must be noted, in a l l fairness, that such practices are by no means common to a l l contractors. Nor are such practices the exclusive preserve of contractors. One of the C.F.U.'s f i r s t cases involved a Steveston truck far-mer, Douglas McKim. From March 1978, McKim had employed Nachhtter Singh Sidhu and his family of six to pick strawberries, raspberries, cabbages, pot-atoes and cauliflowers. Their duties also included planting and weeding his four hundred acres of fields. McKim promised to pay the four adults $3.50 an hour and the two teenagers $3.00 an hour - top wages for farmwork. When the Sidhu family finally quit in November 1978, they had collected only $9,200, with wages of $31,000 due for 10,107 hours of work. The Sidhus, af-ter exhausting negotiations, and latterly pleas, with McKim, turned to the Farmworkers Organizing Committee (FW0C) for assistance. Stuart Rush, a law--63-yer acting on the Sidhus' behalf, filed suit against McKim in the Supreme Court of B.C. McKim declared bankruptcy, with eight other judgments against him. The FWOC's information picket lines outside McKim's three fields were unableto force him to settle his debts.^° The final area in which contractors have significant control over work-ers i s concerned with immigration. In some cases, the contractor has spon-sored the worker's entry into Canada, and thus holds the threat of deportat-ion over the worker's head. There is no concrete evidence of the practice of bringing people from the Indian sub-continent, but the present author has heard several stories of people coming over from villages without visas, but being 'taken care o f by well-dressed Sikhs who seem to hold some sway with immigration officers.-* 1 While i t would be inadvisable to imply, and unlikely to be the case that individual immigration officers may have 'deals' with contractors, there are provisions in immigration laws which permit workers in 'special categories' to be ^imported' when necessary. The Canadian Gov-ernment, for example, allows West Indians to come to work in the tobacco fields of Southern Ontario under special seasonal contracts. Workers finding themselves in such a 'special category' also find themselves in a markedly inequitable power relationship with their sponsors. There are viable solutions to the problems of the contract system. The C.F.U.'s answer i s modelled on the United Farmworkers of America's hiring hall system, where the Union acts as a central pool and takes on the respon-sibi l i t i e s currently undertaken by the contractors. In fact, the Union is already supplying labour to several farms through i t s limited hiring hall system. For example, at Bell Farms Ltd. of Richmond, Jack Bell claims that productivity and efficiency have actually risen since the Union assumed the functions of the contractors. This increased productivity may be explained by the greater reliability of the Union over the contractors. Many farmers - 6 4 -interviewed complained that they had been abandoned several times by contrac-tors before harvesting had been completed. However, most farmers seem to be afraid of a loss of autonomy when i t i s suggested that the Union might take over the contractors' job. "Better the devil you know than the devil you don't", sighed one farmer. Farmers are generally suspicious of the motivations of Union leaders, who are seen as opportunists who only want to usurp the power of the contractors. For far-mers, unreliable contractors appear to be preferred to the Union, primarily because of the vastly increased power the Union would have in allocating, withdrawing and controlling the labour force. Farmers fear that they would be at the mercy of the Union during strikes. In effect, this would mean a reversal of the current situation where farmworkers are, by and large, at the 'mercy' of the growers and contractors. Summary This chapter has discussed the living and working conditions character-is t i c of farm labour in B.C. The cabins of the Fraser Valley are generally cramped, unsanitary and ill-equipped. The working conditions described con-tribute to the status of farmwork as the third most dangerous occupation in Canada. Responsibility for this situation has been attributed partly to the growers and contractors (who control the immediate conditions) and partly to the inaction of the provincial government and its ministries. B.C.'s Provincial Ministries of Housing, Health, Labour, Human Resources and Agriculture have regulations for health, safety, workers' compensation, sanitary and safe housing, pesticide use, minimum wages and so forth, which, however, are not enforced on farms. Farmworkers have been either simply om-itted from protection of certain acts, or specifically exempted. In some eases, laws exist which could be applied to farmworkers, but are not. In -65- . other cases, legislation could be redefined or amended to include farmworkers, but thus far has not been altered. This lack of enforcement continues in the face of two Royal Commissions* recommendations (in 1952 and 1956)} a Coroner's report and recommendations (1980): a C.F.U. brief identifying conditions which could be incorporated in-to presently unenforced regulations; a Municipal by-law for housing safety and sanitation provisions which requires approval from the Ministry of Health before i t can become operative (1982); a C.F.U. recommendation for government housing for farmworkers (1981); and several studies on the effects of pest-icides on humans. The government has refrained from enforcing existing pert-inent regulations (or instigating new ones) in spite of the fact that i t s own interministerial committee accepted some responsibility for the non-en-forcement of regulations. A l l of the above has left the farmworkers to depend on the /unreliable •goodwill' of the farmers and contractors to ensure that farmworkers' living and working conditions meet the basic minimum standards granted by law to a l l other workers in B.C. It i s because farmers and contractors have not ensured safe and equitable conditions of labour that the farmworkers have become increasingly disaffected over the past few years, and this is a part-i a l explanation for the emergence of a union for farmworkers. It is to this subject, the unionization of B.C.'s farm labourers, that we now turn. -65,-Footnotes 1. Andy Sidhu of the Canada Farm Labour Pool at Abbotsford estimated that there are some 6000 farmers in the Fraser Valley. However, most of the white farmers are in dairy farming or cereal crops. Meanwhile, there are about 150 East Indians, most of whom are in fruit and vegetable cul-tivation. There are almost 300 raspberry farms, and about 100 strawberry farms. There are several possible explanations for the preponderance of East In-dians in the berry/fruit/vegetable business. First, dairy farming is not practised in India, and so East Indian farmers have no tradition or exper-ience of i t . Second, most of them have only recently become farmers with-in the last 15-20 years, having saved money from other occupations. Berry farming has the advantage of being a relatively easy market to break into, with low i n i t i a l and yearly capital outlays to be made. Third, fruit production is not nearly so time and energy-consuming as other types of farming, so farmers have more time to pursue other interests, and often, other careers. 2. Rick Ouston, "A Dark Home for Citizen Sandhu", in the Vancouver Sun. July 22, 1981. 3« Vancouver Sun. August 25, 1980. 4. Ibid. 5. The Farmworker, publication of the C.F'iU., September, 1980. 6. B i l l Horn, interviewed by the Vancouver Sun. July 23, 1981. 7. Seven farmworkers were interviewed in the Abbotsford/Clearbrook area. However, as with many people interviewed, they wish to remain anonymous -fear of harrassment was the reason cited. 8. Calvin Sandborn, "The Racist History of Present Laws that Discriminate against Farmworkers", (A Farmworkers' Legal Services Project, submitted to the B.C. Human Rights Commission, January, 1983 - personal copy),p.17• 9. Ibid., p.18. 10. Quoted by Charan G i l l , in "Housing for Migrant Farmworkers," a presentation to the B.C. Human Rights Commission from the Housing Committee of the B.C. Association of Social Workers (May 21, 1982),p.2. 11. Ibid., p.4. 12. See By-Law 226l of the Municipality of Matsqui. 13. Sandborn, op. c i t . , p.18. 14. G i l l , op. c i t . , p.5» 15. Ibid., p.5. 16. Vancouver Sun. July 23, 1981. -67-1 7 . Information from Raj Chouhan, November 24, 1982. 18. Ronald Labonte, "Racism and Labour: The Struggle of B.C.'s Farmworkers", in Canadian Forum. June/July, 1982, p.10. 1 9 . Quoted in an interview by the Vancouver Sun. August 3 1» 1981. 20. C. Reasons, L. Ross and C. Paterson, Assault on the Worker: Occupational  Health and Safety in Canada. (Butterworth*s, Toronto, 1981).Chapter 6. 21. Vancouver Sun. August 3 1 . 1981. 22. See the "Report on Environmental Assessment of Pesticide Regulatory Prog-rams, Public Response", Vol.5, (California Department of Industrial Re-lations, 1981), p.1695. 2 3 . "Agricultural Pesticides and Health Survey Results", (Abbotsford-Matsqui Community Services Project, October, 1982), passim. See also "Farmworkers and Pesticides", (unpublished presentation to the Occupational Health Symposium at U.B.C., December 22; 1982). 24. The Farmworker, editorial entitled "Pesticides, a Threat to the Farmwork-ers", September I 9 8 O . 2 5 . John Warnock, researcher for the "South Okanagan Environmental Coalition", interviewed by The Farmworker. April, 1981. 26. Peter von Stackelberg, "Dead Wrong", Quest Magazine. June-August 1981. 2 7 • Reasons, Ross and Paterson, op. c i t . , chapters 8-12. 28. Labonte, op. c i t . 2 9 . Vancouver Sun. November 3 , 1 9 8 2 . 3 0 . Sandborn, op. cit . , p.11. 3 1 . Vancouver Sun. Nov.3, 1982. 3 2 . Information provided by Charan G i l l . The B.C. Federation of Agriculture's pesticides committee chairman, Dave Hobson, has suggested that an information package be distributed to a l l B.C. farmers. The package would cover storage of pesticides; labels and warnings on containers; handling and disposal of empty containers; the metric system; recognising poisoning symptoms;calibration of sprayers and worker re-entry to sprayed areas. The Farm Labour Pool at Abbotsford has begun a course on the use of pest-icides and this will hopefully prevent a great deal of unnecessary pain and suffering. 3 3 . Ann Farrell, "The Other Side of the Farm Labour Controversy", in the Vancouver Sun. Sept. 1 3 , 1982. The 1 5 c figure comes from a survey for the Ministry of Labour conducted by economist, Colin Ackroyd, who investigated 40-50 farms in the Fraser Valley in 1981, examining labour contracting procedures and production records. From the season's total production figure, Ackroyd subtracted -68-the early and late season figure (because of the difference between pick-ing times). An average piece-work rate was established at 15c a pound, to allow the picker on piece-rate "the opportunity to match what would be earned at the minimum hourly rate of $3.65." 34. Sandborn, ittterviewect.Feb.21, 1983. 35• Ann Farrell, op. c i t . 36. Raj Chouhan. Globe and- Mail.Aug.22. 1981. 37. Interview with Chouhan, Nov.24, 1982. 38. "Support B.C. Farmworkers", a C.F.U. pamphlet, 1980, p.3. 39« See Employment Standards Regulations , NOV, 1981, p.8. 40. "Support B.C. Farmworkers", p.4. 41. Labonte, op. cit.,p.10. 42. Information supplied by the C.F.U. and corroborated by many newspaper re-ports - for example, the Financial Post. July 26, 1980. 43. Globe and Mail. Aug.22, 1980. 44. Province. Aug.22, 1980. 45. These figures represent very conservative estimates of workers' earnings. For example, suppose an average worker picks 2 flats an hour for ten hours a day (most farmworkers work 12-14 hours a day). At $3»15 per flat for 20 flats, that comes to $63.00. 82 workers earning $63.00 a day = $5166.00 30$ (the usual average contractor's cut) =-$1548.80. Of course, during the peak the contractor may take more and off-peak may take less. It also depends on how many workers the contracor controls. But even halving the expected profits to average out for slack times, a contractor like Walia would s t i l l earn $600-700 a day. 46. The U.I.C. rule 16 was changed on Aug.16, 1982. Contractors are now con-sidered permanent employers. Note that the 25 day rule never applied to carpenters, electricians, longshoremen or other workers engaging in itinerant employment. 47. Three farmworkers interviewed said they had experienced this themselves, and a further five reported similar experiences of friends or family mem-bers. 48. "Support for Farmworkers", p.6. 49. Jim McDowell, "Fighting the Farm Labour Rip-off", Vancouver Free Press. June 29-July 5, 1979, P.12. 50. Ibid.,p.13. 51. I have heard such rumours from a number of sources, including 2 farmworkers, -69-(who were very reluctant to discuss the matter), friends returning from India'and members of the East Indian community. Of course, i t is a l l hear-say - there is no proof. Significantly, however, two immigration officers I spoke to very somewhat reticent on the point, but they did not deny the practice outright. -70-GHAPTER FOUR  "UTHAN DA VAILA" - (A TIME TO RISE) This chapter will trace the formation and progress of the Canadian Farm-workers Union from its birth in 1979, as the Farmworkers Organizing Commit-tee (or FWOC) to the present. Whereas Chapter Three discussed the salient issues which are the basis of the C.F.U.'s platform, the present chapter will focus on the participants in the conflict, their philosophies, their goals and the strategies they have employed in pursuit of them. Finally, the chap-ter will present a brief chronology of the more significant events which have taken place during the C.F.U.'s struggle for legitimacy. Everything Is Possible. Nothing Can Be Done The conditions under which B.C.'s farmworkers labour have been a source of concern within Vancouver's East Indian community for many years. Lively discussions were regularly held in coffee shops, the gurdwaras (Sikh temples), house parties, or any social occasion where concerned individuals found them-selves with like-minded individuals. However, while most debates tended to conclude that the situation was atrocious and that something really ought to be done about i t , no one seemed keen to assume the responsibilities of the role of leadership. It was generally assumed that action was the responsib-i l i t y of government, which would, sooner or later, have to deal with the i s -sue. Besides, some people felt that yet another East Indian organization would only further divide an already factionalized community."'' The difficulties of organizing farmworkers were attributed to several factors. Farmwork, being largely a seasonal activity, depends on a labour force drawn from many scattered communities throughout B .C. The migratory labour force i s predominantly female, geographically isolated, ethnically 2 segregated and numerically weak. It is also transient, with workers join--71-ing and leaving the occupation sporadically. In addition, very few workers depend on their earnings from farm labour as primary income. Since earnings are supplementary to total yearly family incomes, the issue is not one of survival, so that farmworkers may not have sufficient incentive to try to im-prove their conditions. Farmworkers, particularly those who have had agric-ultural experience in India, generally have low expectations, and are accus-tomed to the paternalistic structure of working relations characteristic of "East Indian culture". A l l of these conditions in combination reinforce the traditionally unorganized and politically powerless situation of farmworkers. Yet eventually, in 1978, a group of three concerned Indians decided to "brave the odds" and take on a leadership role. Charan G i l l (who was to be-come Secretary of the C.F.U.) describes a "heated 'dare' session, at which 3 three hours of brainstorming and soul-searching took place". As a result, Raj Chouhan, Charan G i l l and Harinder Mahill decided to: ...take on an advocacy role that would attempt to organize farmworkers. A primary feeling of ours was that true sol-idarity with the oppressed meant fighting at their side to transform their objective reality... 4 Raj Chouhan's involvement with the farmwork issue has been described in Chapter One. Although he had not been politically active in India, Chouhan had been a member of the Indian People's Association of North America (IPANA) in Vancouver for a year or two."' This is where he renewed contact with Mahill, whom he had known previously in India. In the mid-1970*s, Mahill was working in the lumber industry, and had become active as a shop-steward with the Int-ernational Woodworkers of America (IWA). In 1979-80, Mahill was a full-time official of IWA, and was delegated to spend a significant proportion of his time working for the FWOC.^  Charan G i l l , meanwhile, was a social worker who had, and has,affiliations with groups ranging from the B.C. Association of Social Workers (BCASW) to the B.C. Organization to Fight Racism (BCOFR). ? Of the three, only Chouhan had had no previous organizational experience, -72-though this was soon to be remedied. In the Beginning The group's f i r s t task was to gather as much information as possible, in order to make an assessment of the situation, to identify the issues (and pri-oritize them), and to determine appropriate strategies. The information was to be gleaned primarily from conversations with farmworkers, with a view to finding out what the workers themselves identified as their grievances, who they held responsible for their situation and what they thought could be done. The group soon discovered the existence of the Labour Advocacy and Re-search Association (LARA). This was a government-funded project run by a few labour lawyers and including John Borst, formerly of the United Farmworkers of America. LARA's primary purpose was to help farmworkers collect unpaid wages through small claims courts. This task proved difficult, particularly as working terms or records were never written, making i t hard to prove that the contractor have even employed the worker, much less witheld wages. In addition, contractors often declared bankruptcy or simply disappeared. Farm-workers themselves, often newly-arrived, illiterate immigrants, were intimid-ated by the idea of recourse to the courts (with the criminal undertones im-plied) , especially i f they were not certain of their status in Canada. In any case, at that time small claims courts represented the only hope for farm-workers who felt that they had been cheated or treated unfairly, Chouhan, G i l l and Mahlll worked closely with LARA over the remaining months of 1978, assisting with English-Punjabi translations, as well as cases. G i l l reported a case-load of seventy-eight within four weeks. Word spread quickly throughout the Lower Mainland that LARA's services were being made more accessible by the availability of Punjabi-speakers. This experience was a source of education for Chouhan, G i l l and Mahill: -73-The information-gathering was three-prongeds data about workers, contractors and growers was collected. This helped us to understand the interdependence between these three parties. We found out how much acreage was under cultivation at various farms to assess labour and pro-duction needs. We discovered that the growers and con-tractors had exploitative attitudes towards the workers. They did not treat them with respect, and the workers had low morale and feelings of hopelessness. 8 The group became aware that, apart from the 'exploitative' relationship between employers and workers, the latter were also the victims of bureau-cratic 'red-tape's ...they were caught in the middle of two powerful instit-utions - the Workers' Compensation Board .and.I.C.B.C.... The buck was passed from one to the other, without any results or help to the victims [of accidents or occup-ational illnesses]. 9 Adhering to Paolo Freire's maxim that "rights are never given, they are a l -ways acquired by conquest", the original group decided that i t was time to form an organization of some kind: The extent of these oppressive conditions convinced us that they would not end easily. We began to believe that rights for farmworkers would only be achieved through years of struggle through their own organization. 11 In November 1978, Chouhan, G i l l and Mahill held a meeting in Surrey, which was attended by f i f t y farmworkers. A follow-up meeting was organized in December at the IWA headquarters, which featured a film by the United Farm-12 workers of America (UFWA). The time seemed ripe for organization, as a sig-nificant number of farmworkers had expressed support for the emerging leaders' many hours of effort and obvious dedication. At this point, a fully-fledged union was not planned. The organization was rather meant to be a formal rec-ognition that a group of people existed who had common grievances and goals, and who were willing and able to mobilize support for the achievement of those goals. Eventually, a meeting was held in February 1979, which elected the Executive of the Farmworkers Organizing Committee, which now had eleven members. -74-The Farmworkers Organizing Committee The newly-formed FWOC had a number of short-, mid- and long-term goals. According to G i l l and Chouhan, the short-term goals were to continue the work they had begun with LARA, helping to collect unpaid wages, resolve U.I.C. problems and co-ordinate the services required by farmworkers. The mid-term goals were to raise consciousness, organize and mobilize farmworkers. An important part of consciousness-raising would be to expose the lack of legis-lative protection, to create public awareness of the issue and to build sup-port for 'the cause'. It was hoped that this would pressure the government to extend existing legislation to farmworkers. The long-term goals of the FWOC were to "build links with the trade union movement in order to solidify 13 the strength and effectiveness of a union for farmworkers!'. Creating a sense of common consciousness and purpose was perhaps one of the more daunting tasks faced by the FWOC. Initially, this was done by talk-ing to farmworkers in the fields, in their homes (or cabins on farms) and in the Sikh temples. It was pointed out to individual workers that thousands of other farmworkers shared their experience, and that they were one of only two groups of workers in B.C. denied workers' compensation and minimum wages. By identifying a group sharing a common language, cultural heritage and employ-ment experience, and by comparing the group's circumstances, wealth and sta-tus with those of other groups, the FWOC was able to create a measure of •consciousness of kind' among farmworkers. Colourful Punjabi cultural prog-rammes were featured at meetings and events, and the Punjabi drum was used 14 at demonstrations, "to give a cultural coding to the militancy". The main enemy identified by the FWOC was the labour contractor. As a number of farmworkers had had first-hand experience of the vagaries of the contract system (described in Chapter Three), and as many of them had had problems collecting their wages, they were able to recognize the FWOC's -75-analysis of the situation. Farmers, meanwhile, were not seen so much as en-emies as mere participants in the system, who had their own problems. Ultim-ately, however, the FWOC saw that while farmers and contractors could change their individual practices, farmworkers' rights could only be guaranteed by extensions of labour legislation. Therefore, the government was to be the FWOC's ultimate target for pressure. The third major task faced by the Committee was that of convincing farm-workers that sufficient power could be mobilized and strategies developed which could effectively produce a change in conditions. To this end, the Committee members described the struggle and achievements of Caesar Chavez and the United Farmworkers of America, which had undertaken collective action and used the tools of strikes and boycotts to great effect.in California. Mobilization of the workforce, the enlisting of public support and recogni-tion as a legitimate body were posited as the pre-requisites of success. In addition, the FWOC tried to convince farmworkers that participation in the struggle was laudable: farmworkers would not just be fighting for their own benefit, they would be fighting 'injustice'. Strategies of Resistance: Phase 1 - 'Going Public' We immigrants who t i l l the soil and harvest the crop of Canada came to this country because we believed i t would be a land of opportunity.justice and equality. We came here with great dreams. We have seen the seeds of those dreams grow into a bitter bitter harvest. A harvest of discrimination, a harvest of poverty, a harvest of sick-ness, a harvest of death. 15 The immediate strategy of the FWOC was to 'go public', in the hope of achieving some quick results which would inspire the confidence of farmwork-ers. Because the Committee members felt that "a drastic changein status re-lationships was required",'1'^ they decided that "the i n i t i a l mode of interven-17 jtion had to be a contest or disruption in order to highlight the issues". -76-In March 1979, the FWOC sponsored and participated in a National Film Board film about farmworking conditions in the Fraser Valley. Entitled "A Time to Rise", the film was intended to be used both as an organizing tool and as a public information vehicle, aimed at winning public sympathy. Its emphasis is on the farmworkers themselves, rather than the leaders. The film also devotes significant time to interviews with farmers and contractors, who are given the opportunity to air their views on farmwork conditions and union-18 ization. On April 19th 1979, the FWOC held a public meeting, which addressed the issues of long hours, low wages, lack of sanitary facilities, pesticides, the piece-rate system and the contractor system. G i l l observed that "the ex-19 istence of these conditions seemed to startle the general public". 7 The following day, an article entitled "Valley Farmers Practise Slavery" appeared in the Vancouver Sun. The government's response was almost instantaneous. The incumbent Minister of Labour, Allan Williams, ordered an investigation into farm labourers' working conditions to "ascertain whether there is any 20 exploitation, and the extent of i t " . The timing of Williams' move coincided with an upcoming provincial election campaign. However, the eventual results of the investigation are unknown. Next, the FWOC planned to enlist public support via an extensive press campaign designed to highlight living and working conditions. It was hoped that the government would be 'persuaded* to extend existing laws to cover farmworkers, once the 'unpleasant truth' was exposed and the legitimacy of the FWOC's claims was recognized. The support of the media was essential and easily attained. The archaic conditions of farmwork made good copy, i f nothing else. Newspaper articles appeared with increasing regularity, and the FWOC was also featured on several television news reports. -— The Committee then made contacts with church groups, community organ--77-izations, student groups and the gurdwaras, many of which were to make small donations of funds. Two university professors and several lawyers from the B.C. Law Union joined the FWOC to offer support and legal advice. The FWOC also took out membership of the National Anti-Poverty Organization. Even-tually, in May 1979. the Committee set up a modest.office. One of the main hurdles to creating and sustaining public support was the counter-attack posed by farmers, who claimed that unionization would mean higher wages and therefore higher food prices. The FWOC submitted a brief to the Minister of Labour, deploring low wages and unsatisfactory working con-ditions. To the Committee's surprise, the incumbent Minister of Manpower and Immigration, the late Mr. Robert Andras, stated in an interview with The Col-umbian that "the doubling of farmworkers' wages would add only 1.5 cents per 21 pound to the retail cost of tomatoes...". For a time, i t seemed as i f persuasion might be a sufficient strategy. The FWOC's fi r s t major conflict, and its f i r s t victory, came on July 17 1979. It began with a dispute between labour contractors, Surjit and Ajit Grewall and Mukhtiar Singh, owner of Mukhtiar Growers Ltd. of Clearbrook. Mukhtiar, claiming that the Grewalls had supplied inadequate labour to his operation, witheld payment to the contractors, who then could not pay the $100,000 owed their workers for six weeks' labour. The workers requested assistance from the FWOC and on July 17th, several dozen Committee members joined two hundred workers on the picket lines. At fi r s t , Mukhtiar offered only $40,000, but after two hours of negotiations, handed over a cheque for $80,000, which Chouhan cashed and distributed. Mukhtiar also Issued a pub-l i c apology for calling the FWOC leaders "dumb bastards" who "only want to 22 become big-shot union bosses" in an interview with the Vancouver Express. Raj Chouhan issued the following warning: If this grower, or any other farmer raises this kind of problem again, we'll be right back out here -78-We're going to keep on educating workers how to use their strength to demand their rights. 23 With the taste of victory s t i l l fresh, a meeting was held at Abbotsford Airport Hall at the end of July, attended by two hundred people. Chouhan used the opportunity to expose "a cynical scheme cooked up by the farmers who are frightened by the success of the organizing effort among farmwork-24 ers". The farmers had proposed to sponsor Vietnamese refugees to do farm-work, allowing them to live in the cabins "in exchange for a l i t t l e plucking 25 and tugging". J Chouhan replied to threat of replacement by * boat people': The proposal uses a humanitarian mask to cover a most contemptible exploitative intention. Given the present atrocious conditions of work for farm labour and the fact that there are no laws to protect them, this prop-osal amounts to an attempt to reap profit from the mis-ery of people cast away from their own homeland. 26 Two weeks later, the FWOC received its f i r s t threats of violence. Des-pite rumours allegedly spread by farmers and contractors that " i f a member of 27 the Organizing Committee got killed, nobody would be talking about a union", forty-two workers marched through the fields of Matsqui. They were hoping to inspire other farmworkers to join the FWOC, as well as make a public state-ment to the growers and contractors of their intention to organize in defence of their rights. According to some officers of the FWOC, there have been many such threats of violence. Some unidentified parties have been respon-sible for a number of incidents, including breaking windows, setting fire to 28 union members' cars and making threatening telephone calls. The winter of 1979 was spent signing up members, staging rallies and lobbying the government. In November 1979, the FWOC "helped [farmworkers] 29 channel their anger...over governmental inaction", by organizing a march to the Social Credit Convention. Premier Bennett and Labour Minister, Allan Williams, were presented with a seven thousand name petition, calling for the 30 extension of labour standards legislation to farm and domestic workers. -79-The demonstrators were assured that there would be action during that session of the B.C. Legislature, which would protect farmworkers.^1 Direct confront-ation of members of the government in conspicuous places was a tactic design-ed to force the latter to make public commitments. If action was not then forthcoming, the government could be •embarrassed* for having reneged on a promise made to a group, whose legitimacy had been sanctioned by the signa-tures of seven thousand members of the electorate. The technique of persuasion of the Social Credit government thus far had only succeeded in securing a vague promise that the situation would be investigated and, i f warranted, rectified. In fact, the technique was far more effective in gaining support from other groups. The FWOC had already started making overtures to the trade union movement, initially through the IWA, and later the B.C. Federation of Labour (BCFL) and the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC). But ironically, i t was not until the formation of the rival Farm Workers Defence Committee (FWDC) that the CLC added $40,000 to the $10,000 donation from the B.C. Government Employees Union.^ Whether or not the CLC's sudden willingness to back the 'moderate' FWOC was a result of the animosity between the CLC and the more 'extreme' left-wing groups, the entry of the FWDC into the arena had significant effects upon the organizational environment of Chouhan's group. The latter felt, with some justification, that the rival FWDC had 'muscled in' after the original group had laid the foundations of agitation for farmworkers' and the public's support. The FWDC had been formed on March 23rd 1980, by the East Indian Defence Committee (EIDC), itself an off-shoot of Hardlal Bains* Communist Party of Canada, Marxist/Leninist (CPCML)?^ The FWDC was formed, according to its constitution, "to fight to defend the basic interests of farmworkers against 34 a l l their exploiters and oppressors", and was to be "a militant union... completely free of the corrupt practices and class collaborationist policies -80-of the B.C. Fed. and C.L.C.".35 The established rivalry between IPANA/BCOFR on one side, and CFC-ML/EIDC on the other, extended to a bitter battle bet-ween Chouhan's Farmworkers Organizing Committee and Charles Boylan's Farm Workers Defence Committee. The negative effects of this struggle were four-fold. First, the FWOC diverted a great deal of valuable time and energy to denouncing its rival when i t needed to be focusing on the 'real' issues; sec-ond, i t further polarized the East Indian community into 'camps' (even though the EIDC did not carry mass support among the community); third, i t undermined the credibility of Chouhan's group, as confusion increased as to who repre-sented what, how and why; and fourth, i t alienated a number of farmworkers who found themselves unwilling prizes in a pitched battle for their allegi-ance, so that they mistrusted the motives of both sides. The positive eff-ects of the battle, however, were that i t identified the FWOC as the more moderate group, and this led to positive support from the trade union move-ment (in the form of funds) and positive sanctions from the government (in 36 the form of recognition as 'the better of two evils'). However, the FWDC's competition was soon to be dissipated, as i t was subsequently de-certified at Cho's Mushroom Farm, after i t s small membership there became disillusioned. The entry of another 'enemy' (FWDC) forced members of the original group to re-examine both their analysis of the situation and their strategies. Charan G i l l noted that i t was important to "empathize with the targeted ele-ments" in order to assess more accurately "where pressure may be applied most 37 tellingly". This was an area in which the FWOC experienced great d i f f i c -ulty, for as G i l l pointed out, "identifying with the target might also rob 38 one of the ability to act as assertively as necessary". The retention of emotional commitment and at the same time, objectivity, was made especially difficult by the fact that FWOC members were working three or four hours dai-ly after their regular jobs, as well as during weekends and general holidays. -81-In order to protect volunteers from 'burn out' and to sustain momentum, i t was decided to establish a formal union with a full-time staff. The Canadian Farmworkers Union? Phase 2 - Recognition and Bargaining The Canadian Farmworkers Union, Local #1 was founded on April 7th 1980, at the Carpenters' Hall in New Westminister. One hundred and f i f t y farmwork-ers attended to elect union officers and to pass the Union's f i r s t resolu-tions. On April 6th, an enthusiastic crowd of five hundred and f i f t y people attended a rally in Vancouver to celebrate the founding of the fi r s t union for farmworkers in Canada. Chouhan said at the rally: For farmworkers, the achievement of a union will mean an end to the long history of being the most underpaid and exploited section of Canadian workers. For the Canadian labour movement, this achievement will be a landmark be-cause i t will mean the entrance of a very significant section of the workforce into the movement of organized labour. 39 Caesar Chavez of the United Farmworkers of America had come from California to offer the CFU his f u l l support and to give B.C. growers a warning: Farmworkers have been forgotten around the world. Now our duty, our obligation, is to make a common cause, to stand, to work, to struggle, to end poverty and exploitation, and above a l l , to gain recognition. 40 Chavez also recommended strikes and boycotts and pledged f u l l UFWA support when the time came. He noted that although "they [the growers and government] 4-1 have the money, we have the time". Recognition was the key to the CFU's next strategy in conflict. Formal recognition as a bona fide trade union would l i f t the organization from the status of pressure group to that of a legitimate bargaining unit. Thus, on June 26th 1980, the CFU announced that i t had made its f i r s t application for certification by the Labour Relations Board (LRB), having signed up 55% of the employees of Jensen's Mushroom Farms Ltd. of Langley. Jensen contested the Union's application, arguing that i t was not a bona fide union and that -82-42 i t did not represent 55* of his workforce. But after two days of hearings, the LRB ruled in favour of the Union and granted the CFU the right to serve 43 notice to "bargain in good faith". J Good faith seemed to be the element lacking in the Driediger affair, the CFU's second major struggle. On June 29th 1980, an information picket line was set up outside George Driediger*s Fort Langley strawberry farm. The Union claims to have held discussions with Murray Driediger, son of the owner and manager of the farm. The Union claims to have reached an agreement with him in April, setting the piece-rate at $3.00 a flat. Chouhan also claims to have a seven-page document detailing the terms of the agreement. However, Driediger later denied a l l knowledge of.the agreement, maintaining that "this 44 union hasn't been certified to represent anybody". He also stated that although he too dislikes the contract system: ...there's just no bloody way we could afford it...Once we sign a contract we can't use non-union labour, and with a perishable crop like ours, one strike and you can kiss your year goodbye. 45 Driediger is one of the many Fraser Valley farmers who is threatening "next year mechanization". The CFU's second certification was at Country Farms Natural Foods Ltd. of Richmond, in August 1980. As at Jensen's, allegations were made of unfair labour practices. The Union claimed that there was a series of lay-offs, suspensions and verbal harrassment soon after the application was made. In early August, the CFU sought and won an LRB ruling against Ron Ferguson, own-46 er of Country Farms. Five employees were laid off after certification, though Ferguson attributed the lay-offs to a slump in business. The year 1980 ended with the Union's f i r s t collective agreement, at Bell Farms Ltd., an eighty-hectare cranberry farm in Richmond. Certification had been granted on September 5th 1980, and the two-year contract signed in Nov-ember provided a 30$ wage increase for twelve regular employees. Increases -83-of between $1*87 and $2.47 an hour boosted farmworkers' pay to $6.67 an hour in January 1981, and $7.67 In January 1982. Seasonal workers received $5.80 an hour in 1981 and $6.67 in 1982. But the most important feature of the Bell Farms contract was its elimination of the middle-man and the introduc-tion of a union hiring hall. Other highlights of the agreement are: union shop1 seniority provisions; a standard eight-hour day; forty-hour week plus overtime; health provisions giving workers f u l l insurance coverage; workers' compensation protection; pay for statutory holidays; equal pay for work of equal value; and a provision that work presently done by bargaining unit mem-47 bers should not be contracted out. The f i r s t National Convention of the CFU was held on March 27-29 1981, at Douglas College, New Westminster. Twenty delegates attended, representing workers from the Fraser Valley, the Okanagan and Ontario. The Convention re-viewed the Union's past year and passed a number of constitutional and policy resolutions. One of the most important resolutions re-emphasized the Union's intentions of setting up hiring halls and a transportation system. It also adopted a resolution urging the National Executive to begin an organizing drive in the Okanagan and in Ontario, where there were 'branches' of sympath-ies izers, but few members. Less Talk. More Action: Phase 3 — Coercion Although now recognized as a legitimate bargaining agent, the CFU, s t i l l bereft of a contract with Jensen, served its f i r s t strike notice on April 7th 1981. The goal of the strike was to win equal pay for women farmworkers, who were earning $4.00 per hour, in contrast to the men's $6.50. Meanwhile, picketing began at Country Farms. Chouhan announced that White Spot Ltd. and McDonald's Consolidated Ltd. had both agreed not to handle Country Farms' alfalfa sprouts. ^° -84-As picketing continued at Jensen's, violence once again broke out in a skirmish between Jensen's daughter, Annie Hall, and Raj Chouhan. Each claim-ed they had been assaulted by the other and both pressed charges, although the R.C.M.P. later decided not to pursue the matter, as the incident had occ-51 ured on the picket line. ^ Indeed, the Jensen picket was marred by sporadic outbursts of violence. Scuffles broke out between contractors and non-union 'scabs', members of the Jensen faction and picketers. Bradley Hall, Jensen's son-in-law, accused the CFU of "picking on" white farmers: Why don't they pick on their own people? A l l the problems with working conditions are with East Indian farms, yet we're the ones they're after. 52 In response, Judith Cavanagh, a CFU organizer, claimed that "East Indian far-53 mers have no special spot in our hearts", and wondered how the Union could be accused of pro-East Indian bias when the fight against labour contractors (who are virtually a l l East Indians) took precedence over the fight against farmers. In any case, accusations were hurled freely at each side from the other. The CFU charged Jensen with reckless driving at pickets. Gn the oth-er hand, Brad Hall claimed that threats against four non-union East Indians forced him to lay them off "for their own safety". ^  On Sunday, May l6th, the CFU defied a Richmond Council order to remove a picket trailer from Country Farms. On April 19th, an information picket line was thrown around the "Naam", a vegetarian restaurant and retailers in Vancouver owned by Ron Ferguson (owner of Country Farms). Ferguson had offered the ten full-time workers at Country Farms $5*94 an hour (from $5«25), whereas the Union was asking for $6.67. One month later, the "Naam" was forced to lay off a third of its workers, and Ferguson (who had once admired Chavez) claimed, "It's a personal thing. They're after me". ^ The CFU's next contract was with Reimer's Nurseries Ltd. of Yarrow. -85-The contract boosted wages from $6.50 to $8.25 an hour, covering twenty-five full-timers and fifteen seasonal workers. Under this contract, the employer was to pay 80% of the costs of medical and dental insurance, plus extended long-term disability plans and group l i f e insurance. The contract also gran-ted a $75 signing bonus, union security and seniority rights. ^ In August, the CFU won an important arbitration against Reimers' Nurser-ies, regarding a case of unfair dismissal. J 7 However, i t s biggest success was the signing of a contract with Jensen's. It has yet to be explained why that particular struggle continued for a year, when under Section 70 of the B.C. Labour Code, the LRB can impose a fir s t collective agreement for one 60 year. Grappling with the Law Although the right to unionize is now seldom questioned, there are many ways in which the process of unionization can be hampered. It was to this issue that the CFU now turned i t s attention. If farmers do not want their workers to unionize, they can prevent union representatives from gaining acc-ess to the workers' living quarters. On September 29th 1981, Sarwan Boal (a CFU organizer), told the LRB that he had been refused access to eight Fra-ser Valley farms.^1 This was the f i r s t occasion on which the Board held a hearing under Section 4 (2) of the Labour Code. This section gives the Board the power to grant access for union representatives to employees who reside on the employer's property. Peter Sheen, representing the eight growers, ar-gued that Section 4- (2) was only meant to apply to isolated fishing and log-ging camps. He argued that the Union had already had "plenty of access", as they had been on thefarms several times before. However, the union repre-sentatives had been violating the law - they had been trespassing. In effect, the-farmers and their counsel were advocating that the CFU continue to break -86-the law, rather than have legal access. By making organizers resort to sur-reptitious means of informing the workers of the benefits of joining the Union, the farmers would retain the power to throw them off their land by whatever means they saw f i t . The LRB's decision of March 1982 noted that the Union had tried to reach farmworkers resident on their employers' properties through advertisements in the Indo-Canadian Times (a Punjabi language newspaper), on local radio pro-62 grammes and in the Sikh temple in Abbotsford. However, Stephen Kelleher, (Chairman of the LRB) noted in his decision that farmworkers were isolated by: ('a) the low literacy rate among East Indian farmworkers (who therefore could not read leaflets)} (b) their lack of transportation to take them off the far-mers' land: (c) the unavailability of telephones} (d) the long working hours; 63 and (e) the paternalistic 'protection' of women workers by farmers. The decision to grant access was based on the issue of whether workers living on farms had less opportunity for contact with the Union than non-residents. Kelleher was careful to point out that i t was not a question of whether workers had had adequate exposure to the Union, as farmers had arg-ued. Negotiations were to decide on terms regarding the number of Union rep-resentatives to be given access, the amount of time they should be permitted on the property, the area where meetings should take place and whether em-64 ployers should be notified of visits. However, the access question i s by no means settled. A series of appeals was submitted by the growers contest-ing the terms, and they are s t i l l pending. ^ However, the most important concession to the farmworkers on the legis-lative front was the Employment Standards Act of August,1980. The provisions of the Act (and its shortcomings) have been discussed in Chapter Two. The Act's effects and implications for the CFU are manifold. First, whether the government Intended the Act as a positive sanction (or reward) to the efforts - 8 7 -of the Union is debatable, but the Act has certainly had the effect of legit-imizing the CFU's claims. Employment Standards represents both a recognition that there is a problem and an acceptance by the government that i t is part-i a l l y responsible for that problem by its legislative discrimination. Second, although the Act's provisions do not cover a l l the CFU's demands, i t repre-sents a compromise of sorts. The CFU had in fact demanded more than i t could realistically expect to gain a l l at once, and in so doing had secured a par-t i a l victory by inducing a change in the government's willingness to concede. From the Union's point of view, the importance of the Act lay in the fact that i t showed the CFU to be an effective pressure group, which could get re-sults, and get them fairly quickly. On the other hand, the Employment Stan-dards Act has also, to an extent, pre-empted the need for further large-scale agitation by the Union. Not only has the public been led to believe (by the claims of Social Credit Ministers^) that the Act has eliminated exploitation of farmworkers, but farmworkers themselves may see no further point in fight-ing for minimum wages, now that they have some legislative protection. They may also calculate that the government has 'given in' quite quickly, but has now given a l l i t intends to give, considering how small and ( s t i l l ) relative-ly powerless a group farmworkers are. Finally, the last important concession for farmworkers was a change, at the Federal level, in Unemployment Insurance Contributions, Regulation 1 6 . This egregious regulation excluded farmworkers from U.1.C. coverage i f they did not work for the same employer for at least twenty-five consecutive days, and i f they did not receive from him at least $ 2 5 0 in earnings. Only farm-workers were subjected to this discrimination, and the only way to get around 67 the regulation was to "submit to the stranglehold of a contractor". On August 3 1 s t 1 9 8 2 , the Federal Employment and Immigration Minister, Lloyd Axworthy, announced the revocation of Regulation 1 6 , making thousands of farm--88-workers eligible for U.I.C. benefits: This change makes the U.I. program more equitable and responsive to economic conditions...we felt that the principle of equity demanded that these workers be insurable in the same way as a l l other Canadian wor-kers . 68 The principle of equity was the basis of the CFU's argument in its re-course to Human Rights legislation. In July 1981, the Union had filed a com-plaint with the B.C. Human Rights Branch, claiming that the exclusion of farm-workers from hourly minimum wage provisions contravened the equal opportunity clauses of B.C.'s (and Canada's) Human Rights Codes. There was some doubt at the time as to whether an investigation of the claim was within the Branch's jurisdiction. Consequently, i t was not until February 1983» that a report was finally released, nearly two years after the previous Commission had de-69 termined its authority to conduct an investigation. The Report, entitled "What This Country Did To Us It Did To Itself", criticized the government's inaction: In failing to act on the previous Commission's recommen-dations, and allowing more than three months to elapse before naming new Commissioners, the government seemed ...to be signalling their indifference. Some people were openly suspicious that the Commission hearings were simply a means of diffusing concern, or merely a sop to reformist groups. 70 The Report also made specific connections between the historical discrimin-ation levelled against East Indians in B.C., and the historical discrimin-ation against farmworkers: When an argument ties clear and pressing problems of safety and unequal treatment before the law to a Can-adian 'tradition of quiet racism', the Human Rights Commission must naturally take notice and respond... It is this kind of climate that feeds indifference to the continuance of inequitable laws. Arguments of farm economics ring false when the workers who con-sistently bear the brunt are ethnic minorities. 71 -89-The Commission's Report recommended that: 1. A l l exclusions and exceptions of farmworkers currently in place under the Employment Standards Act he removed, allowing farmworkers to enjoy the same protection as other workers; 2. The Industrial Camp regulations he implemented and applied immediately; 3. Laws should be enacted to guarantee that a l l Canadian farmworkers have adequate showers, change rooms and laundry facilities. Also, protective clothing and equipment should be required where necessary. 72 Further recommendations were included to extend Workers' Compensation, health, safety and compensation protection to farmworkers (see Appendix B, page 128). The importance of the B.C. Human Rights Commission Report lay in the fact that this is the f i r s t time that the living and working conditions of farmworkers have been acknowledged as a matter of human rights, enshrined in fundamental law. However, as noted in Chapter Two, the government has been quite adept at ignoring the recommendations of its own investigatory commit-tees, so i t i s difficult to predict whether any action will be taken on the H.R.C.'.s recommendations. In the current climate, one suspects not. Where Now? The CFU's current situation raises many questions about its ability to survive in the immediate future. The Union has chosen to pursue public and trade union support and in so doing has neglected to solidify its support base among farmworkers themselves. Its membership now stands at sixteen 73 hundred, out of a farm labour force of some thirteen thousand. In addition, the Union i s acutely short of funds and may be forced to vacate its office on Imperial St., New Westminster, for smaller premises. With i t s attention trained upon the more pressing issue of financial solvency, the Union's organizing ability may well be compromised for the present season (May to September), and its long-term effectiveness may be hampered i f the momentum of last summer i s lost. -90-Another problem with which the Union is beleaguered is the 'burn out' syndrome. A number of the original activists have left the organization re-cently, at least temporarily. Charan G i l l , for example, is now taking a de-gree in Social Work at the University of British Columbia and is no longer active with the Union. Sarwan Boal (another leading CFU organizer) is taking a 'leave of absence'. Harinder Mahill, meanwhile, is now working for the Ministry of Labour as an Industrial Relations Officer and is no longer a mem-74 ber of the 'inner circle' of the Union. However, these problems notwith-standing, i t is possible that the Union will emerge from the current morass in fighting form. Fortunately for the CFU, the government has not removed a l l of the sources of grievances, and as long as there is s t i l l a 'cause', the Union may be able to continue mobilizing support, and in the long-run, strengthen itself. Summary This chapter has outlined the complex process by which the Canadian Farmworkers Union came into existence, in i t i a l l y as the Farmworkers Organ-izing Committee. It has discussed the participants of the struggle, the hur-dles they have had to overcome and the means by which they have done so. We have seen the Union pass through four distinct phases of development and st-rategies, and i t has been shown how the,choice of each strategy has been lim-ited by the objectives of the Union, calculations of the climate of 'public opinion' and whether the government is likely to concede, and ultimately, the power of the organization as its support and resource bases grew. The firststrategy of conflict employed was an attempt to 'persuade' the government to extend protective legislation to farmworkers by preparing factual information, presented in such a way that the justice of 'the cause' would be revealed. In the second stage, when persuasion had proved fruitless, -91-the Union attempted to 'embarrass' the government through an extensive press campaign, designed to expose the inequities of the system and the compliance of a l l relevant parties in the maldistribution of economic and 'symbolic' benefits. Government inertia was argued to be partially responsible for the 'archaic' conditions of farmwork. The Union saw itself as offering the gov-ernment an opportunity to compensate for past i l l s , an offer which, however, the government consistently refused. As the CFU acquired more public and trade union support, i t attained legitimacy through recognition as a certif-ied representative of an aggrieved group. But when co-operation by the growers was not forthcoming and collective bargaining failed, the Union u t i l -ized its fourth strategy of conflict, namely coercion, through strikes and pickets. The chapter has shown that in the i n i t i a l stages, the Union's lack of resources and power forced i t to lobby the government as a pressure group fighting for highly-regarded ideals of social justice and equal opportunity. However, as the Union became more established, i t turned its attention to the growers and contractors and the mechanics of collective bargaining as a trade union. On the other hand, the government's response to pressures from farmwor-kers has traditionally been to ignore them. If 'embarrassed', the government has set up investigatory committees, although in the event, these bodies have inspired l i t t l e in the way of legislative innovation. However, the Employ-ment Standards Act represents a compromise. The government has been forced (arguably by its unwillingness to be seen as a discriminator) to make some concessions to the farmworkers. Yet at the same time, Employment Standards has pre-empted, to an extent, the CFU's raison d'etre , and was followed by an attempt to persuade farmworkers (not to mention the public) that substan-t i a l changes have been made. This, combined with the fact that the Union -92-s t i l l has only sixteen hundred members, seems to put in doubt the Union's immediate survival. However, i f i t manages to weather its current financial problems, the CFU will start from a better bargaining position (or, according to our model, a higher demand curve) at the beginning of the next round of conflict. The CFU has proved itself to be an effective pressure group, and Employment Standards represents a realization of some of the Union's goals. If i t i s politically shrewd, the CFU will be able to use the latest reversal of government promises to extend Workers' Compensation to farmworkers to great advantage. It is possible that the Union will return to some of its former strategies which require fewer resources to be effective. Clearly, there is s t i l l a long way to go before farmworkers are protected from abuse in employ-ment by legislation in the same way as other B.C. workers are. -93-Footnotes There axe an estimated f i f t y or so organizations within the East Indian community of the Lower Mainland, ranging from the Punjabi Society to the India Music Society, from the gurdwara committees to India Club. However, there have not been many specifically political groups, apart from the Ghadr Party, which, however, was an extension of the Indian Independence movement and whose focus was always on Indian politics. Traditionally, the Khalsa Diwan Society, which ran the temples, was also the political arm of the community, taking up issues such as immigration policy and discrimination. However, the KDS was split in 1952, and a more traditionalist group, the Akali Singh Society, set up another tem-ple. In 1973, the East Indian Defence Committee (EIDC) was formed as a response to the growing racial tension, and violent attacks against mem-bers of the community. The EIDC allied itself with the orthodox faction in the gurdwara dispute, took up the Ghadr gauntlet and added fuel to the conflict. Thus, in the 1970's, other specifically political organ-izations emerged from the East Indian community. The East Indian Cit-izens of Canada Welfare Association (EICCWA), an organization formed in 1952 to approach government with one voice over immigration policy, had, by the early 1970's, become virtually defunct. Its successor was the National Association of Canadians of Origins in India (NACOl). A nation-wide organization, NACOI was set up by the Federal Government (wearing it s Multicultural!sm hat) in order to centralize political lobbying and to facilitate bargaining with one organization per ethnic group. However, as NACOI's leadership and support came almost exclusively from the Indo-Canadian elite, the organization has never enjoyed widespread community support, although most other groups do affiliate, i f only as a gesture, with NACOI. The leadership prefers to take a "low-key" approach to pol-i t i c s , and indeed, has only recently declared its support for the C.F.U. NACOI's rival, meanwhile, is the Indian People's Association of North America (IPANA), which is the only other "pan-East Indian" organization in Canada. IPANA was formed in the early 1970's as a response to Indira Gandhi's Emergency in India, though in the mid-1970*s IPANA extended its concerns to Canadian issues. IPANA's approach to political organization i s , like NACOI's, low-key. Because i t has a predominantly Marxist bent, the Association prefers to offer help and support to other groups, rather than take a prominent position in the community's political l i f e . None-theless, although there are only a few political organizations within the East Indian community, they do represent a number of specific and diff-erent political tendencies, which prevent the community from uniting as a cohesive political force. As Ujjal Dosanjh, lawyer and N.D.P. candid-ate said, the East Indian community of B.C. is "politically hyperactive". For more detailed discussions of these organizations and Sikh politics, see Verne Dusenbery's "Candian Ideology and Public Policy: The Impact on Vancouver Sikh 'Ethnic' and 'Religious'Adaptation", (unpublished, Depart-ment of Anthropology, University of Chicago, 1979)» Adrian C. Mayer, "A Report on the East Indian Community in Vancouver", (university of British Columbia mimeo, 1959)? or Ujjal Dosanjh's unpublished paper, "The East Indian Community of Vancouver: A look from Within". By "ethnically segregated" I am referring to the 'insulation' technique practised by the governments of British Columbia since the entry of East Indians to Canada. This has been discussed in Chapter Two with respect to legislative discrimination, which barred East Indians from certain -94-occupations, from the franchise and from effective participation in the political l i f e of the society. Although those statutes have now been repealed, the 'tradition of quiet racism' to which the B.C. Human Rights Commission's Report of 1983 referred, has, to a large extent, perpetuated the isolation of the East Indian community, which has never become fully integrated into white Canadian society. 3. Charan G i l l , "The Birth of the Farmworkers Organizing Committee", (unpub-lished paper, A'aaeouver, 1983), p.4. 4. Ibid., p.5. 5. This has been briefly discussed in f©oi_©te #1. Several people inter-viewed felt that in fact, the C.F.U. was a 'front' organization of IPANA, which was looking for a way to win widespread community support. However, the membership of Raj Chouhan and Harinder Mahill in IPANA does not prove that the C.F,U. i s , or was, IPANA's brainchild. Union officers are un-derstandably reluctant to overplay the importance of their membership of IPANA, as i t i s known for its contingent of Marxists (of various ilks), whereas the C .F .U. i s primarily a trade union in the ordinary sense of the term. 6. Harinder Mahill, now President of IPANA, interviewed on March 16, 1983. 7. B.C.O.F.R. was created in 1975 as a counter-attack on the racial violence of that time. Charan G i l l is its President. B.C.O.F.R. has had several •differences of opinion' with i t s rival, EEDC, members of which have re-portedly attacked B.C.O.F.R. demonstrations (according to Mahill and G i l l ) . 8. G i l l , op. c i t . , p.6. 9. Ibid., p.5. 10. Quoted by G i l l , op. c i t . , p.6. 11. Ibid., p.6. 12. The Globe and Mail. November 26, 1978. 13. G i l l , op. c i t . , p.7. 14. Ibid., p.9. 15. Raj Chouhan, quoted by the B.C. Human Rights Commission Report of Feb-ruary, 1983, p.15. 16. G i l l , op. c i t . , p.7. 17. Ibid., p.8. 18. "A Time To Rise", by Jim Munroe and Anand Patwardhan, a National Film Board production, 1981. 19. G i l l , op. c i t . , p.8. 20. Allan Williams, quoted in B.C. Legislative Assembly Debates. June,1979'343. 95-21. Quoted by The Columbian. August 8, 1979. 22. The Vancouver Express. June 22, 1979. 23. The Vancouver Free Press. August 3-9, 1979, P«8. 24. The Farmworker. August 1979, p . l 6 . 25. Quoted by Ronald Labonte in "Racism and Labours The Struggle of B.C.'s Farmworkers", in Canadian Forum. June/July 1982, p.10. 26. Raj Chouhan, quoted by The Vancouver Sun. August 16, 1979. 27. Raj Chouhan, quoted by The Vancouver Sun. August 27, 1979. 28. Several C.F.U. organizers interviewed reported physical violence and verbal harrassment by telephone calls. In the summer of 1981, Sarwan Boal, a union representative, was attacked in a bar while out celebrating the formation of the Union, and was hospitalized for several days. There is no proof, however, that such attacks are committed by farmers, contrac-ors or their associates. So far, the Police have not managed to detain any suspects. 29. G i l l , op. ci t . , p.11. 30. Karen Sanford referred to this assurance on May 2, 1980. (See B.C. Leg-islative Assembly Debates. May, 1980s 2245.) 31. Ibid. 32. Information supplied by Raj Chouhan, November 24, 1982. 33. The Communist Party of Canada/Marxist-Leninist, was founded by Hardial Bains and holds Albania to be the only true communist state in the world. It is difficult to ascertain the size of its membership, and its leaders, such as Charles Boylan, are reluctant to disclose the party's sources of funds, or indeed, support. The Party is generally viewed as an extreme left group, and there is l i t t l e evidence, despite its claims that i t is a mass party, that the C.P.C./M.L. has a significant following. 34. See "A Brief Account of the Organization of Cho's Mushroom Farm in Surrey by the General Farm and Allied Workers Union Local No.l", (unpublished, produced by the G.F.A.W.U., November 17, 1980),p.2. The G.F.A.W.U.'s version of the organization of Cho's i s considerably at variance with the C.F.U.'s version. The former accused the C.F.U. of trying to 'raid' Cho's and of harrassing Cho's workers. The C.F.U. mean-while, claims that Boylan's group falsely represented themselves as mem-bers of the C.F,U., in order to recruit workers from Cho * s into the G.F.A.W.U. In any case, Cho's has since been decertified (the G.F.A.W:;U. had won certification from the L.R.B. in November, 1980). 35. Ibid., p .3 . 36. This i s not to argue that without the entry of the F.W.D.C., the F.W.O.C. could not and would not have eventually been recognized. But in the long and precarious business of proving a new union's legitimacy and ability -96-to sustain itself and its support, the existence of a 'fringe' party rivaling the efforts of the more 'moderate' group often secures support for the latter group, i f only because of the established trade unions' fear of losing their own relatively conservative support base. 37. G i l l , op. c i t . , p.11. 38. Ibid. 39• Raj Chouhan, quoted by G i l l , op. c i t . , p.13. 40. The Farmworker. September, 1980, p.l. 41. The Vancouver Sun. April 28, 1980. 42. Peter Sheen, interviewed October 18, 1982. Sheen had represented eight growers of the Fraser Valley who had contested union access to the farms in 1981/2, but had left the case to take up a position at the Labour Relations Board. According to Sheen, recognition as a bona fide union involves an investigation by the L.R.B. into the applicant's formation, membership, goals and constitutions to determine that the organization is a trade union, as opposed to a purely political organization. Accor-ding to the B.C. Labour Code, a union, once recognized as such, must have a 55# majority of supporters (ascertained by a vote) in a work-place before a certification can be granted. 43. Under the Labour Code, notice of an intention to bargain must be served to the employers, and the server must also have the intention to bargain "in good faith" and be committed to any agreement that is reached as a result of fa i r bargaining. Where parties become deadlocked (or where one party is not prepared to negotiate), the Board is empowered to impose a f i r s t collective agreement for one year. 44. The Province. June 29, I 9 8 O . 45. The Financial Post. July 26, 1980. 46. The Vancouver Sun. August 7, 1980. 47. The Province. November 20, 1980. 48. The Farmworker. April, 1981. 49. Like women in other areas of employment, women farmworkers are s t i l l sub-ject to wage differentials on the basis of sex. "Equal pay", the goal of the strike at Jensen's, refers to equal pay for comparable work. 50. The Vancouver Sun, April 15, 1981. 51. Raj Chouhan, interviewed November 24, 1982. 52. The Globe and Mail. April 27, 1981. 53. The Vancouver Sun. April 28, I 9 8 I . 54. The Globe and Mail. April 27, 1981. -97-55. The Vancouver Sun. May 16, 1981. 56. The Vancouver Sun. June 27, 1981. 57. The Vancouver Sun. May 16, 1981. 58. The Vancouver Sun. June 27, 1981. 59. The Overseas Times. August 12, 1982. 60. This has heen mentioned in footnote #43. Members of the CFU who were interviewed seem to think that while the Board could not avoid granting certification under the Labour Code's provisions, the L.R.B. was not . keen to assist the Union above and beyond the imperatives imposed by the Code. It was thought that because the area was such a controversial one, the Board wished to be seen as impartial, and thus preferred the parties to reach their own agreement. Jensen's was seen more as a test-case than as a normal case of collective bargaining. 61. The Province. September 29, 1981. 62. See Labour Relations Board of B.C. - Decision no. 11/82, p.4. 63. Ibid., p.5. 64. Ibid., p.14. 65. Barry Dong, counsel for the eight growers, was unwilling to disclose the grounds of the growers' appeals, although one of the growers (who pref-erred to remain anonymous) indicated that he disapproved of the Union's tactics and was intending to make i t as difficult as possible for them to gain access to his farm. 66. Colin Gabelmann refered to these claims in B.C. Legislative Assembly Debates, Second Session, 1980s 4026. 67. "What This Country Did To Us It Did To Itself", (Report of the B.C. Human Rights Commission, February, 1983), p . l 6 . 68. Ministry of Employment and Immigration release, August 31. 1982. 69. The B.C. Human Rights Commission was set up by the New Democratic Party Government's only term in office from 1972-5' Its original head was the radical Kathleen Ruff, who was replaced by Hanne Jensen by the next Social Credit government. The incumbent head of the Branch i s Dr. Charles Paris. Hanne Jensen had taken legal advice in 1981 to determine whether the Branch was legally qualified to deal with the CFU's com-plaint. After long deliberation, i t was decided that the Branch was entitled to investigate the complaint and a small-scale inquiry was begun in May, 1981. However, government re-shuffles led to changes in the Branch's personnel, so that the final report did not appear until February, 1983. 70. B.C. Human Rights Commission Report, p.4. 71. Ibid., pp.10-15. -98-72. Ibid., p.23. 73' Information supplied by Raj Chouhan, interviewed November 24, 1982. 74. Information supplied by Harinder Mahill. -99-CHAPTER FIVE "YOU CAN'T LEGISLATE LOVE" Previous chapters have argued that because British Columbia's farmwork-ing population has been politically powerless in the past, there has been no incentive for governments to switch their political coquetry from the growers to the farmworkers. However, the 1980 Employment Standards Act does repre-sent a shift in policy in favour of farmworkers. Thus far, this shift has been explained as being a result of pressure exerted by the CFU upon the Soc-i a l Credit government. The CFU's publicity campaign succeeded not only in attracting public support, but also in embarrassing the government, which was made to appear, at the least, negligent in its protection of disadvantaged groups. It was argued that the hasty amendments to the laws affecting farm-workers were prompted by the government's anxiousness to avert public censure, as well as to perhaps "take the sting out of the Union's t a i l " . * However, this chapter argues that another explanation for the amendments was the imminence of the passage of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Free-doms, under the Constitution Act of 1981. Undoubtedly, the repercussions of the Charter will be felt for many years to come, as litigation determines the functional definitions of the Charter's provisions. However, the brief discussion presented here will deal only with the Charter as a causal factor in the legislative changes being made in compliance with the non-dis-crimination clauses of the Charter. Finally, the chapter discusses the notion of- discriminatory purpose versus disproportionate impact, with a view to re-solving the question of the validity of the 'political expediency' argument. "The People's Package" The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms of 1981 is now on its way to becoming 'fundamental law', which means that any legislation proposed by -100-Federal or Provincial governments which does not conform to its provisions is automatically considered invalid. A preliminary version of the Charter had been offered for public debate in 1980, a draft which, although somewhat altered during the course of the next year, contained the same basic elements as the final version. Given that discussions of the Charter and the Constit-ution were held between many levels of Federal and Provincial governments (and especially between the provincial Premiers and Prime Minister Trudeau, who had been pressing for such a document for many years), the B .C. govern-ment was aware of the anti-discrimination clauses which were bound to be in-cluded in the Charter. It also seems likely that the government bore the Charter in mind when i t passed the Employment Standards Act, as i t appears to have reversed many (though not all) of the discriminatory provisions against farmworkers which have existed since the turn of the century. Of the "Equality Rights" provisions of the Charter, i t can be predicted that Section 15 is the one most likely to be raised in litigation. Section 15 reads: 15 (l) Every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination and, in particular, without discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability. 2 This section is of particular relevance to farmworkers because, as we have seen in previous chapters, they have never enjoyed either equal protec-tion or equal benefit of the law, and as East Indians, have been discrimin-ated against on the basis of race (as demonstrated in Chapter Two). Section 15 (l) is particularly important in that i t contains the "equal-ity before the law" (from interpretations in English and Canadian constitu-tional law) with the American Fourteenth Amendment "equal protection of the law" clause. It also introduces two novel clauses affirming both "equality under the law" and "equal benefit of the law". 3 Although these clauses have -101-s t l l l to be legally defined, we have also seen that farmworkers have certain-ly never enjoyed equal protection of (labour) laws, or equal benefit of the law, by virtue of the fact that discrimination levelled against them has been clearly pernicious to their interests, and clearly intentionally so. The case that one of the B.C. government's motivations for Employment  Standards was the imperative of the Charter's non-discrimination clause is verified by Section 32 (2). This section delays the coming into force of Section 15 for three years. Peter Hogg, in his comparison of the Charter with the previous Canadian B i l l of Rights, identifies the function of the clause: The reason for the delay is apparently to give the two levels of government time to review their statute books and enact any amendments required to eliminate discrim-inatory provisions. Therefore, for three years from the coming into force of this Charter there will be no effective equality clause in the Charter. 4 The inclusion of Section 32(2) in the Charter indicates that both provincial and federal levels of government are aware that legislation which discrimin-ates against minorities (of the categories mentioned in Section 15) is cur-rently in operation on the statute books. ^ However, the clause which has caused most concern among c i v i l libertar-ians is the "override" clause. The Charter, by Section 33, expressly permits the Federal Parliament or any Provincial Legislature to exempt a statute from compliance with certain provisions of the Charter. Section 33 (l) provides: 33 (l) Parliament or the Legislature of a province may expressly declare in an Act of Parliament or of the Legislature, as the case may be, that the Act or provision thereof shall operate notwith-standing a provision included in s.2 or ss.7 to 15 of this Charter. 6 The "notwithstanding" clause means that a government wishing to impose a limit to a guaranteed right or freedom (or wishing to preclude any legal question under Section 1 of whether or not a particular statute is a "reason-- 1 0 2 -able limit" which can he "demonstrably j u s t i f i e d i n a free and democratic society") has the power to do so. I t i s l i k e l y that popular opinion w i l l act as a constraint against the l i b e r a l use of Section 33, but i t s existence none-theless provides a means of escape from the Charter without the necessity of a constitutional amendment. I t remains to be seen whether the inclusion of Section 33 w i l l i n fact undermine the meaningfulness and purpose of the Char-ter altogether. Whatever the case, i t i s clear that the Charter offers no unassailable guarantee of equality (or other) rights for minorities. The Burden of Proof As mentioned above, Section 1 of the Charter i s important, not only be-cause i t allows limitations to be imposed on certain 'rights', but also be-cause i t requires such limits to be j u s t i f i e d according to certain principles. Section 1 provides: 1 . The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees the rights and freedoms set out i n i t subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be dem-onstrably j u s t i f i e d i n a free and democratic society. 7 Although the terms of the section are somewhat vague and have yet to be de-fined by the courts, i t i s certain that i t refers to the burden of proof. There w i l l s t i l l be a presumption of the constitutionality of laws as i n the past, when the party alleging the invalidity of a statute had to discharge the burden of proof. However, there i s a shift in the burden of proof as presented in Section 1 . The "reasonable limits" prescribed by law w i l l have to be "demonstrably j u s t i f i e d " by the party imposing the limits, namely, the Federal and Provincial governments. Herbert Marx predicts that Section 1 : . . . w i l l certainly give litigants a f a i r e r chance i n con-testing enactments that may be inconsistent with the Char-ter . Statutes, Orders, regulations and by-laws that are on their face offensive to the Charter would apparently be presumed invalid unless ruled otherwise. 8 -103-This shift in the burden of proof in favour of litigants follows recent developments in American constitutional law. With the growth of the C i v i l Rights movement in the 1960's, the U.S. Supreme Court began to address the problem of discrimination practised under the cover of facially neutral laws or official decisions. The central question was whether the emphasis should be placed on the presence of a racially discriminatory purpose on the part of the decision-maker or on the disproportionate impact of the action taken under a facially neutral law or official decision. The case of Washington v. Davis in 1976 was highly significant in that i t addressed the question of whether proof of discriminatory purpose is nec-o essary or sufficient. The Justices concluded that a showing of dispropor-tionate impact, standing alone, was sufficient for a constitutional claim of invidious discrimination. However, they did not feel empowered to declare laws unconstitutional unless a discriminatory purpose was established. In advocating reliance on a discriminatory purpose rather than a disproportion-ate impact, the Court re-affirmed the value of equal treatment, while recog-nizing that the harmfulness of a disproportionate impact was extremely impor-tant. However, the emphasis on discriminatory purpose is possibly inappropri-ate on several grounds. First, i t is very difficult, i f not impossible, to prove intent in the absence of self-confessed statements from the alleged discriminator. John Gates notes that "rarely is a racially discriminatory purpose susceptible to direct p r o o f a n d that i t is unreasonable "to as-sume that i l l i c i t motives would always be conceded either in testimony or in the decision-making process". 1 1 Further, Justice Black considered the dis-criminatory purpose standard to be pointless: [T]here is an element of fu t i l i t y in a judicial attempt to invalidate a law because of the bad motives of its support-ers. If the law is struck down for this reason rather than -104-because of its facial content or effect, i t would presumably be valid as soon as the legislature or other relevant govern-ing body repassed i t for different reasons. 12 In other words, i f a statute is invalidated for i l l i c i t purposes, i t can none-theless be readopted for l i c i t purposes. Such an action would be consistent with governments' common practices of re-enacting laws with different wording, presenting different rationales for essentially the same policies. There is some debate over the u t i l i t y of the discriminatory purpose stan-dard, given that i t is very difficult to prove intent. A possible remedy to this problem, however, would be to require that the alleged discriminator prove that the discrimination was neither intentional or racially motivated: By shifting the burden of proof to the defendant, the pre-sumption ensures the presentation of a l l relevant evidence and places the burden on the party who is best able to gather such evidence. 13 Although some legal scholars have maintained that discriminatory purpose can be proved by inference, i t is almost always possible for governments to create rationalizations for policies, arguing that discriminatory impact was neither foreseen nor planned. As Justice Stewart pointed out in 1979« •Discriminatory purpose'...implies that...the state legislature selected or reaffirmed a particular course of action at least in part 'because o f , not merely 'in spite o f its adverse effects on an identifiable group. 14 Concerning minorities in Canada, or in our case, farmworkers, i t was possible to prove racialist motivations in the past, when i t was freely admitted that certain laws were designed to keep "Asiatic" groups out of Canada, or at , least out of potentially powerful economic and political positions. But to-day, such motivation, i f present, can only be 'proved' by inference. At best, i t could be argued that policies have been enacted in spite of their adverse effects on farmworkers in recent years. Such an argument shifts the discussion to the relative weight of adverse effects in determining whether laws are to be invalidated on the grounds that -105-they axe pernicious to the interests of minorities. It is possible for a law to discriminate by intent, while not substantially harming the interests of any particular group. Therefore, the cases that concern us here axe those where the impact of discrimination is disproportionate and harmful. As Justice Skelly Wright noted: [T]he arbitrary quality of thoughtlessness can be as dis-astrous ...to private rights and the public interest as the perversity of a willful scheme. 15 Glenn Manishin has discussed the cumulative effects of discrimination against minorities, suggesting that poverty, poor education and racial i s o l -ation are largely a consequence of past discrimination: ...racially disproportionate impact itself is to a large extent a consequence of...the long history of intentional discrimination...since the era of slavery...Facially neutral practices that have a racially differential impact reflect a subtle form of racism in the sense of blindness to minority welfare, a prejudice often perceived as the functional equivalent of intentional discrimination by virtue of the practical harm i t causes. 16 Manishin argues that where the harm caused by the disproportionate impact is high, and facially neutral practices therefore conflict substantially with the goal of racial equality, defendants should have to "demonstrate the prac-17 tice's substantial and immediate relation to neutral ends". Manishin also proposes that in order to measure the degree of harm caused, courts should consider: (1) the relative degree of racially disproportionate impact} (2) the absolute number of individuals affected disadvan-tageously; (3) whether the group in question is disadvantaged by other procedures in the same field of activity} (4) whether the racial group/s in question suffers from the continuing effects of past discrimination. 18 In the case of farmworkers, the disproportionate impact i s substantial, particulaxlyas they are continually singled out for exemptions from protective -106-legislatlon. Farmworkers are, without question, disadvantaged by other pro-cedures in their 'field' of activity (as shown in Chapter Three) and moreover, they are undoubtedly suffering from the effects of past discrimination. With compound discrimination combining past and present negative effects on the living and working conditions of farmworkers, i t seems academic to have to prove discriminatory purpose on the part of legislators. Manishin further suggests that where certain interests are served by policies which have dis-proportionate impacts (that i s , where negative impact is admitted but just-ifi e d on the grounds of 'expediency'), courts should consider: (1) the extent to which important social objectives, such as an efficient allocation of resources or the delivery of essential services, would in fact be served by con-tinued use of the procedure; (2) the availability of alternative procedures that could serve the 'neutral' policy aim without resulting in racially disproportionate impact; (3) the extent to which any racially disproportionate im-pact was foreseeable. 19 As far as farmworkers are concerned, i t is clear that disproportionate impact has been intentional, given that they were chosen from ethnic minorities who could easily be exploited and treated as cheap labour, and given that laws have been enacted specifically to herd certain minorities into the lowest-paying, lowest status jobs. The historical basis of the current situations of such minorities as farmworkers will certainly be of central importance to future litigation, and the morality of discrimination will have to be meas-ured against the economic interests of farmers and agribusiness. What Use Is Law? Thus far, i t has been implicitly assumed that legislation represents the optimal vehicle for the redress of unjustified discrimination against ethnic minorities. There can be l i t t l e doubt that while, by and large, the -10?-law is an effective means of controlling behaviour, i t is not equal to the task of inducing a change in people's hearts. This limitation is particul-arly important when one considers ethnic minorities, because the most harmful forms of discrimination they suffer are in areas beyond the reach of the law. Institutionalized and individual racism are two forms of unequal treatment which can prevent ethnic minority members from participating in certain occ-upations, social activities or the 'normal' l i f e of the larger community -they can deny the means towards making an adequate living and acquiring sta-tus. The B.C. Human Rights Commission Report of February, 1983, addressed this problem of the limitations of the law and concluded that: [T]he law deals with the possible; i t seeks to change what can be changed. If we do not change people's attitudes, at least let us change their actions. 20 If the law "embodies, to some extent, the leading notions of morality in 21 a community", then there is scope for the law to affect morals. On this point, Poller, in "Law, Conscience and Society", concluded: I believe that the reduction or elimination of discrimination will inevitably lead to the reduction and elimination of bias and prejudice. I submit that external attitudes and behaviour influence internal convictions and emotions...This conclusion rests basically on my conviction that a l i f e of mental reser-vations, of hypocritical compliances and hidden hostilities is a burden unbearable for the majority of decent human beings. 22 If i t is true that external behaviour influences internal convictions, then the question i s , what can more certainly create and perpetuate racism (and thus, discrimination) than state legislation, which not only sanctions but enshrines discrimination? Summary This chapter has argued that one explanation of the passage of the B.C. government's 1980 Employment Standards Act is offered by the presence of the -108-non-discrimination clauses of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. This explanation was supported by the existence of Section 32 (2), which postpones the operative date of the Equality Rights clauses for three years, apparently to give both levels of government a chance to revise their discri-minatory statutes. Two possible catches to the Charter are the "non-obstante" and the "reasonable limits" clauses (sections 33 and 1 respectively), which allow Parliament or the provincial Legislatures to exempt certain categories of people from certain "rights" under certain circumstances. Now that the value of equality (of treatment and opportunity, protection and benefit of the law) has been affirmed by the Charter, however, i t seems highly likely that racial discrimination will be the subject of much l i t i g -ation. Apart from individual suits concerning personal discrimination, one can expect a number of cases to challenge legislative discrimination. The question is then bound to arise whether proof of a discriminatory purpose is required, or whether proof of a disproportionately harmful impact is suffic-ient to invalidate discriminatory laws. In any case, the burden of proof seems to be shifting in favour of litigants contesting the validity of sta-tutes, leaving the onus on alleged discriminators to prove that negative eff-ects are either not intentionally harmful, or are a justified sacrifice to some greater end. For groups such as farmworkers, victims of both historical and current discrimination, the Charter could be of immense significance, as i t will give them recourse to 'fundamental law', and could decide how they are to be trea-ted in the future. It is tempting to believe that the situation of groups like farmworkers is an unfortunate hang-over from the past. In fact, i t is an unfortunate consequence of our willingness now to continue to treat some unseen and seldom heard sections of the Canadian community as second class citizens. It is this not-so-benign neglect that the Charter will challenge. -109-Footnotes 1. Jagjiv Kartha, student of Agricultural Relations, interviewed March 24, 1983. 2. See the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, in The Constitution Act of 1981, Section 15 ( l ) • In fact, during the debates over the equality clauses, one of the main concerns was that facilities could not be pro-vided for the physically disabled in a l l public places without great ex-penditures by Federal and provincial governments. The prohibition of discrimination on the basis of race was apparently a foregone conclusion, and disagreements generally concerned the wording of the section. 3. For a good discussion of the differentiation between these ostensibly similar terms, see W. Tarnopolsky and Gerald Beaudoin, The Canadian Char-ter of Rights and Freedoms - A Commentary. (Human Rights Research and Education Centre, University of Ottawa, 1982), Chapter 13, "The Equality Rights", pp.359-6. 4. Peter Hogg, "A Comparison of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms with the Canadian B i l l of Rights", in Tarnopolsky and Beaudoin, op. c i t . , p.20. 5. Of course, there may be many laws which inadvertently discriminate again-st ethnic minorities, in conjunction with other factors, such as poor education, which may deny access to certain jobs etc. The compound effects of discrimination in multiple areas may incapacitate minority group members to a massive extent, so that the sum of discriminatory effects is much greater than each of their separate parts. However, for the purposes of compliance with Section 15, Federal and provincial gov-ernments can only try to remove elements of discrimination which can be demonstrated as having direct effects. 6. It is significant that the "notwithstanding" (or "non-obstante") clause applies to the "equality rights" sections (as well as to Sections 2, 7, 8, 9» 10 and l l ) , which are probably the most important provisions of the Charter. 7. Section 1 clearly suffers from the common inexactitude of many such cons-titutional documents, presumably to allow for differential interpretat-ions through the courts, until a workable definition is found. Unfortun-ately, with no definition of "reasonable limits" included in the Charter, and no criteria by which limits must be "demonstrably justified", i t may be possible for offending governments to concoct justifications, secure in the knowledge that any state enactment is presumed constitutional un-less proven otherwise. It is also interesting to note the unquestioned assumption that Canada i s , in fact, a "free and democratic society", and that there will be general agreement on the point. It would be difficult to assume that those minorities who bear the brunt of various forms of discrimination have the same definition of "free and democratic" as is taken as a given in the Charter. 8. Herbert Marx, "Entrenchment, Limitation and Non-Obstante", in Tarnopolsky and Beaudoin, op. c i t . , p.70. -110-9. John B. Gates, "The Supreme Court and the Debate Over Discriminatory Purpose and Disproportionate Impact", in the Loyola Law Review. Vol.26, 1980, p.597' Washington v. Davis (1976) was a case where the plaintiffs, two black men, had failed a written examination for the Washington Police Department, and claimed that the language of the test discriminated ag-ainst members of ethnic minorities. The court of appeals found that while the test was used throughout the C i v i l Service to measure verbal ability, i t bore no demonstrable relation to job performance. The court therefore ruled that, under the employment provisions of Title V l l of the C i v i l  Rights Act of 1964, the disproportionate impact, standing alone, inval-idated the test. 10. Gates, op. c i t . , p.604. 11. 403 U.S. 217 (1971) at p.225. 12. Gates, op. c i t . , p.600. 13. 442 U.S. (1973) at p.279. 14. Quoted by Glenn Manishin in "Section 1981: Discriminatory Purpose or Disproportionate Impact?", Columbia Law Review. Vol.80, 1980, p . l64. 15. Manishin, op. c i t . , p.l60. 16. Ibid., p.168. l ? . Ibid., p.I69. 18. Ibid., p.169. 19. Ibid., p.170. 20. "I'm Okay, We're Not So Sure About You", Part 11 of the Report of the B.C. Human Rights Commission on Extensions to the Code, February 1983, p.11. 21. Morroe Berger, Equality By Statutet Legal Controls Over Group Discrimin-ation, (Columbia University Press, 1952), p.-73« 22. S. Poller, "Law, Conscience and Society", Lawyers Guild Review. VI (1946), p.491. -111-CHAPTER SIX CONCLUSION WITHOUT AN END We want justice...We want a fair wage and an end to dis-crimination. We want the same rights as other people have in Canadian society. No favours, just equality. No spec-i a l privileges, just recognition under the law. No separ-ate classification, just the right to be workers. (Raj Chouhan, President of the CFU) The notions of 'justice', fairness, equal treatment, 'rights' and recog-nition have been some of the underlying themes of this thesis. They have also formed the foundations of the Canadian Farmworkers Union's struggle for parity with other workers in British Columbia. It has been shown (in Chapter Two) that discrimination against farmworkers in B.C. has historical roots in discrimination against Asian immigrants, dating from the early 1900's. Racial prejudice against "Asiatics" was manifested in a series of governmental mea-sures which opened and closed immigration of 'non-whites' as the economy war-ranted. East Indians were at times allowed entry to B.C. specifically to be-come farm or domestic labour. However, they were denied the franchise (at Federal, provincial and municipal levels) and their access to certain occup-ations was prohibited by law. In the absence of labour and housing standards for farmworkers, the government further ensured that farmworkers would remain in a subordinate position by passing the Minimum Wage Act of 1925- The pur-pose of this act was to channel Asians out of well-paying jobs into low-pay-ing, low-status jobs, namely farm and domestic work. In addition, govern-ments were always careful to include 'escape' clauses in a l l legislation pertaining to Asians in various occupations. The results of these measures which either omitted or excluded farmwork-ers from protective labour legislation are manifested in the present living and working conditions of thousands of B.C. farmworkers. With discrimination officially sanctioned by the law, there have been many opportunities for -112-growers and contractors to exploit workers (though they have not a l l availed themselves of these opportunities). The results ares demonstrably inadequate living quarters and sanitary facilities on many B.C. farms; the retention of the archaic piece-rate system, which denies hourly minimum wages and penal-izes workers at the mercy of inclement weather or sparse crops at the shoul-der ends of the harvesting season; the widespread abuse of pesticides in the absence of minimum safety standards; the lack of Workers' Compensation for agricultural labourers, despite the fact that farmwork is the third most dan-gerous occupation in Canada. B.C. governments, especially in recent years, have demonstrated an aware-ness of the conditions prevalent in farmwork today. The issues, or rather, grievances, have been brought to the attention of the Legislature and govern-ment by several M.L.A.s, since at least 1972. Social Credit governments have commissioned studies, most of which have affirmed the feasibility of extend-ing the protective coverage of Workers' Compensation, minimum wages and other benefits to farmworkers. However, i t was not until 1980 that action was taken, in the form of the Employment Standards Act. Meanwhile, the force of farmworkers as a pressure group had begun to be felt, as f i r s t the Farmworkers Organizing Committee, and then the full-fled-ged Canadian Farmworkers Union succeeded in attracting public support for "the cause". The purpose of the struggle was to attain justice, equal oppor-tunity and equal treatment before the law for farmworkers. The means of the struggle were to be a set of strategies and tactics, which were modified acc-ording to the Union's increasing strength and credibility. These strategies were two-prongeds on one hand, preliminary (and on-going) strategies attemp-ted to recruit Union members and a following of sympathetic 'other' individ-uals; on the other hand, strategies evolved which were designed for the con-f l i c tual battle with the growers, contractors and ultimately, the government. -113-The Theory Revisited The discussion has shown that the theory presented in Chapter One accur-ately predicted the strategies utilized by the CFU. In the Initial stages of organization, the would-be Union adopted strategies designed to create a sense of common consciousness and purpose among farmworkers, to convince them that conditions could and should be changed and to offer means by which econ-omic and 'symbolic' benefits (such as 'rights') could be won. The FWOC app-ealed to the farmworkers' sense of 'righteousness', the feeling that the struggle against racial discriminators was inherently valuable, regardless of the practical benefits to be won. The Union's strategies of conflict were also consistent with the predic-tions of the model. In the f i r s t stages of relative powerlessness, the FWOC (then CFU) attempted to persuade growers, contractors and government to i n i -tiate changes, by pointing out the 'reality' of farmworking conditions, which the leaders considered to be self-evidently unsatisfactory. However, when persuasion failed, attempts to 'embarrass' the government were made through a press campaign highlighting the incongruities between treatment of farm labourers as against other B.C. workers. This publicity campaign accrued the additional benefits of increased public and trade union support, which resul-ted in an augmentation of the group's pecuniary and human resources. As the group's power increased and the FWOC gained recognition as a bona fide trade union, the range of available strategies likewise expanded, so that bargain-ing became the predominant means of attempting to secure benefits for farm-workers. Finally, moving into the sphere of legitimate trade union conduct, the CFU utilized 'coercive' tactics, such as strikes and boycotts. In order to induce a change in the dominant party's willingness to con-cede benefits, the CFU normally demanded more than i t actually expected to gain. Both the quantity and the quality of desired benefits demanded were -114-kept higher than expectations warranted, so that resultant compromises raised the Union's position ever higher on successive demand curves (see pages 15 to 16). However, i t could he argued that the gains represented by the Employment  Standards Act in fact overshot the optimal mark of incremental progress re-quired for the purposes of sustaining the support of the membership. The model presented in Chapter One proved similarly efficacious in its predictions of the strategies of the other major party to the conflict, the B.C. government. Historically (and currently), B.C. governments have availed themselves of the techniques outlined at various points, and the selection of these techniques has varied with the relative power of the dominant group as against the minority, as well as the climate of white public opinion. For the fi r s t half of this century, public antipathy against 'visible' ethnic minorities enabled governments to wield their enormous power without rest-raint. The 'insulation' technique involved denying such minorities access to certain occupations, the vote, and sometimes the means to earn an adequate living. However, as the winds of public opinion changed and became more 'liberalized', governments switched to sanctions (both positive, such as rec-ognition, and negative, such as denying the right to unionize) and 'persua-sion' as the appropriate means of control. The most recent Social Credit government, moreover, has, to an extent, pre-empted the CFU by conceding to most of its demands in one f e l l swoop (though notably not the most important ones, such as minimum wages and Workers' Compensation). However, the model has failed on two counts. In the f i r s t place, there has been no real attempt to co-opt group leaders (with the possible exception of Mr. Mahill, now an Industrial Relations Officer, though he argues to the contrary). In the second place, in concentrating on active strategies for maintaining dominant group control, the model has overlooked passive strat-egies. The discussion has shown that rather than take positive steps to -In-subordinate the farmworkers* pressure group, the government has instead simply ignored its demands and interests for many years. This ability to ignore a pressure group such as farmworkers can be attributed to two main factors. First, Social Credit governments owe a significant proportion of their elec-toral support to the farming community and consequently must pander to the demands of farmers and their powerful representative, the B.C. Federation of Agriculture. Second, i t is clear that the CFU, with a limited membership, limited resources and limited influence within government and bureaucratic circles, is simply not a powerful force to be reckoned with, in comparison to its opposite numbers. Therefore, apart from the fact that there has al-ways been a 'special relationship' between governments and farmers, the for-mer can ignore farmworkers, secure in the knowledge that they are not a sig-nificant voting bloc. Consequently, in terms of the action-response dynamic, governments can, and have, been able to leave such subordinate minority groups as farmworkers floundering in isolation. Governments have therefore no in-centive to try to return to equilibrium points, because they are not threat-ened significantly by the minority group. The latter's support base then, can easily dwindle away, as the group is not seen to be achieving any subs-tantial gains. Implications for the Future A dwindling support base is one of the problems with which the CFU is currently beset. Its membership seems to have reached a plateau at sixteen hundred, or approximately twelve per cent of the total number of farmworkers who work in the Fraser Valley. There is a number of possible explanations for the curtailment of new recruitment. First, the CFU has never made a con-certed effort to enlarge grass roots membership, because i t has preferred to 'go public', in the hope of achieving speedy results to establish its credib--116-111ty and efficiency. It was hoped that achievement would be the spur to en-larged support, whereby farmworkers would be able to perceive the immediate benefits of unionization through action rather than words. However, this hope has 'back-fired' to the extent that the immediate benefits secured by the Union have precipitated the "free rider" problem. For example, many far-mers and contractors this season are offering what appears to be a minimum hourly rate (although this may in fact mean that farmworkers will not be able to earn above that minimum) and the employers are now certainly more cautious about paying wages regularly and keeping work records. This means that farm-workers in general are experiencing some of the benefits of unionization, without themselves having to participate in 'the struggle*. A second explanation of the zero-growth of the Union's membership is the problem of 'burn out'. A number of organizers have dropped out of active participation due to the immense pressures involved in organizing under con-ditions of adversity. Most Union workers operate after their own jobs, in the evenings and at weekends, A further important consideration is that CFU organizers are voluntary (therefore unremunerated for their effort), and i t i s difficult to sustain morale. A third explanation for the staticity of numbers is offered by the s t i l l prevalent mode of employer-employee relations practised on East Indian-owned farms. Female workers are s t i l l operating under the paternalistic 'protec-tion' of their employers, and, according to farmworkers Interviewed, are in-timidated by threats of mechanization, should they attempt to unionize. A fourth explanation is that the Employment Standards Act has obviated the in-centives of many farmworkers to undertake the arduous and potentially danger-ous task of unionizing. In addition to the problem of sustaining its support base, the CFU curr-ently faces severe monetary difficulties. Although the Canadian Labour Con--117-gress is donating approximately $3,000 per month for the upkeep of the New Westminster office, no money is available for full-time paid officials, while many members are unhappy about having to pay $5.00 a month in dues. The two other CFU offices, in Ontario and the Okanagan, have been closed and are no longer viable or active. Although C.L.C. support is forthcoming at present, there is no guarantee that sufficient funds can and will be chanelled to the CFU indefinitely. It is possible that i f the Union is not seen to be making substantial progress towards becoming financially viable and self-sustaining, the costs of keeping i t alive may become too difficult for the C.L.C. to justify to its membership. The CFU s t i l l has only six certifications (out of several hundred farms amenable to unionization in the Fraser Valley) and only four contracts. The largest, most protracted battle for certification was at Jensen's, but the Union has not managed to win at Driediger's, which is one of the largest farms in the Valley. The contracts won only cover about one hundred workers, which is only seven per cent of the CFU's total membership. The relative scarcity of certifications and contracts then, is another factor which de-tracts from the Union's credibility as an effective pressure group. However, according to Raj Chouhan, this season there are some ten organ-izers at work in the Valley, and the Union hopes to win at least two certif-ications in the coming months. Chouhan appears confident that the Union will be able to survive its present difficulties, although he realizes that i t could take several years before the CFU can claim to be a strong organization. Certainly, i t would be unrealistic at this point to believe otherwise. Some Tentative Solutions There are two categories of solutions which seem imperative at present. On the one hand, there are plausible solutions to the 'problems' which are -118-at the root of the CFU's grievances. On the other hand, solutions to the Union's immediate problems of survival are urgently needed. The four outstanding areas which must "be resolved in the f i r s t category are (l) living conditions on the farms; (2) minimum wages and piece-rates; (3) safety and health standards, especially those directed at the safe use of pesticides; and (4) Workers' Compensation. The two most likely remedies to the problem of unsafe and unsanitary living conditions are: (a) government-subsidized housing on Crown lands (Charan Gill's suggestion - see pages 48 to 49); or (b) government subsidies to farmers to upgrade present 'accomodation' or to build new units. Of the two, the f i r s t seems less practical, i f only because i t would be more costly. The second solution appears to be more feasible. Grants could take the form of lump-sum payments, where the government contributed a percentage of the total costs of renovation or new construction. Alternatively, subsidies could take the form of tax deductions. Certainly, i f government is prepared to pro-vide tax deductions or outright grantsto private home-owners for moderniza-tion, i t could similarly be done for farmers. The government would also stand to make some 'political capital' from a benevolent step designed to rectify the archaic and unsavoury nature of agricultural exploitation. As far as minimum wages are concerned, the government has seen f i t to prescribe minimum rates per pound of produce, and farmers and contractors themselves are beginning to offer the equivalent of hourly rates. There is no reason why a minimum hourly rate could not be implemented, with a supple-mentary piece-rate to reward faster workers. As labour accounts for only 9$ of the total costs of production (and pesticides account for 60^), and as the former Minister of Manpower and Immigration (the late Robert Andras) ad-mitted that the doubling of farmworkers' wages would add only 1.5 cents per pound to the retail cost of tomatoes (see page 77), for example, there seems -119-to be no reason why minimum hourly rates would be prohibitively costly. Health and safety standards on B.C. farms are long overdue. In the face of several deaths due to pesticide abuse, many pesticide-related diseases and hundreds of accidents on farms due to unsafe farm machinery and inadequate training, the government has, until very recently, maintained a "laissez-faire" approach to the welfare of farmworkers. Although the government has recently announced the creation of a "farm safety agency", education alone will not be sufficient to ensure that farmworkers can now look forward to a reasonably safe working environment. As well as an education programme, strict regulations are required, along with insurance of enforcement through an inspectorate with the power to impose penalties for non-compliance with the regulations. Finally, for those cases where injuries occur regardless of safety reg-ulations, farmworkers can and ought to be covered by Workers' Compensation in the same way as workers in less dangerous industries are covered. The B.C. government had considered extension of coverage to farmworkers feasible just one year ago, and has offered no explanation for its failure to honour its promises. The explanation put forward in this thesis is that the rever-sal was a timely election ploy, designed to woo the farm vote. If this is the case, then extension of coverage is economically, i f not politically, feasible. Given that farmworkers suffer the highest rate of occupational disease and injury in Canada, justice alone dictates that their inclusion in the Workers' Compensation is a necessity in a "free and democratic society", as the Charter of Rights and Freedoms proclaims Canada to be. Indeed, i t is possible for the CFU to use the W.C.B. reversal to high-light the government's apparent unwillingness to fend for the rights and in-terests of minorities. The three-year delay of the operative date of the Equality Rights clauses of the Charter expires in 1984. These clauses Affect -120-groups like the farmworkers, who have suffered historical and contemporary discrimination, and who have never enjoyed equal protection or benefit of, under or before the law. However, i t is unlikely that the Social Credit gov-ernment will be unduly upset by charges of neglect of minorities, given that i t has a recently renewed mandate and a huge majority in the B.C. Legislature. Indeed, another development which is disturbing to c i v i l libertarians, is the abolition of both the Human Rights Commission and the B.C. Human Rights Branch. According to the terms of the Budget released on July 8th, 1983, the Human Rights Commission and Branch are to be replaced by an informal agency, which has the right to refuse to investigate complaints i f i t consid-ers them " t r i v i a l " . At present, i t appears that the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms will have a negligible effect on British Columbians. In my opinion, the CFU's continued survival will depend upon its abil-ity to carry out several important tasks. First, the Union must develop its grass roots support base among farmworkers, i f , that is, i t is true that there is strength in numbers. One of the Union's problems is that i t has relied from the outset upon the support of individuals other than farmworkers. Indeed, a significant proportion of its actual members are "white liberals" (social workers, teachers, c i v i l libertarians, lawyers and so forth), a fact which may well be more of a hindrance than a help to the Union, as i t damages the Union's claim to be a "farmworkers union". One reason why the CFU has enjoyed more success at organizing B.C. (and specifically, Fraser Valley) farmworkers, is the ethnic (that i s , East Indian) composition of the farm labour force, and the predominantly East Indian leadership of the Union. If the CFU hopes to use ethnicity as a spur to in=group solidarity, then i t may be necessary to discard its white middle-class membership altogether. Second, the CFU must develop its own resource base and loosen its depen-dence on other trade unions for monetary support (and this may involve Ite&ving -121-i t s laxge office). Third, the Union will have to decide whether i t is to be an external pressure group, which can win concessions by virtue of its own power, as opposed to the influence of powerful 'others' (such as other unions, politicians, etc). Fourth, the CFU might have to revert to some of i t s for-mer strategies, such as persuasion and bargaining, and will certainly have to look for new and innovative strategies by which to create and sustain group support, and to induce desired changes at the structural and legislative levels. What is certain i s that there are no simple answers to the complex process of attempting to organize such a scattered group of traditionally subordinated workers. Likewise, there i s no simple winning formula for mak-ing privileged others share resources more equitably. The Canadian Farmwork-ers Union will undoubtedly rely upon the strengths provided by its dedicated, hard-working organizers. It is to be hoped that those organizers will be able to tap the inspiration and creativity demanded by the powerless. Epilogue Political developments of the last week raise further doubts about the ability of the Canadian Farmworkers Union to survive in the immediate future. It has already been mentioned that the Social Credit government announced a Budget on July 8th, 1983. The abolition of the B.C. Human Rights Branch (a department of the Ministry of Labour) and the Human Rights Commission i s only one of a series of measures taken by the government in violation of i t s own legislation. The B.C. Human Rights Code is s t i l l on the statute books. It is s t i l l , therefore, legally required. However, the Commission's officers have been suspended from their duties, although they are being paid until October, when their contract expires. The government has offered no explan-ation as to why the Commissioners have been so summarily dismissed from ser-vice, a fact which does not square well with the government's claim of trying -122-curb public spending. The suspensions are in direct contravention of both B.C.'s and Canada's Human Rights provisions. Meanwhile, B i l l 3, the "Public Sector Restraint Act", is part of the government's preparations to fire 250,000 c i v i l servants, and the new laws will enable the government to "terminate" public service employees without explanation. Apart from massive cuts in health care, education and other services, the Social Credit government plans to pass a series of twenty-six enabling acts which will in effect take away the hard-won rights of many of B.C.'s citizens from renters to university professors. The main focus of the multiple-pronged attack, however, is arguably aimed at the trade union movement. The government i s trying to make i t more difficult to get unions certified, and much easier to get unions decertified. Furthermore, contrary to the common practice of extending old contracts while new ones are being negotiated, the government is now ruling that old contr-acts will expire on their formal dates. This means that employers will be able to pay their employees anything they like until a new agreement i s rea-ched, and this will obviously put more pressure on unions to make hasty ag-reements. But perhaps the most daring move by the Socreds is an attempt to abolish the idea of minimum wages altogether, for a l l workers. This would mean that no person offering their skills on the labour market could count on making adequate returns for their efforts. The cavalier attitude of the Social Credit government in defying their own (and every other government's) laws is remarkable. The utter contempt for human, c i v i l and employment rights displayed by the Socreds leaves l i t t l e hope for subordinated groups like the farmworkers. Indeed, the question of raising farmworkers up to the status and standards of everyone else in B.C. i s now an academic one. The Socreds clearly intend to achieve equality by bringing everyone else down to the level of the farmworkers. -123-Bibliography Anderson, A.B. and Frideres, J.S. Ethnicity in Canada - Theoretical  Perspectives. Butterworth and Co.: Vancouver, 1981. Angus, H.F. "The Legal Status in B.C. of Residents of Oriental Races and their Descendants". In McKenzie, N.A.M. The Legal Status  of Aliens in Pacific Countries. Oxford University Press: London, 1937. Bergen, Walter. "Final Report to the Secretary of State: Racism Awareness Project". Unpublished: Matsqui Abbotsford Community Services, 1982. Berger, Morroe. Equality by Statute: Legal Controls over Group Discrimination. Columbia University Press, 1952. British Columbia Human Rights Commission. "What This Country Did To Us It Did To Itself". A Report of the B.C. Human Rights Commission  on the Farmworkers and Domestic Workers. Vancouver, 1983• Buchignani, Norm. "The Political Organization of South Asians in Canada:1904-1920". In Dahlie, J. and Fernando, T. Ethnicity. Power and  Politics in Canada. Methuen: Toronto, 1981. Buchignani, Norm. "Research on South Asians in Canada: Retrospect and Prospect". Department of Anthropology: University of Alberta, 1983-Button, R.A. "Sikh Settlement in the Lower Mainland of B.C.". B.A. Honours Essay. Goegraphy Department, University of British Columbia, 1964. Cassin, A.M."Class and Ethnicity: The Social Organization of Working Class East Indian Immigrants in Vancouver". M.A. Thesis, University of British Columbia, 1977. Chadney, James G. "The Vancouver Sikhs: An Ethnic Community in Canada". Ph.D. Dissertation, Michigan State University, 1976. Chandra, K.U. Racial Discrimination in Canada. R & E Research Associates: San Francisco, 1973* Coser, L. The Functions of Social Conflict. Free Press: Glencoe, Illinois, 1956. Dahlie, J. and Fernando, T. Ethnicity. Power and Politics in Canada. Methuen: Toronto, 1981. Das, Rajahi Kanta. "Hindustani Workers on the Pacific Coast". Walter de Gruyter: Berlin, 1923. Dodd, Balbinder Singh. "Social Change in Two Overseas Sikh Communities". B.A. Honours Essay, Sociology Department, University of British Columbia, 1972. -124-Ferguson, Ted. A White Man's Country8 An Exercise in Canadian Prejudice. MacMillans Toronto, 1 9 7 5 . Gamson, W.A. Power and Discontent. Dorsey Press: Illinois, 1 9 6 8 . Gamson, W.A. The Strategy of Social Protest. Dorsey Press: Illinois, 1975• Gates, John B. "The Supreme Court and the Debate over Discriminatory Purpose and Disproportionate Impact". Loyola Law Review: 26 ( 1 9 8 O ) . Gladstone, Arthur. "The Conception of the Enemy". Journal of Conflict  Resolution No.3 (1959). Goldenberg, Ira. Oppression and Social Intervention. Nelson Hall Inc.: Chicago, 1 9 7 8 . Hawkins, Freda. Immigration and the Rise of Multiculturalism. Copp Clark Publishing: Toronto, 1 9 7 5 . H i l l , Daniel. Human Rights in Canada: A Focus on Racism. Canadian Labour Congress: Toronto, 1 9 7 7 . Himes, J. "The Functions of Racial Conflict". Social Forces 45 ( 1 9 6 6 ) . Hogg, Peter. "A Comparison of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms with the Canadian B i l l of Rights". Tarnopolsky, W. and Beaudoin, G. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms-A Commentary. Human Rights Research and Education Centre, University of Ottawa, 1982 . Indra, Doreen. "The Portrayal of South Asians in the Vancouver Press':* 1 9 0 5 -1 9 7 6 " . Ethnic and Racial Studies 2 ( 2 ) , 1 9 7 9 . King, William L. MacKenzie. VReport of the Royal Commission appointed to inquire into the Method by which Oriental Labourers have been induced to come to Canada". King's Printer, Ottawa,1908. Kriesberg, L. The Sociology of Social Conflicts. Prentice-Hall: New Jersey, 1 9 7 3 . Kurokawa, Minaka. Minority Responses: Comparative Views of Reactions to  Subordination. Random House: New York, 1970 . Labonte, Ronald. "Racism and Labour: The Struggle of B.C.'s Farmworkers". Canadian Forum June/July, 1982 . Manishin, Glenn. "Section 1981: Discriminatory Purpose or Disproportionate Impact?" Columbia Law Review Volume 80 ( 1 9 8 0 ) . Mare, Gerard. "Political Adaptation and Change in the Vancouver Sikh and the Vancouver Chinese Communities: A Comparative Perspective". B.A. Honours Essay, Simon Fraser University, 1979• Marx, Herbert. "Entrenchment, Limitation and Non-Obstante". Tarnopolsky, W. and Beaudoin, G. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms-A Commentary. University of Ottawa, 1982 . -125-Mayer, Adrian C. "A Report on the East Indian Community in Vancouver". Department of Anthropology, University of British Columbia, 1959-Mclnnes, Tom. The Oriental Occupation of B.C. Sun Publishing: Vancouver,1927. Oberschall, Social Conflict and Social Movements. Prentice-Hall: New Jersey, 1973. Polier, S. "Law, Conscience and Society". Lawyers Guild Review VI (1946). Reasons, C : Ross, L.; Paterson, C. Assault on the Worker: Occupational  Health and Safety in Canada. Butterworth's: Toronto, 1981. Ridgewell, Colin et a l . "Report of the Task Force on Racism in the Fraser Valley". Fraser Valley College, 1983. Sandborn, Calvin. "The History of Legislative Discrimination against East Indians in B.C.". Unpublished: Spring, 1983. Shibutani, R. and Kwan, K.M. Social Stratification. MacMillan Publishing: New York, 1965. Tarnopolsky, W.S. The Canadian B i l l of Rights. McClelland and Stewart Ltd.: Toronto, 1975. Tarnopolsky, W.S."The Control of Racial Discrimination in Canada". Freedom. 1979. Tarnopolsky, W.S. and Beaudoin, G. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Free-doms- A Commentary. Human Rights Research and Education Centre, University of Ottawa, 1982. Ward, Peter. White Canada Forever. Queen's University Press: McGill, 1978. Wirth, Louis. "The Problem of Minority Groups". In Kurokawa, M. Minority Responses: Comparative Views of Reactions to Subordination. Random House: New York, 1970. Wood, John. "East Indians and Canada's New Immigration Policy". Canadian  Public Policy Autumn, 1978. Woodsworth, J.S. Strangers Within Our Gates. University of Toronto Press: Toronto, 1972. -126-Appendlx A Key Finding of the Agricultural Pesticides and Health Survey, (a project of the Matsqui Ahbotsford Community Services, October, 1982). A. Characteristics of the Farmworker Sample (272 farmworkers) - the majority (69.4%) have worked three years or more in farmwork - the majority (71.7%) work more than four months per year in the fields - over half work more than 11 hours per day in the peak season - 51$ make less than $3,000 per year from farmwork - almost one quarter were over 50 years of age - the majority do not read or speak English - 17% have children and three-quarters of those children aged ?-l4 are working in the fields with their parents. B. Pesticide Exposure and Health - almost one-fifth often breathe pesticide fumes while working - 8 out of 10 regularly suffer from direct contact with pesticides and a majority (55%) have been directly sprayed - 79• 5% have had to work immediately after a spraying - more than 25% have had their living quarters sprayed - 7 out of 10 became physically i l l after a direct spraying, yet only 3.3% of growers got medical help for their workers. C. Pesticide-related Symptoms - only 7«4% of the sample experienced no symptoms - 44% had suffered from skin rashes, 47% from itching - over 50% reported headaches, 35% had experienced dizziness - 32-52% reported various central nervous system disorders - 17% suffered from gastro-intestinal problems - 95% felt that at least some of these symptoms were related to farmwork - almost 60% of the children farmworking had the same symptoms - 22% of the light-exposure group had over three symptoms and 44% of the heavy-exposure group, showing a high correlation of exposure to symp-toms but also a high level of general exposure for a l l farmworkers. -127-D. General - only lk% were sure that f i r s t - a i d was available - almost 70$ have no proper wash-up f a c i l i t i e s - almost 80$ have no choice but to eat lunch i n sprayed f i e l d areas - the vast majority are not always provided with clean drinking water - 1 out of 5 had missed work due to work-related health problems - only 8.7# had access to information on what pesticide they had been exposed to - 88$ had been given no instruction as to pesticide hazards. -128-Appendix B The B.C. Human Rights Commission fully endorses the following recommendations t 1) A l l exclusions and exceptions of farmworkers currently in place under the Employment Standards Act be removed, allowing farm-workers to enjoy the same protection as a l l other workers 2) That the Industrial Camp Regulations be implemented and applied immediately.... 3) Laws should be enacted to guarantee that a l l Canadian farmworkers have adequate showers, change rooms and laundry facilities. Also, protective clothing and equipment should be required where necess-ary Further, with regard to protection of farmworkers from pesticides, we fully endorse the recommendations made by the B.C. Medical Assoc-iation (Environmental Health Committee) to the Workers* Compensation Board of B.C. (October 1982). These ares 1) Laws should be enacted to guarantee that Canadian farmworkers have adequate protective facilities as specified by the Workers' Compensation Board. 2) Specific standards should be legislated to govern the specific-ations, maintenance and inspection of pesticide equipment. 3) The Workers' Compensation Board should undertake to ensure that pesticide applicators and users on farms under W.C.B. jurisdiction are subject to the same certification provisions as those for applicators and users of pesticides on public lands. 4) Farmworkers who enter fields after spraying should be given nec-essary safety information in a manner understood by them. Safe-ty information should include the identification and hazards of chemicals being used and should be provided to the worker on in-formation sheets. Applicators should ensure that adequate notice is given to high-risk individuals (e.g. pregnant women and young children) on the farm prior to spraying. 5) The Workers* Compensation Board should urge the establishment of legislated minimum re-entry periods and mandatory posting of warn-ing signs after application of certain pesticides. Warning signs should be placed in English and in a form understandable by the majority of workers. A comprehensive l i s t of those pesticides should be drawn up by Health and Welfare Canada in co-operation with Environment Canada and the Federal Ministry of Agriculture. 6) Pre-harvest entry periods should be established, based on residue dynamics, mode of action and the toxicity of each pesticide for both adults and children. -129-7) Maximum exposure levels should be sought for a l l pesticides. 8) The W.C.B.'s general provisions concerning first-aid standards should apply to farms based on size and other factors, as they have done for other industries, taking particular note of ex-posure to pesticides. 9) Suspected cases of pesticide poisoning should be reportable to the W.C.B. and included as a separate category of accident in the accident statistics. 10) The W.C.B. should be encouraged to undertake regular selective monitoring of the environment and work force to ensure compliance with the regulations. The W.C.B. should fund epidemiological studies of workers at risk, in co-operation with other juris-dictions, to avoid duplication of effort. 11) To ensure the ability to conduct meaningful epidemiologic studies, the W .C .B. should require farm operators to keep records of a l l pesticide applications. (From "What This Country Did To Us It Did To Itself", A Report of the B.C. Human Rights Commission on the Farmworkers and Domestic Workers, February, 1983, PP. 23-25.) 


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