Statement of Solidarity with Manitoba Harvest Unionists

The Revolutionary Student Movement stands in solidarity with the 19 workers fired by Manitoba Harvest Hemp Foods for attempting to unionize their workplace.

These men and women attempted to unionize to create a collective voice and fight against the racial discrimination, health and safety violations, and inadequate training that are found at the Manitoba Harvest workplace. Despite formerly having majority support, illegal harassment and intimidation on the part of the management led to a unionization tie vote of 25-25 (one member of management was even demoted to a worker who was then able to vote, skewing the result). Only one week after this vote the 19 workers were terminated, a disproportionate number of which, all but one, were Filipino.

Preparing for the protest
Preparing for the protest

Manitoba Harvest used the obviously false claim of lost profits to justify these layoffs. We know that this was in retaliation for holding the vote for three reasons, aside from the timing:

1) Last year Manitoba Harvest posted annual profits in excess of $100M.

2) Manitoba Harvest is in the middle of an expansion project, and had even received a half million-dollar grant from the government to that end.

3) Those still employed have reported that the work load has increased drastically since the vote, with the work of three or four now being put on a single worker. Some of the terminated workers have even been invited back as the factory is sorely undermanned. This situation is unsustainable. This was clearly not done for the purpose of increasing profit. It may in fact end up doing the opposite.

There is clearly no justifying these hateful and illegal actions of the Manitoba Harvest cowards. The intimidation and undue punishment of families, some with newborn children, will not stand.

The brave workers have shown that they will do what is necessary to see their rights respected and their jobs returned, using both legal and mass action tactics and we are prepared to stand with them until that end has been achieved!

– Revolutionary Student Movement – Winnipeg

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