South Asian farmworkers in British Columbia mounted a historic struggle for dignity and justice in the 1970s and 80s. Their mobilization, documented in the film “A Time To Rise,” was against exploitative and unsafe working conditions and against the farm owners who used these conditions to turn a profit. However, since that time, after the Canadian Farmworkers Union was effectively dismantled by government funding for less militant and less grassroots programs, this often invisible sector of workers is still searching for justice. This week three workers were killed and several injured in a van accident – an accident that could have been prevented with basic safety standards. Many have warned and expressed concern about the lack of safety for and abuse of farmworkers but the current government has ignored these concerned while actually cutting funding for safety inspectors. The tradegy not only demonstrates the criminal nature of these working conditions but the need recreate militant grassroots organizing efforts that empower the workers to fight for their own rights.

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