At a meeting of the Farmworkers’ Organizing Committee (FWOC) on 6 April 1980, the FWOC officially became the Canadian Farmworkers’ Union (CFU) with the goal of providing better legal protection, immigration services, and overall improved safety standards for South Asian farm workers in the Lower Mainland. The CFU was unable to reach financial autonomy on their own and with a perpetual shortage of dues and heavy reliance on outside support, the CFU affiliated with the larger Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) in 1981. The CFU’s community unionism was unique and suited for their members’ needs but complicated their relationship with the CLC’s vision of a labour movement dominated by business unionism. This thesis demonstrates the CFU’s importance to Canadian labour historiography and provides valuable lessons for those who want to organize in an increasingly neo-liberal dominant society.
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Thesis advisor: Leier, Mark
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