Kevin Shimmin

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Work and Society


D. Wells




This dissertation analyses the issues concerning strategies for improving the working and living conditions of migrant farmworkers in the United States and Canada. By comparing the tripartite and sharecropping models in commercial agriculture, it is demonstrated that unionisation and three-way collective bargaining are efficient and proven techniques for increasing workplace standards for migrant farmworkers. The tripartitc model separates agriculture into three discernable actors: food corporations, growers and farmworkers. While some agricultural sectors are dominated by corporate entities which combine both production and processing operations, other sectors such as cucumbers and tomatoes are characterised by large processing corporations which are supplied by commercial growers. Without the presence of food corporations in collective bargaining, many growers are unable to provide for better working conditions for migrant farmworkers. The Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC) has significantly established the only tripartite labour relations framework in North American agriculture. FLOC has used commercial boycotts for more than two decades, in order to pressure food corporations to participate in collective bargaining with migrant farmworkers. The union is presently conducting a national boycott of the Mt. Olive Pickle Company in North Carolina, a campaign which aims to bring the company to the bargaining table and to put an end to the sharecropping model in the state's cucumber industry.

McMaster University Library

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