Earlier this week FFAW-Unifor representatives attended a meeting with the province’s labour relations board to discuss the application for certification submitted by Ryan Cleary and FISH-NL. No decisions were made at the meeting however some troubling views were presented by FISH-NL that should greatly concern all fish harvesters.
Ryan Cleary and the FISH-NL leadership are now alleging that nearly 6,000 fish harvesters who meet the definition of fish harvester in legislation and pay union dues to FFAW-Unifor should not be considered a harvester. Essentially, Cleary is suggesting that all of these fish harvesters should have no one to represent them and should not qualify for fish harvester EI because they are not fish harvesters.
This accusation leveled against fish harvesters by FISH-NL is beyond the pale.
In a desperate attempt to support its failing effort to represent inshore harvesters, Cleary and FISH-NL have aligned themselves with the Association of Seafood Producers (ASP) and their Executive Director Derek Butler, who shares the view that thousands of fish harvesters are not legitimate. FISH-NL no longer contests FFAW-Unifor’s membership numbers; instead they want a new definition that suits their needs.
Time and time again, FISH-NL and its leadership have demonstrated a complete misunderstanding of how the inshore fishery works and have shown a shocking contempt for those they now seek to represent. After 16 months of lies and manipulation, it is time to get back to focusing on solutions to the challenges facing our industry. Fish harvesters cannot let Cleary’s attacks on their legitimacy continue. These accusations are irresponsible and could have a serious impact on many fish harvesters and their families.
We want to be perfectly clear – the definition of a fish harvester is set forth in legislation that has existed since the early 1970s. FFAW-Unifor members who receive a share of a catch in the fishery are fish harvesters and there are nearly 10,000 of you out there.
While FISH-NL attacks our members and our industry, FFAW-Unifor will continue to work on your behalf to build a sustainable, prosperous inshore fishery for all our members, your families and your communities.
We encourage you to contact us with your questions and concerns.