FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE—Sunday, May 14th, 2017
The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) says the president of Canada’s largest private-sector union is also the country’s biggest hypocrite.
“Unifor President Gerry Dias says he’s all about ‘workplace democracy,’ and allowing 10,000 Toronto transit workers to choose their own union,” says Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL. “At the same time, the FFAW-Unifor practices workplace communism over thousands of fish harvesters in Newfoundland and Labrador by ruling over them with an iron fist.”
A bitter labour dispute has been ongoing for months in Ontario between union giants Unifor and the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU), which represents workers with the Toronto Transit Commission.
Unifor claims the constitution of the ATU unfairly strips union locals of their financial assets if they leave, making it very difficult for workers to switch unions. At the same time, the ATU has accused Unifor of making a play for already unionized transit workers and trying to undermine the constitutions of democratically-run unions.
Dias told the national media last week he doesn’t agree with unions having constitutions that make it almost impossible for them to leave, saying he’s about “workplace democracy.”
At the same time, here in Newfoundland and Labrador the FFAW-Unifor is blocking a vote by the Labour Relations Board to decide which union — FISH-NL or the FFAW — will represent the province’s inshore harvesters.
“Inshore harvesters have no pension plan, few benefits, a union executive they don’t trust, little fish to catch, a price for cod that’s the same as 1987, an average age of almost 60, and no right to strike,” said Cleary. “Democracy is to the FFAW-Unifor what fresh air is to fish.”