Labour Relations Board orders release of FFAW/ASP lists of inshore harvesters

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Saturday, March 11th, 2017 

The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) is pleased with the latest order of the province’s Labour Relations Board regarding the release of membership lists of commercial inshore harvesters.

After hearing arguments on Friday morning, by late Friday afternoon the board ordered the FFAW to turn over its list of commercial inshore harvesters who were members of the FFAW between Jan. 1, 2015 and Dec. 30, 2016 to its investigating officer. 

The Board also ordered ASP (the Association of Seafood Producers) to hand over its list of inshore harvesters on whose behalf members of the association collected and remitted FFAW union dues between Jan. 1, 2015 to Dec. 30, 2016 to its investigating officer. 

As for FISH-NL, the Board ordered that the new union provide the investigating officer with the basis of its conclusion that the salt-water mafia has far fewer members than it claims. 

As requested by the board, FISH-NL will provide information to the investigating officer regarding the size and make up of the bargaining unit of inshore harvesters. All information will remain confidential with the Board.

“FISH-NL is eager to meet with the investigating officer to give our input,” said Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL. “Ideally, FISH-NL would have liked to have been granted access to the membership lists to do our own review, but we respect the decision of the Labour Relations Board and have full confidence of the investigating officer to get to the bottom of it.”

Of note during the Friday morning hearing was that Derek Butler, President of ASP, addressed the Board, and while noting that the association has “no horse in the race,” he stressed that consideration must be given to the definition of an inshore commercial harvester, in particular as it relates to active participation in the industry and “fishing versus shore-based activities.”

In an earlier submission to the Board, Butler gave an example: “an enterprise owner may decide to pay someone from the catch proceeds who has not participated as crew in a voyage, a common practice in the industry.”

Said Cleary: “ASP clearly has concerns with the number fish harvesters the FFAW alleges to represent.”

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