FISH-NL hires province’s top labour lawyer; Aug. 20th set as date for hearing before Labour Relations Board

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Wednesday, July 4th, 2018

The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) wishes to inform inshore harvesters and the public at large that Aug. 20th has been set as the date for a hearing before the province’s Labour Relations Board.

 

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ST. JOHN'S LAWYER DAVID GOODLAND

As well, St. John’s lawyer David Goodland — one of the top labour lawyers in the province with a proven track record of holding the FFAW-Unifor to account — has been hired again to represent FISH-NL.

“Harvesters have needed the patience of a tonne of saints in waiting for the Labour Relations Board to deal with FISH-NL’s application for certification, but after 19 months we’re getting there,” says Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL. “We’ll get the vote yet.”

On May 24th, the Labour Relations Board announced it had decided to call a hearing to decide “which fishers should be included in the unit for the purpose of the Board deciding whether a certification vote will be held.”

The FFAW/Unifor says that anyone who has a fish sale in their name, with union dues automatically deducted from their cheque, is an inshore harvester (pegging the number at upwards of 9,000), and entitled to vote on which union should represent them.

FISH-NL takes the stand that the true number of bonafide harvesters is less than half that number, and has argued for months that an inshore harvester must be clearly defined for purposes of the vote. FISH-NL must have the support of at least 40 per cent of inshore harvesters to force a vote, although the Labour Relations Board can ultimately do whatever it chooses. 

FISH-NL launched a Go Fund Me campaign in May to help defray legal and other costs, and to date has raised almost $50,000 — including a $10,000 contribution from the Confederation of Canadian Unions, the largest federation of independent labour unions in the country. 

Find the Go Fund Me Link here: https://www.gofundme.com/boots-on-the-deck

Goodland is an expert in local labour law, and represented FISH-NL in earlier appearances before the Board. In 2016, he represented scallop fishermen who took the FFAW-Unifor to court over a $2.6-million compensation fund for lost fishing grounds in the Strait of Belle Isle. Goodland won that case, and subsequent appeal.

The Aug. 20th hearing will be held at the former School for the Deaf at 425 Topsail Rd., starting at 9 a.m. Inshore harvesters are urged to attend. 

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