FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Tuesday, Aug. 7th, 2018
The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) accuses provincial NDP leader Gerry Rogers of applying double standards in supporting locked out workers in Gander while turning her back on the province’s inshore fish harvesters.
(From left) NL NDP Leader Gerry Rogers, Mary Shortall, President of the NL Federation of Labour (and a Unifor member), and Dave Decker, secretary-treasurer of the FFAW-Unifor. NDP Twitter photo.
“While Gerry Rogers rallied today with workers at Gander’s D-J Composites, who’ve been locked out for 597 days, she’s turned her back on upwards of 3,000 inshore harvesters who’ve been waiting 583 days for the Labour Relations Board to grant them a vote to choose their union,” says Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL.
“Gerry Rogers and the provincial NDP have never reached out to the thousands of harvesters to hear their real and legitimate complaints against the FFAW-Unifor,” Cleary added. “When it comes to fishery issues, the NL NDP is controlled by the FFAW-Unifor and everyone knows it.”
Rogers reportedly attended a rally in Gander Tuesday afternoon for the 31 members of Unifor local 597 who’ve been locked out by their employer since December 2016. On Dec. 31 of that same year, FISH-NL submitted its application for certification to the province’s Labour Relations Board.
Almost 20 months later and the application has yet to be decided, even though labour legislation in the province calls for a vote to be conducted within 5 days.
Thousands of harvesters accuse the FFAW-Unifor of having lost its way, mired in conflicts of interest with Ottawa and oil companies, and mutated from union to fishery manager.
“It’s unacceptable for a provincial party and its leader to have two standards in dealing with labour relations in this province,” said Cleary. “The NDP is only about workers and their rights when the union executive gives permission.”
The Labour Relations Board has scheduled Aug. 20th for 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.”