FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Thursday, May 10th, 2018
The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) accuses the FFAW-Unifor executive of manipulating the union Constitution to protect their own jobs, and punish the inshore harvesters who took a stand against them.
“The upwards of 3,000 harvesters who support FISH-NL have been banned from running for executive FFAW positions — including president, and secretary-treasurer,” says Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL. “So much for democracy — the labour situation in the Newfoundland and Labrador fishery is as bad as any communist regime ever was, and yet another reason why the Labour Relations Board must proceed with a vote.”
Held every three years, nominations for the FFAW-Unifor elections opened Wednesday, with the executive board writing members of the union’s inshore/industrial/retail/offshore councils to inform them of changes made for the 2018 election.
The executive board quietly amended articles of the union Constitution earlier this year so that all candidates interested in running for the executive must sign an affidavit to swear they haven’t been a “member, officer or director” of FISH-NL within the past three years, or signed a FISH-NL membership card.
“As we note in the affidavit, it is a criminal offence to lie on an affidavit and we expect that this will encourage potential candidates to be honest and forthright,” reads the letter, signed by the FFAW-Unifor executive board.
“President Keith Sullivan and secretary-treasurer Dave Decker are protecting their jobs at the expense of the democratic rights of the membership,” says Cleary. “Inshore harvesters are the most controlled labour group in the free world — with no benefits, no pension, no right to strike, no choice, and no free market. You can now ad no right to run for election to the list.”
On Dec. 30th, 2016, FISH-NL filed an application for certification with the province’s Labour Relations Board to represent the province’s inshore harvesters, breaking them away from the FFAW-Unifor.
In late April, after 16 months, an investigator with the Board completed a report into the application. That report was forwarded to a three-personal panel — headed by David Conway, chair of the Labour Relations Board — that will make a decision on the application.
The panel has ordered an “in person” meeting of all parties involved in FISH-NL’s application for 10 a.m., Tuesday, May 15th, at the board’s offices n St. John’s.
FISH-NL has forwarded a copy of the letter from the FFAW-Unifor's executive board to the Labour Relations Board to determine whether the union has a right to ban members from running for executive office.