FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Tuesday, June 5th, 2018
The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) calls the finalized slate of candidates for the FFAW-Unifor executive the latest joke in an ongoing labour circus.
“How Keith Sullivan or Dave Decker can look the membership in the face is beyond me,” says Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL. “But then how any labour leader in this province can stand by as the democratic rights of inshore harvesters are stripped from them is another mystery.”
Nominations for the FFAW-Unifor’s 16-member executive board closed May 28th, and the union announced Monday that the top two union positions — president (Sullivan), and secretary-treasurer (Decker) — were uncontested. Tony Doyle, the union's VP Inshore, was also acclaimed.
But the FFAW-Unifor’s executive board quietly altered the union constitution earlier this year to require anyone running in this summer’s election to sign an affidavit stating they never signed a FISH-NL card. If they did, they must have formally revoked it a year ago.
The move blocked upwards of 3,000 inshore harvesters who have supported FISH-NL from nominating candidates or running for the executive board.
“Thousands of harvesters are forced to pay dues to an organization that has not only turned its back on them, but has stolen their democratic rights,” said Cleary. “Communism is alive and well in the NL fishery.”
FISH-NL filed an application for certification with the province’s Labour Relations Board just over 16 months ago to represent the province’s inshore harvesters, breaking them away from the FFAW-Unifor.
The Board is still trying to determine the total number of harvesters. FISH-NL needs the support of at least 40 per cent to force a vote for harvesters to decide their union fate.
Last week the Board decided to call a hearing to determine “which fishers should be included in the unit for the purpose of the Board deciding whether a certification vote should be held.” A date has yet to be set.