Tag Archives: FFAW

Fishermen’s union wants draggers out of vulnerable south coast cod fishery

The union representing the province’s fish harvesters is calling for the Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) to close the south coast cod fishery to offshore vessels. Keith Sullivan, president of the Fish, Food and Allied Workers (FFAW) union, said the cod stock in the 3PS fishing area along Newfoundland’s south coast is too fragile to handle the pressure.,,, On Friday, DFO issued a notice that the fishery was closing to inshore fishermen on Nov. 15. Another notice announced the fishery was opening Nov. 11 to offshore vessels. The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador is also against the decision to allow offshore fishing in the 3PS zone. click here to read the story 13:23

FISH-NL and FFAW still at odds over harvester numbers

There is still no official list, no final count of Newfoundland and Labrador inshore fish harvesters for the purposes of determining if there will be a vote on a breakaway union. Leaders with the Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) and the Fish, Food and Allied Workers (FFAW-Unifor) union have disputed who has a better total count on harvesters — one truly representative of inshore industry participation. The numbers being floated are very different, by thousands of individuals. click here to read the story 10:37

Port Saunders fisherman defiant over remarks he made about the FFAW

Despite threats of a lawsuit and a demand for an apology, fish harvester Conway Caines remains defiant in his criticism of FFAW-Unifor. In September, Caines made harsh remarks on VOCM’s “Open Line” program, alleging that the Fish, Food and Allied Workers (FFAW) union is an unlawful enterprise. His accusations of backdoor dealings stem from the 2016 Supreme Court decision in favour of scallop harvesters over the FFAW. The harvesters had sought compensation from the FFAW due to the loss of fishing grounds along the Strait of Belle Isle. click here to read the story 13:12

FFAW-Unifor legal action – threatening to sue its own members who speak out against it. 

Well-known Port Saunders fisherman Conway Caines received a registered letter today from the FFAW demanding a retraction/apology for statements he made on VOCM’s Open Line in mid-September. Caines’ comments were critical of the FFAW over the 2016 scallop decision in which the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador ruled in favour of scallop fishermen who took on the union over a compensation fund for lost fishing grounds in the Strait of Belle Isle. Copies of the registered letter are attached. click here 17:14

Fisherman passing on enterprise to his son, but with an uncertain future

For the Dobbins, fishing is the family business, and Fintan Dobbin and his son Robert have been a team for years. While Fintan is preparing to retire from the industry and sell off his over 40-fleet to Robert, he has doubt if there is much of a business he’s leaving behind for his son. “I’m about to sign it over to him now, but I don’t know what he’ll do with it,” Fintan said. This uncertainty was not always the story. There was a time when the Dobbin’s enterprise was a successful operation, largely due to the fishing of halibut in the 4R region. “We made our living at the halibut, we put our lifetime into it,” Fintan said. “Until they took it all away from us.” click here to read the story 22:57

From faithful to faith lost – Northern Peninsula fishermen weigh in on union debate

As issues abound within a particularly turbulent fishery this summer, the union debate among Newfoundland and Labrador harvesters still seems uncertain as ever. Since they came on the scene, the Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) has been stirring up a call for a labour board vote on whether the long-standing Fish, Foods and Allied Workers union (FFAW) still deserves to represent the province’s fishers. Maxwell Sexton has spent five decades fishing the waters of the Northern Peninsula. While he knows the common complaints, he says he’s never had any personal issues with the FFAW. But Dan Reardon of Goose Cove, a fisherman who retired just this year, says he’s had a rough history with the FFAW and is completely fed up with the union. click here to read the story 14:00

FFAW — Frigging fishermen and Alienating Workers

Good morning NL, all ships at sea, and inshore fish harvesters far and wide. Just so you know, the FFAW-Unifor’s sole right as your union is to negotiate the price of fish, and administer the collective agreement. That’s it. Period. End of FFAW story.  When it comes to negotiating fish quotas with Ottawa or compensation packages with Nalcor, the FFAW-Unifor needs your permission. Case in point, the recent Supreme Court of NL case that found the FFAW-Unifor deceived scallop fishermen in the Strait of Belle Isle. click here to read the story 14:05

FFAW admits error in handling Calvin Tobin death benefit

The Fish, Food and Allied Workers union has admitted it made a mistake in relaying false information to the family of a dead fisherman. The union was too quick to say Calvin Tobin’s family did not qualify for his death benefit, when in fact they may qualify for the entire $30,000, said FFAW project manager Robert Keenan. “We did communicate the wrong information to the family and we’ve been heartbroken by that,” Keenan told the Central Morning Show. “We should be there to be the pillar of support they need and not to cause any further complications.” click here to read the story 08:45

FFAW owes apology to family of dead fisherman for telling them they don’t qualify for death benefits when they do

The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) says the FFAW-Unifor owes an apology to the family of a young fisherman who died tragically earlier this month for telling them they didn’t qualify for $30,000 in death benefits when they, in fact, qualify for at least half. Further, the question must be raised whether other families may have been denied death benefits based on misinformation from the union.,,, Calvin (Bud) Tobin, a 25-year-old fisherman from Southern Harbour, died Aug. 2nd in a car accident near Clarenville. Soon after, the family contacted the FFAW-Unifor about the union-administered $30,000 insurance policy, only to be told they didn’t qualify. click here to read the press release 16:05

Calvin Tobin’s family should get $15K from Sun Life, says FFAW didn’t know insurance plan – click here to read the story

A day late, $30,000 short: Union blames insurer for denying death benefit to fisherman’s family

Keith Sullivan wants to make one thing clear — it was never his union’s decision to prevent a dead fisherman’s family from receiving benefits. Denying Calvin Tobin’s death benefit was a decision made by the union’s insurance provider, says the president of the Fish, Food and Allied Workers union.,, Tobin, 25, died after a car accident near his hometown of Southern Harbour on Aug. 1. His insurance coverage was terminated the same day, when he failed to pay his union fees by the 11:59 p.m. deadline on July 31.,, At the time of his death, Tobin owed $180 in fees from 2016, Carol Ann Brewer said. But she can’t figure out why the money owed wasn’t taken out of his first paycheque of the current fishing season. click here to read the story 08:45

Family of dead fisherman allegedly denied $30K benefit over owing dues to FFAW

The family of a fisherman who was killed in a car crash last week says they are being denied a $30,000 benefit because his union card expired the day before he died. Calvin Tobin was just 25 when he died in the crash near Clarenville on Aug. 1. Now his family is fighting to collect his life insurance policy, which they say is being held up by the Fish, Food and Allied Workers Union (FFAW). Tobin was 24 hours overdue on union fees when doctors were trying to save his life. “For the sake of one day really … they are refusing to pay out his benefits,” said Richard Brewer, Tobin’s uncle.,,, Tobin may have believed his union fees were already covered, his uncle said. click here to read the story 13:42

FFAW proposes buyout for 3Ps fishers

Last October, the union submitted a proposal to the provincial and federal governments for funding to retire fishing licenses in that region. According to briefing documents for the provincial fisheries minister, the FFAW proposal submitted Oct. 18 in 2016 said the overall program target is to retire 110 enterprises, 90 percent of which will be under 40 ft. enterprises. The cost estimated, and budget proposed by FFAW, for the program would be just over $13 million. click here to read the story 09:04

FFAW-Unifor flip flops on support for Marine Protected Area off Newfoundland’s South coast after FISH-NL embarrasses union into it 

The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) says the FFAW-Unifor’s last-minute objections to proposed regulations governing a Marine Protected Area (MPA) off the province’s south coast — after initially supporting them — is an attempt to cover its gross incompetence. “The FFAW-Unifor only opened its mouth after FISH-NL embarrassed the union into it,” says Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL. “FISH-NL says jump and the FFAW-Unifor asks how high. Only jumping’s not enough — the FFAW does not deserve to represent inshore harvesters.” On June 24, the federal government launched a 30-day consultation period over proposed regulations to govern the Laurentian Channel MPA, which, at more than 12,000 square kilometres, would be Canada’s largest — and the province’s third protected area. click here to read the press release 20:31

FISH-NL recommends DFO immediately suspend extra cod to south coast inshore harvesters 

“The priority must be to ensure all inshore harvesters have the opportunity to at least catch their basic IQs (Individual Quotas),” says Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL. It’s rumoured that more than 60 per cent of the 6,500-tonne cod quota that’s been set this year off the south coast (fishing zone 3Ps) has already been taken. A DFO official said late Wednesday afternoon the Department has noticed an increase in landings, and is “monitoring” the situation. While south coast harvesters are assigned IQs, they’re also allowed to catch even more cod — this year it’s up to one full extra IQ, which local harvesters refer to as a “bump”. Rumour also has it that Ocean Choice International is currently gearing up its offshore vessels to catch south coast cod this fall. click here to read the story 23:43

FISH-NL questions whether FFAW retaliating against inshore harvesters of the Great Northern Peninsula for taking union to court

The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) questions whether the FFAW-Unifor has purposely chosen not to take a stand for inshore harvesters of the Great Northern Peninsula in retaliation for some of them taking the union to court. “The FFAW-Unifor’s silence on a redfish quota to the Qalipu First Nation when inshore harvesters are barely hanging on and desperate for fish is bizarre,” says Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL. “One explanation is that the union is retaliating against harvesters who took a stand against it.” During a news conference on Newfoundland’s west coast earlier this week, it was announced that the Barry Group, headed by west coast businessman Bill Barry, has formed a partnership with the Qalipu First Nation, and are in talks with Ottawa for a redfish quota in the Gulf. click here to read the press release 15:04

Fisheries groups upset over seismic testing approval, may have ‘incredible impact’ on marine environment

Just a few months after DFO cut crab quotas, now the oil and gas industry may be interfering with the livelihoods of harvesters, according to fisheries unions. The Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Petroleum Board (C-NLOPB) has approved offshore seismic testing to take place in prime fishing areas on the Grand Banks. The board approved the request from Multi Klient Invest AS (MKI) for three-dimensional seismic testing in two areas from mid-July to mid-October and from mid-July to the end of August. The Fish, Food and Allied Workers Union (FFAW) issued a press release on Friday, calling on the petroleum board to reconsider its decision.,,, Ryan Cleary wrote the C-NLOPB at the end of June, asking to suspend seismic testing in order to study its impact on marine life. click here to read the story 08:50

FISH-NL advises Fisheries and Oceans Minister Dominic LeBlanc to cancel 2017 sentinel cod program 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE June 26th, 2017 The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) has written federal Fisheries and Oceans Minister Dominic LeBlanc recommending that he cancel the 2017 sentinel cod program. The federal government first introduced sentinel or test fisheries for cod in the mid-1990s, the moratoria years, to keep a first-hand check of the health of stocks in the absence of commercial fisheries. It has never been adjusted to account for or to incorporate the impacts of commercial activity. The program involves upwards of roughly 70 fixed, test fishery sites, costing taxpayers an estimated $1.1 million a year. Funds are also raised from the sale of cod caught in the sentinel fisheries, an estimated 350 tonnes, but it’s not known where that money goes. click here to read the press release and letter 15:06

FISH-NL says FFAW no longer entitled to represent inshore harvesters; urges Labour Board to order immediate vote 

The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) says the province’s Labour Relations Board should proceed immediately to a vote of inshore harvesters to decide which union would best represent them. While FISH-NL’s application for certification remains before the Board, other factors necessitate a vote as soon as possible: the Supreme Court of NL, Court of Appeal, recently upheld an earlier court decision that the FFAW deceived its members; and the FFAW’s failure to reveal how much money oil companies pump into the union. “The FFAW is beyond salvation,” says Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL. “The FFAW no longer deserves the right to represent inshore harvesters, who have lost all faith and respect for their union. The only recourse is to allow them to vote on their future.” click here to read the press release 13:49

FFAW- Premier’s approval of OCI exemptions signs away millions in rural economic development

ST. JOHN’S, June 21, 2017 – FFAW-Unifor is shocked and deeply disappointed in the provincial government’s decision to issue further exemptions to Ocean Choice International (OCI), allowing the company to ship yellowtail, redfish, and American plaice to low wage countries for processing rather than process it locally to employ people in this province. “This decision is a slap in the face to plant workers and rural communities,” said Keith Sullivan, President of FFAW-Unifor. “Issuing these exemptions is a betrayal of the people of rural Newfoundland and Labrador, and is harmful to the overall economy of the province. Our province should be focused on maximizing employment and adding value to our natural resources as a means of building the economy; not padding the bottom-line of OCI.” click here to read the press release 14:17

FISH-NL questions whether province’s Federation of Labour still supports FFAW after union convicted of deceiving members

The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) is questioning whether the province’s Federation of Labour still stands “shoulder to shoulder” with the FFAW since the union has been convicted in court of deceiving its membership. “As federation president, Mary Shortall came out last November and took sides, condemning FISH-NL,” says Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL. “But Friday’s unprecedented ruling by the Court of Appeal, backing up an earlier Supreme Court of NL decision, means the FFAW broke its sacred trust with its membership.” click here to read the press release 16:03

FISH-NL applauds appeal court decision reaffirming FFAW failed its membership

The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) applauds an appeal court decision today reaffirming the FFAW failed its membership. The union had appealed a March, 2016 Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador ruling in favour of scallop fishermen who took the union to court over a compensation fund for lost fishing grounds in the Strait of Belle Isle. In the unanimous ruling handed down today, the three judges with the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador, Court of Appeal, found that the “FFAW was clearly acting outside its usual role and did not appreciate the full implications of its behaviour.” Click here to read the press release 14:54

‘They’re not relevant’: Fisheries union boss says Ryan Cleary desperate for a headline

It’s been nine months since a bare knuckles battle began over the right to represent inshore harvesters in Newfoundland and Labrador, and both sides say they want a deciding round to start soon. The upstart Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) is waging a fight to bust up the powerful Fish, Food and Allied Workers union (FFAW), and there’s no end in sight to this very public feud. FISH-NL has applied to the labour relations board for a certification vote so harvesters can decide once and for all who they want to represent their interests. But that process has dragged on for months, with the board only saying that it’s an ongoing matter. “We have a situation where you’ve got 2,500 harvesters who are connected to FISH-NL who are invisible to the FFAW,” said FISH-NL president Ryan Cleary. click here to read the story 22:47

FFAW denies allegation of conflict of interest in relation to Hebron tow-out

The province’s fisheries union is scoffing at an allegation from a rival that it rewarded an influential enterprise owner by giving him a contract to escort the Hebron platform to sea. The Fish, Food and Allied Workers’ union is also defending its relationship with the oil and gas industry.,, The latest flare-up in tension between the FFAW and the Federation of Independent Seafood Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) relates to the recent tow-out from Trinity Bay of the Hebron platform. The two groups are locked in a bitter feud, with FISH-NL fighting to replace the FFAW as the official bargaining agent for inshore harvesters. click here to read the story 12:38:

FISH-NL raises concerns of conflict of interest over marine escort contract awarded to FFAW executive member 

The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) is calling on the FFAW-Unifor to explain an apparent conflict of interest involving an executive member of the union who won a lucrative marine escort contract with the offshore oil industry. “Fish harvesters demand and deserve an explanation,” says Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL. The Eastern Princess II, a fishing vessel owned by Nelson Bussey, who serves on the union’s executive board (Inshore, Avalon Peninsula), was apparently hired in recent weeks to escort the Hebron oil platform out to sea. Marine Escorts are regularly contracted for offshore oil and gas operations to guide marine vessels safely through open water, avoiding fishing gear. The FFAW decides which fishing boats are hired through the union’s Fishing Guide Vessel Program. It’s not known how many fishing boat owners expressed interest in the contract. click here to read the press release 13:11

Feds announce emergency funding for ice-impacted harvesters in N.L., Quebec

The federal government has finally stepped in to provide emergency financial assistance to fish harvesters impacted by severe ice conditions in Newfoundland and Labrador.Fisheries and Ocean Minister Dominic LeBlanc announced Friday up to $5 million has been allocated for payments for eligible applicants in Newfoundland and Labrador, and Quebec, under the Ice Assistance Emergency Program. Application forms for the program will be available on the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) website as of June 23. They will also be available at DFO and Service Canada offices in the ice-affected areas.,,, In response to the announcement, the Fish, Food and Allied Workers (FFAW-Unifor) union called it unacceptable to not include fish plant workers in the income support program.,,, “Better late than never,” FISH-NL president Ryan Cleary said in a news release, adding the group has been lobbying for emergency funding since April. click here to read the story 09:53

Ice Assistance Emergency Program – $5M for iced-in fish harvesters, but FFAW says plant workers left out

A Liberal member of Parliament says the federal government has allocated up to $5 million to help fish harvesters who are stuck in port because of heavy ice. Gudie Hutchings, MP for Long Range Mountains, said Friday the money will come under the Ice Assistance Emergency Program for eligible applicants in Newfoundland and Labrador and in Quebec. Some fishermen have been without income for more than two months, as ice socked in the coastline. “Plant workers have been just as impacted by severe ice delays as fish harvesters. Leaving these people out of the income bridging program is unacceptable,” said FFAW president Keith Sullivan in a news release Friday evening.  click here to read the story 20:10

FISH-NL questions whether FFAW ‘bought and paid for’ by offshore oil industry 

The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) is calling on the FFAW to reveal details of its financial arrangements with the offshore oil industry to address questions of conflict of interest. “It’s time for the FFAW to reveal how much money the union is collecting from the oil industry,” says Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL. “Oil and fish don’t mix, but you’d never say that from the union’s cozy relationship with the offshore.” The media has described the amount of seismic activity set to take place off Newfoundland and Labrador this year as “super-sized.” Seismic activity uses high energy, low frequency sound waves that can penetrate thousands of metres below the sea floor, and while the impact on fish stocks and the marine environment is debatable, the FFAW hasn’t whispered a word of concern. click here to read the press release Read the related article – Super-sized seismic activity planned for Newfoundland’s offshore this year click here 13:57

Income bridging desperately needed for harvesters and plant workers without income due to ice

Harvesters and plant workers are struggling to feed their children and pay their bills, with some having been without income for over two months due to severe ice conditions that prevents the fishery from starting in many parts of the province. The situation has gone from bad to dire, and action in the form of income bridging from the federal government is long overdue. Having gone without any income for over two months, many harvesters feel they are left with no other option than to risk their gear and their own personal safety in order to go fishing through pack ice conditions. click here to read the press release 09:10

Ice conditions continue – FFAW getting calls from ‘desperate’ workers in 3L

Staff representative for FFAW-Unifor, John Boland, says he is fielding 20 to 25 calls per day from concerned fish harvesters and plant workers in the Bonavista and Trinity Bay areas — all regarding ice conditions. “There are people out there that are severely hurting right now,” Boland told The Packet. “An awful lot of people out there who work in plants — this is a pretty difficult time for them.” Heavy ice conditions have prevented many fish harvesters from fishing, and landings are slow in other areas. Many fish plant workers have yet to work this season as a result. Boland says many workers have had no income at all since early April in some cases. Click here to read the story 19:23

FISH-NL calls on FFAW to come clean on details of marine escort fees; show compassion to members who owe back dues 

The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) is calling on the FFAW to come clean and reveal the “administrative fee” the union charges fishing boat owners hired by oil companies as marine escorts. On another front, FISH-NL is calling on the FFAW to show compassion to members who owe back dues — given the slash in quotas and severe ice conditions — and allow repayment over a broader time frame. “The FFAW is feeding off its membership at every chance,” says Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL. “At the same time, when the membership is vulnerable and expects the union to show some compassion, the FFAW turns its back on them.” Click here to read the press release 13:29