Tag Archives: FFAW

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

Renewed calls for income bridging as harvesters and plant workers experience worst ice situation in decades

Severe ice conditions continue to affect people working in the fishing industry. Harvesters and plant workers have been without income for several weeks, some for over two months. Over the past few weeks, FFAW leadership has met with the senior DFO officials, Premier Dwight Ball and fisheries minister Steve Crocker to emphasize the dire situation hundreds of families are experiencing. Repeated calls by the FFAW, provincial government and affected individuals have resulted in the federal government acknowledging the situation, yet action has not been taken to provide income support. click here to read the press release 15:55

FFAW calls for clarification from Premier on alleged interference in labour relations case

Yesterday, a press release by the Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland Labrador (FISH-NL) referenced a meeting held with Premier Dwight Ball and Minister Steve Crocker. FFAW-Unifor is calling on the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador to clarify FISH-NL’s allegation that a discussion surrounding FISH-NL’s application to the Labour Relations Board took place during this meeting. The Labour Relations Board is an independent, quasi-judicial body which contributes to and promotes harmonious labour relations in the province. The integrity and independent nature of the Board is compromised if the alleged discussion did in fact take place. The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador has no role in ongoing investigations, reviews and decisions undertaken by the Board, and any such interference would be unacceptable. Courtney Glode, Communications Officer, FFAW- UNIFOR 13:56

FISH-NL describes price of cod as ‘scandalous’ and another example of FFAW conflict; renews call for province to allow in outside buyers

The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) says the 2017 price of cod recently negotiated by the FFAW is an insult to the province’s inshore harvesters, and renews its call for the province to allow in outside buyers. “That price is scandalous,” says Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL. “It’s an insult to already injured inshore harvesters. The FFAW expects cod will save harvesters from shellfish declines, but then the union agrees to a price that will starve our fish harvesters as fast as DFO mismanagement.”The high price of cod this year is up 5 cents a pound. The 2017 price per pound paid to harvesters for Grade A cod has been set at a high of 83 cents, and low of 20 cents. In 2016, the Grade A price paid was 78 cents a pound, with 20 cents as the low mark for Grade C. read the press release here 19:45

Letter: Why Richard Gillett went on a hunger strike. ” In my opinion he is a brave man,,,”

April 13th, Richard Gillett went on a hunger strike because he felt that rural Newfoundland and Labrador was facing a bleak future due to the mismanagement of oceans that had sustained us for 500 years. Richard had two requests: one for a review of the science and management of all provincial fish stocks, the other a review of the relationship of the Fish, Food and Allied Workers union and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada. Those are two very legitimate questions.,, In my opinion he is a brave man who is concerned about this province and has done more than anyone since the moratorium to bring to the forefront the state of our oceans. Click here to read Capt. Wilfred Bartlett, retired, letter 17:41

FISH-NL calls for resignation of leader of province’s Federation of Labour, and they’re not alone!

The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) is demanding the resignation of Mary Shortall, president of the province’s Federation of Labour, for taking sides in the dispute between FISH-NL and the FFAW, as well as blatant conflict of interest. “Mary Shortall has no business choosing sides — standing by the executive of the FFAW over rank-and-file fish harvesters who are slowly being starved out by a combination of failed management and a union that has lost its way,” says Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL. “Mary Shortall has also lost touch with workers in this province and should be forced to resign immediately, and it’s not just me who’s saying that — but at least one local union president.” click here to read the press release (image cbc) 11:34

Censored! No Media Allowed: FFAW Union Boss to meet with protesters but not interested in ‘spectacle’

The Fish, Food and Allied Workers (FFAW) will meet with fish harvesters who protested outside the union building on Monday, but says media will not be allowed. “To have [media] in the meeting, and to really make something a spectacle is not really what we’re interested in,” Keith Sullivan, president of the FFAW, told CBC Radio’s St. John’s Morning Show. “Obviously [we’re] happy to meet with members, but to have a spectacle and something that’s only going to further embarrass our industry … we have no interest in doing that.”Protesters first rallied outside the Fisheries and Oceans Canada building where Richard Gillett — vice-president of the Federation of Independent Seafood Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) — held his 11-day hunger strike and headed to the offices of the FFAW on Monday.  They demanded a meeting with the union, and that media be present during that meeting. click here to read the story 14:36

A protest that had the makings of turning ugly on Monday in St. John’s ended with handshakes between the fishermen fighting for their livelihoods and the police force charged with keeping public order and safety. Still, the fishermen drove away — back to home communities and boats scattered around the island — disappointed with not getting answers to a net load of questions. Fisherman Brent Adams from Marystown said the meeting should take place in the union building. “This is our building. We paid for this building. Why not meet here?” he said. “They (FFAW executive) should all resign.” click here to read the story and watch the video. 15:29

FFAW – Statement on Fish Harvester Protest in front of their building.

FFAW’s Executive Board understands and agrees that this is a difficult time in the fishery. The fishery is in transition which creates uncertainty. FFAW has worked hard to help ease the difficulties created by changes in the marine environment. We are in daily communication with DFO on improving quotas, on finding a better approach to assessing fisheries science, and on ensuring that the voice of harvesters is clearly heard in matters of fisheries management. We have dozens of elected committees throughout the province engaged with DFO on a wide variety of issues. Over the past six months, these committees, in conjunction with FFAW staff, have conducted hundreds of meetings in communities across the province. We are engaged and the vast majority of our membership understand the support we provide and results we achieve. continue reading the press release, click here 15:29

Richard Gillett Stands Firm, Determined, while FISH-NL executive accuses DFO and FFAW of playing politics in fishery protest

Ryan Cleary says the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) and the Fish, Food and Allied Workers (FFAW) union are killing Richard Gillett with politics. “This guy is a rock, but he’s hurting now and they’re playing with his life,” the Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador president said of the organization’s vice-president, who is now eight days into a hunger strike while camped outside the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Centre in St. John’s. Cleary was responding to a news release from the FFAW that he claims takes credit for the federal government’s decision to conduct a full assessment on northern cod stocks on an annual basis. (Ten yearold Lucas Wilkinson made the point it was important to show solidarity with Richard Gillett. click here to read the story! 21:54

The fishery in Newfoundland and Labrador is in turmoil and I wish to inform the public as to the reasons why.

I am not taking sides with FISH-NL vs. the FFAW — this is a distinctly different matter that involves the right as to who represents fishers in collective bargaining. This is a matter of provincial jurisdiction that has nothing to do with fisheries management and DFO — a federal government responsibility. The Department of Fisheries and Ocean is denying the fishers their right to be consulted, and DFO has delegated its responsibility to the FFAW. The FFAW is a union constituted to represent fishers and plant workers for the purpose of collective bargaining. Click here to read the letter by Gabe Gregory Portugal Cove-St. Philip’s 20:56

Day 6 – The hunger strike of Canadian Fisherman Richard Gillett continues

While Richard Gillett’s accommodations along the side of East White Hills Road have improved, his physical and mental state is headed in the other direction. Gillett, a Twillingate fisherman and vice-president of the Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL), is five days into a hunger strike outside the entrance to the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Centre. He is protesting what he considers mismanagement of Newfoundland and Labrador fish harvesting operations by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) and its relationship with the Fish, Food and Allied Workers (FFAW) union.,, Also on Monday, Gillett had a meeting with two representatives from DFO, a senior scientist and a member of senior management. The meeting, he says, was nothing more than “lip service” and an effort to gauge his level of determination and the expected turnout of supporters on Tuesday morning when federal employees return to work following the Easter long weekend. click here to read the story 10:50

Twillingate Fisherman Richard Gillett enters Day 2 of hunger strike: ‘If I can’t fish, I’m no good to no one’

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE—Friday, April 14th, 2017 – Richard Gillett, an inshore fish harvester from Twillingate and Vice-President of the Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL), began a hunger strike Thursday afternoon on the grounds of DFO’s NL headquarters in St. John’s. Gillett’s demands include: a meeting with the federal Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, Dominic LeBlanc,  and his assurance of an independent review of DFO science/management; as well as an independent review of the relationship between DFO and the Fish, Food and Allied Workers (FFAW) union. “Enough is enough,” says Gillett, “This is a desperate situation that needs to be looked into right now. The industry is in the worse mess it’s ever been in,” says Gillett, who’s been drinking only water since Thursday afternoon. “DFO science has been gutted and the management system we have today, when most of our fisheries are in crisis, is the same one that we had back in ’92 when the cod moratorium came down. And the FFAW, which is supposedly our union, stopped standing up for fishermen long ago and got in bed with DFO.” “If I can’t fish I’m no good to no one. I’m no good to myself. I’m no good to my family. I’m no good to my friends. I was meant to fish.” On Tuesday, April 11, Gillett, along with Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL, travelled to Ottawa and met with five of NL’s Liberal MPs, including: Gudie Hutchings, Yvonne Jones, Ken McDonald, Scott Simms and Nick Whalen. The MPs called the meeting to discuss the current fisheries crisis. click here to read the press release, and FISH-NL’s presentation 08:26

FISH-NL: Snow-crab cuts another body blow to fishery; special allocation with links to FFAW should be cut immediately

The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) says the province’s fishing industry took yet another body blow today with news that the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans cut the overall snow crab quota by 22 per cent. “Today’s news on snow crab, combined with last week’s almost 63 per cent cut to northern shrimp, spells disaster for the inshore fishery,” says Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL. “The very first cut in the total allowable catch (TAC) for snow crab on the tail of the Grand Banks in fishing zone 3N outside the 200-mile limit should be to the special interest allocation caught by the Katrina Charlene, the so-called ‘union boat,’ a quota whose origins are directly linked to the FFAW,” says Cleary. “First things first, the time has come for that conflict of interest to be acknowledged and the quota cancelled and added back to the allocations of independent harvesters.” Read the Press Release here 16:20