Tag Archives: FFAW-Unifor

Harvey Jarvis – Ignore cod sentinel data at our peril

Twenty-three years ago, I helped lead a team that designed and implemented the cod sentinel inshore survey on Northern Cod (Southern Avalon, North East Coast and Labrador). The status of Northern Cod has been much in the news lately and the decision, by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO), to cut the commercial quota has been met with some stiff opposition from the FFAW-Unifor. This prompted me to do a little investigating to see what cod sentinel is telling us about Northern Cod. Based on a review of cod sentinel information, by opposing the 2018 quota reduction by DFO, I can only conclude that the FFAW-Unifor and the Groundfish Industry Development Council (GIDC) appear to be ignoring the last five years of sentinel data. According to information that I have been able to piece together, cod sentinel results are as follows: >click to read<09:03

FISH-NL Calls For Resignation of Dominic LeBlanc, Federal Minister of Fisheries and Oceans

The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) is calling for Dominic LeBlanc’s resignation in light of his failure to address the current fisheries crisis. “Twenty six years after the northern cod moratorium, and the federal minister of Fisheries and Oceans still isn’t prepared to lead and do what needs to be done,” said Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL. “It’s time for LeBlanc to get out of the way, or for the Prime Minster to replace him.” ,,, LeBlanc has made a number of decisions as minister that have hurt this province, >click to read<11:56

FFAW-Unifor bans thousands of members from running for executive positions in communist-like move: FISH-NL

The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) accuses the FFAW-Unifor executive of manipulating the union Constitution to project 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 vice-president,” 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.” >click to read<13:53

FISH-NL calls on FFAW-Unifor to appeal 2018 crab price; questions why union isn’t fighting for inshore harvesters

The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) is calling on the FFAW-Unifor to appeal the price of snow crab set in early April by the Standing Fish Price Setting Panel. “Why isn’t the FFAW-Unifor fighting for inshore crab harvesters?” questions Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL. “The $4.55 a pound price set for snow crab in this province is well below the $5 a pound offered in the Maritimes, and the $8 a pound wholesale price that Japanese buyers were reportedly lining up to pay earlier this month.”>click to read<12:33

FISH-NL calls on Labour Board to conduct vote – FFAW-Unifor’s membership numbers ‘misleading’

Almost 16 months after FISH-NL presented an application for certification, the preliminary report of an investigator with the Labour Relations Board was released last week, with final submissions on Wednesday. The investigator’s report is now in the hands of the Board, which will ultimately decide how to proceed. FISH-NL has estimated the number of inshore harvesters in the province at around 4,500, while the FFAW-Unifor pegs the number at as high as 10,000. The difference is in definition. >click to read<15:50

FISH-NL: Paper names and paper numbers; FFAW-Unifor’s dues-paying list more smoke and mirrors

The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) says the FFAW-Unifor is playing its usual smoke and mirrors with regards to a report released this afternoon by the province’s Labour Relations Board. The report — prepared by the Board’s investigator into FISH-NL’s Dec. 30, 2016 application for certification — includes information on the number of people who paid FFAW-Unifor union dues in 2015 and 2016. >click to read<09:21

Northern cod an icon for fisheries mismanagement

I wish to respond to the March 31 letter to the editor (“Northern cod numbers no reason to panic: FFAW”) by Keith Sullivan, President of the FFAW-Unifor. Sullivan is correct — the latest scientific information on the health of the Northern Cod stock isn’t reason to “panic.” Indeed, the news from DFO science of a 30 per cent decline in the iconic resource that was already deep in the “critical” zone is reason for inshore harvesters to riot in the streets, or, at the very least, burn the few union cards left. The news is also reason to demand an independent investigation of the management practices of the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) in the Newfoundland and Labrador region. >click to read<10:13

FFAW-Unifor files Supreme Court application in ‘desperate’ attempt to block vote on union representation: FISH-NL

The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) describes the latest legal maneuvers by the FFAW-Unifor to try and derail a vote by inshore harvesters on their union representation as an “act of desperation.” “The FFAW-Unifor executive knows they’ll lose a vote, and are desperate to cling to power,” says Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL. “They’re using the courts and legal costs to try and quash the FISH-NL movement, but we’re past the point of no return — a vote must happen before inshore harvesters and the fishery can move forward.”>click to read< 13:42

FISH-NL: DFO outreach meetings prove FFAW-Unifor no longer voice of inshore harvesters

The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) says the most common issue during a recent series of outreach meetings held around the province by the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans is that the FFAW-Unifor is no longer the voice of inshore harvesters. “That sentiment was expressed at every single meeting — without exception — and with union representatives front and centre in the room,” says Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL. “The FFAW-Unifor no longer speaks for most harvesters, and that message should be loud, clear, and obvious to the entire fishing industry, including federal Minister Dominic LeBlanc.” >click to read< 09:27

FISH-NL issues warning to DFO on changes to harvester registration in Atlantic Canada; NL system not working

“The Professional Fish Harvester Certification Board (PFHCB) is not working here in terms of a conflict of interest with the FFAW-Unifor, and it’s not working for people attempting to enter the fishery,” says Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL. “DFO should not give the PFHCB any more authority than it already has, review its relationship with the FFAW-Unifor for conflict of interest, and insist that the Board modernize its qualifying criteria.” DFO is looking for feedback on proposed changes to the requirements for fish harvester registration in Atlantic Canada. The deadline for feedback is Wednesday, Jan. 31st. >click here to read<14:54

Fishermen greatly affected by announced marine refuges, union says

The Hawke Channel (off the southeast coast of Labrador) and Funk Island Deep (off the northeast coast of the island) marine refuges will be closed to all fishing activity to help conserve seafloor habitat that is important to the recovering northern cod stocks. The Northeast Newfoundland Slope, formerly known as Tobin’s Point, is an area off the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador just inside the 200-mile limit. It is thought to contain key spawning and breeding grounds, nurseries and refuges for many aquatic species. click here to read the story 08:37

When Rome was burning, Nero played his violin – Current Fisheries Policy Damaging Industry

Just a little over a year ago, the Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of Labour came out swinging against FISH-NL. The head of the federation of labour, Mary Shortall, said FISH-NL was raiding one of its member unions and the federation was completely against it. Shortall said all of the federation’s member unions were standing in solidarity with the FFAW-Unifor. The fact that FISH-NL was formed because a significant number of the FFAW-Unifor’s fish harvester membership was totally unsatisfied with the FFAW-Unifor, was totally ignored by the federation of labour. click here to read the story 09:19

FISH-NL applauds Grand Bank for standing up to FFAW-Unifor

The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) applauds Grand Bank Mayor Rex Matthews for calling out the FFAW-Unifor for being an “arm of the federal government.” “It’s nice to hear someone other than FISH-NL say the FFAW-Unifor is in Ottawa’s pocket,” said Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL. “The FFAW-Unifor hasn’t said a word against Ottawa’s plan to expropriate a huge chunk of the Arctic surf clam quota — which fuels the Grand Bank plant — the same way the union didn’t open its mouth when the feds gave away a piece of the future redfish quota in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.” click here to read the press release 07:55

‘We were blindsided’: Grand Bank mayor anticipating job losses in wake of major arctic surf clam changesclick here to read the story 

Thousands fewer inshore harvesters than FFAW-Unifor claimed; FISH-NL receives union support from across Canada

The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) is pleased with the Labour Relations Board’s release of what officials describe as an “accurate and reliable” list of the province’s inshore harvesters. “It’s been almost 10 months since FISH-NL submitted our application for certification so a list of inshore harvesters from the board is a huge and welcome step forward,” says Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL. Obtained from various “sources,” the labour board’s list includes the names of 6,371 inshore harvesters — almost 4,000 fewer than the 10,200 active, dues-paying members that the FFAW-Unifor has claimed to represent. click here to read the press release 11:06

FFAW Statement Regarding FISH-NL and Labour Relations Boardclick here to read the statement

FISH-NL says inshore harvesters charged $1,000 by their own union for tuna tags, more than fish is worth 

The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) is questioning why the FFAW-Unifor is charging inshore harvesters $1,000 for a bluefin tuna tag when fishermen can’t get much more than that from the sale of a fish. “This seems to be yet another FFAW-Unifor money grab,” says Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL. “The real question here is why the union is charging its members anything at all? The FFAW is supposed to be in the business of helping harvesters, not profiting from them.” click here to read the press release 16:49

FFAW-Unifor upset with DFO decision to draft inadequate northern shrimp plan

The Fish, Food and Allied Workers (FFAW-Unifor) union is criticizing a decision to move forward with drafting a rebuilding plan for northern shrimp that it calls “unachievable.” According to a news release from the union, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) announced the decision at a meeting in Montreal today. While FFAW-Unifor supports the need for a rebuilding plan for northern shrimp, the union argues the current method is unrealistic and needs to be changed. click here to read the story 12:08

FFAW bloated with millions more in fees and government revenue than union dues

The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) estimates the FFAW-Unifor will be fed by almost $5 million more this year from harvester fees and government sources than from membership dues, proving the union has lost its way.  “The FFAW-Unifor has mutated into a labour sea monster with tentacles in management, science, dockside monitoring, grading, professionalization, and safety,” says Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL. “It’s often said that the FFAW doesn’t make money from fishermen, but through fishermen. The union executive grows fat with huge salaries and pensions while inshore harvesters are being starved out.” In 2017, FISH-NL estimates the FFAW-Unifor will collect $7.9 million in fees from inshore harvesters for services such as dockside monitoring and grading, as well as from various government contracts/grants. click here to read the story 08:11

FISH-NL accuses FFAW-Unifor of hypocrisy, preaching ‘fair access’ for inshore harvesters while squeezing them out 

The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) accuses the FFAW-Unifor of hypocrisy for preaching “fair access” to adjacent resources for inshore harvesters while, in practice, squeezing them out. “If the FFAW said the sun was splitting the rocks inshore harvesters would run for their oil clothes,” says Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL. “When it comes to the deck of a fishing boat the union’s credibility is non-existent.” The FFAW-Unifor issued a news release earlier today (click here) announcing the formation of a new committee focused on securing “fair and reasonable” access for the inshore fleet to fish resources adjacent to the province’s shores. In particular, access to groundfish species such as greysole, turbot, redfish and American plaice, quotas for many of which are managed by the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO), which oversees fishing in international waters outside Canada’s 200-mile limit. click here to read the press release 13:27

FISH-NL releases correspondence in response to its call for immediate vote for inshore harvesters to decide their union fate 

The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) was forwarded correspondence today in response to its Aug. 15th letter asking the Labour Relations Board to proceed immediately with a vote of inshore harvesters to decide which union they want to represent them. The correspondence is from the Association of Seafood Producers (ASP), and the FFAW-Unifor. “FISH-NL believes in complete transparency,” said Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL. “In that light, both letters are attached.” click here to read the press release and letters 13:45

Labrador Fishermen’s Union Shrimp Company to process Northern Peninsula cod

On Sunday, Aug. 6, the Labrador Fishermen’s Union Shrimp Company Ltd. (LFUSC) reached a preliminary agreement with the Fish, Food and Allied Workers (FFAW-Unifor) union and St. Anthony Seafoods Inc. to purchase and process cod caught in NAFO Division 3K. The three groups met, with a number of fishermen attending, at the Hotel North in St. Anthony. Under the preliminary agreement, harvesters will unload the cod in Goose Cove and St. Lunaire-Griquet, and it will then be shipped by truck to St. Barbe. There, it will be transported across the Strait of Belle Isle by ferry, to be processed at the LFUSC plant in L’Anse au Loup. click here to read the story 14:29

St. Anthony harvesters told they can’t keep their crab

Frustrated crab fishermen gathered outside the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) office in St. Anthony early Wednesday morning. While the crab fishery officially ended on July 30, many harvesters left their final pots of the season in the water until now because of rough weather conditions. Late Tuesday evening, however, fishermen received calls that due to the delay in taking up their pots, any crab caught would have to be thrown back in the ocean. It was the cause of mass frustration that sent over 18 harvesters outside the DFO office the following morning.,,“They’re saying we got to throw away the crab, the crab that were starving for,” said Alyward. “Everybody out there got a couple thousand dollars of bait in those pots, and now we have to throw it all away. It’s pretty sick, that’s what I call that.” click here to read the story 09:10

‘Unreasonable delay,’ – FISH-NL urges Labour Board  to call immediate vote for fishermen to choose their union 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Aug. 1st, 2017 The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) is calling on the province’s Labour Relations Board to conduct an immediate vote of inshore harvesters to decide which union they want to represent them. “It’s been seven months since FISH-NL presented our application for certification to the board with no end in sight,” says Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL. “The delay is unreasonable, given that time is of the essence.” On Dec. 30th, 2016, FISH-NL presented an application to the province’s Labour Relations Board requesting the new union be certified as the bargaining agent for inshore fish harvesters, currently represented by the FFAW-Unifor.,,, While FISH-NL and the FFAW-Unifor supplied information to the Labour Relations Board in response to the order, Derek Butler President of ASP, refused. click here to read the press release 07:56

NL Fish Harvesters Welcome Minister’s Commitment to Protect the Independence of the Inshore Fishery

The Fish, Food and Allied Workers’ Union (FFAW-Unifor) applauds Minister Dominic LeBlanc’s announcement that the Department of Fisheries and Oceans will pursue amendments to the Fisheries Act that will protect the independent owner-operator fishery. “The best way to build a strong middle class, create jobs and protect and strengthen the economy in coastal communities is through enforcing the owner-operator and fleet separation policies,” said Keith Sullivan, President of the Fish, Food and Allied Workers (FFAW-Unifor). “Today’s announcement is the result of consistent calls from FFAW-Unifor and other fisheries organizations across Canada to keep fishing licenses in the hands of those who actually fish by taking concrete steps to enforce existing policies.” click here to read the press release 08:12

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 files opposition to MPA off Newfoundland’s south coast, calling it joke to scientists and insult to inshore harvesters

The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) has registered its official opposition to proposed regulations to govern a Marine Protected Area (MPA) in the Laurentian Channel off Newfoundland’s south coast. “The proposed Laurentian Channel MPA is an insult to inshore fish harvesters, and a cruel joke to scientists,” says Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL. “The fact that the proposal has  been signed off on by the FFAW-Unifor is yet another example of a union that no longer champions its members or the fishing industry, and has become a lackie of Ottawa and the oil and gas industry.” click here to read the press release 11:56

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

Letter: Fish union failing members on crucial issues

I wish to respond to Lana Payne’s June 24th column (“Austerity should be on trial”). I have no problem with the opinion piece — austerity, no doubt, had a hand in the recent tragic high-rise fire in London, England. But while austerity should be on trial in Europe, FFAW-Unifor was actually before the courts right here in Newfoundland and Labrador, and Payne, Unifor’s Atlantic director, ignored the elephant on the wharf — as has the province’s Federation of Labour and every other union leader in the province, and country. It’s unprecedented for a Canadian union to have deceived its members, which is exactly what happened with scallop harvesters in the Strait of Belle Isle. click here to read the letter 19:48

Letter: Give inshore fish harvesters a free vote – Peter Leonard, Southern Harbour 

On Jan. 31st, at a Labour Relations Board hearing in St. John’s, we saw — yet again — FFAW-Unifor fighting its own members who are openly seeking alternate representation for inshore fish harvesters. With what seems like unlimited financial and legal resources, FFAW-Unifor is trying to string along the process in the hopes of defeating our efforts, while FISH-NL supporters have worked tirelessly raising funds to support our initiatives.  As inshore fish harvesters, we are not trying to break up FFAW-Unifor or the other sectors it represents. Inshore harvesters want to break away because we feel that the FFAW cannot and has not been able to properly represent us due to conflicts of interest with the other sectors it represents. How can we expect solid representation when the same union represents plant workers and offshore trawlermen and is receiving funding from both levels of government? How does a union fight for better fish prices for harvesters at the same time that it fights for better wages for plant workers, while in the same breath fighting both levels of government that it’s being funded by? Read the letter here 09:39

FFAW-Unifor Statement on FISH-NL Application to Labour Board

Today the exact number of cards submitted by FISH-NL in an application to the Labour Relations Board was made public. As FFAW-Unifor anticipated, Cleary did not obtain nearly enough of the support required to represent the bargaining unit “Ryan Cleary and his group have taken advantage of a time of transition in our fishery and are preying on harvesters who are experiencing financial hardship as a result of that transition by making promises without any plan to back them up,” said Keith Sullivan, President of the Fish, Food and Allied Workers Union. “The numbers are now public and it is clear FISH-NL does not have adequate support.” Read the Press Release here 13:44

Fish Harvester Tonia Grandy believes it’s time for change in representation.

Many of the problems in the province’s fishery can be traced back to the Fish, Food and Allied Workers (FFAW-Unifor) union, the Garnish fish harvester surmises. She hopes that change will come in the form of the Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL). The Ryan Cleary-led group currently leading a charge to breakaway from FFAW-Unifor and form a new union that solely represents fish harvesters in the province has her full support, she said. FFAW-Unifor represents fish harvesters and fish plant workers. “This is a union for the fishermen, by the fishermen,” she said of FISH-NL. “This is something I believes in, and I’ve got my time and effort put into this a hundred per cent – a hundred per cent. We needs someone who is going to stand up and who is going to get the fishermen their fair share of quota.” Read the story here 14:49