FISH-NL NEEDS ALL HANDS ON DECK
ALL HANDS ON DECK
The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) is closer than ever to securing a vote by the Labour Relations Board for inshore harvesters to decide their union fate.
The Board has struck a three-person panel to rule on the application, and the panel met with both FISH-NL and the FFAW-Unifor on May 15th for the first time since the application was filed almost 16 months ago on Dec. 30th, 2016.
FISH-NL estimates there are 4,500 bonafide, full-time, boots-on-a-deck inshore harvesters in the province, half the number claimed by the FFAW-Unifor.
The legislation states that FISH-NL must have the support of at least 40 per cent of the membership to force the vote, although the panel can ultimately do whatever it chooses.
It's not known what the panel may do next — let alone when to expect a final decision on the application.
FISH-NL MUST BE PREPARED.
Please join FISH-NL’s effort to make the fishery work for fish harvesters. As the fishery goes, so goes Newfoundland and Labrador.
(From left: Twillingate fisherman Richard Gillett, VP of FISH-NL; Ryan Cleary, President; Harvey Jarvis, secretary-treasurer; and Southern Harbour fisherman Peter Leonard, strong supporter. The picture was taken by CBC TV's Terry Roberts following a May 15th meeting with the LabourRelations Board.
Inshore harvesters are the most controlled labour group in the free world — with no benefits (health/dental), no pension, no right to strike, no choice (in terms of paying dues), and no free market (outside fish buyers aren't allowed in the province on an even playing field).
Add to the list no right to run for election.
The FFAW-Unifor executive board changed the union constitution earlier this year so that any members who signed FISH-NL cards in the past three years will not be allowed to run for the union's top positions — including president, and secretary-treasurer.
So much for democracy — the labour situation in the Newfoundland and Labrador fishery is as bad as any communist regime, and yet another reason why the Labour Relations Board must proceed with a vote.
FISH-NL is founded on five basic principles grounded into the Constitution: transparency, consultation, fish harvesters first, holding the Government of Canada to account for fisheries management as outlined in the Terms of Union, and the fundamental concepts of adjacency and historical attachment.
The FISH-NL movement is funded entirely by contributions, meaning even with light overhead our bank balance isn't our strength — especially since this process has taken a heck of a lot longer than anyone could have imagined.
FISH-NL has faced a constant financial struggle (one that’s been well publicized in the Newfoundland and Labrador media over the past 16 months), and the delay has put an enormous and unreasonable strain on our limited resources.
But there's been no stopping this boat, fuelled by an unstoppable will for change.
(More FISH-NL executive from left: Southern Shore fisherman Jason Sullivan (Captain, under 40-foot fleet; Ryan Cleary; Port Saunders fisherman Boyd Lavers (Captain, over 40-foot fleet), and Richard Gillett.
WHAT WILL FUNDING BE USED FOR?
The $75,000 will be used to pay legal fees, and office expenses.
FISH-NL may not be the official bargaining agent for inshore harvesters just yet, but we're already operating as a union in terms of fighting for members with various fishery issues.
Besides the ongoing battle before the Labour Relations Board, the FFAW-Unifor has appealed FISH-NL's status as a union to the province's Supreme Court.
On Feb. 21st, 2017, the province’s Labour Relations Board ruled FISH-NL is an “association of fishers” under the Fisheries Industry Collective Bargaining Act. The FFAW-Unifor had challenged FISH-NL’s status as a properly constituted union, and now its challenging the decision.
The FFAW-Unifor is using all the resources of the parent union — and the resources of inshore harvesters themselves — to tackle FISH-NL's challenge.
Only it's not working.
PLEASE NOTE: FISH-NL operates based on fairness for all harvesters — donations do not translate to influence within FISH-NL.
To fish processing companies and the offshore sector — keep your money, FISH-NL is for inshore harvesters only.
Donations through the Go Fund Me campaign are strictly by VISA or MasterCard.
If you want to make a donation by cheque, make it payable to FISH-NL and mail to:
P.O. BOX 1064
St. John's, NL
If you would like to make a money transfer please e-mail Ryan Cleary at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him directly at 709 682 4862.
FISH-NL can be also reached by phone, 701-0747.
Onwards and upwards.