FISH-NL extends deadline to submit membership cards
Extension a sign of insufficient support, FFAW responds
The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador ( FISH- NL) has extended its deadline to send in membership cards.
The initial deadline of Dec. 20 has been pushed back to Dec. 29, according to a press release from the breakaway union.
“Membership cards continue to pour in by the hour,” FISHNL president Ryan Cleary said in the release.
“According to the legislation, our application for certification must be submitted by the end of December, so we’ll continue to collect cards until then.”
Once an application has been made to the Labour Relations Board, membership cards can no longer be submitted.
“We’ll have our shoulders to the wheel as long as cards come in — right up to the deadline. We don’t want to leave a single fish harvester behind,” Cleary said.
The FISH-NL news release also stated the group could decide to submit a single application for certification on behalf of all fish harvesters in the province or go with multiple applications on a buyer-by-buyer basis.
“Ultimately we’ll go with our strength,” Cleary said. “We’ve collected thousands of cards, with support from every nook and cranny of the province. Most certification drives have a minimum of 90 days to collect membership cards, but we only had 60 days, and we’ve done the impossible.”
More than 11,000 cards have been distributed around the province since the membership drive began on Nov. 1, the news release noted.
‘Writing on the wall’
The Fish, Food and Allied Workers (FFAW-Unifor) union responded to the extension with a news release of its own, saying the decision is sign the group doesn’t have the support it needs.
“The writing is on the wall,” FFAW secretary- treasurer David Decker said.
“Not only is this group not up to the challenge of representing harvesters, their plan to divide harvesters into many separate bargaining units would only benefit the companies by pitting fish harvesters against one another.”
The FFAW release suggested FISH-NL would have filed an application Dec. 20 if they had met the 50 per cent support that is required.
“Today’s (Dec. 20) announcement is a very good indication of how disorganized this group is. Their self-appointed deadline has come and gone and clearly they’ve fallen short,” Decker said.