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UPDATED: Supreme Court dismisses FFAW-Unifor appeal of FISH-NL union status

FFAW president Keith Sullivan (left) and FISH-NL president Ryan Cleary.
FFAW-Unifor president Keith Sullivan (left) and FISH-NL president Ryan Cleary (right). -SaltWire Network file photo/Sally Cole

Cleary calls it ‘huge boost’, FFAW-Unifor is ‘disappointed’

The province’s Supreme Court has dismissed the Fish, Food and Allied Workers-Unifor (FFAW-Unifor) appeal of the Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador’s (FISH-NL) status as a properly constituted union.

In his decision filed Wednesday, Justice Donald H. Burrage also ordered the FFAW to pay FISH-NL’s court costs.

FISH-NL issued a news release about the decision Wednesday.

“The FFAW has used every legal maneuver in the book to try and quash the FISH-NL movement and drown their own members in legal fees, but the highest court in the land has seen through it,” FISH-NL president Ryan Cleary was quoted in the release.

“Coming the day before FISH-NL’s convention in Gander, the decision is a huge boost,” he continued.

FFAW-Unifor sent an emailed statement to The Telegram in which the union wrote it is disappointed with the Supreme Court’s decision.

“The original Labour Relations Board decision on the issue of whether FISH-NL was properly formed was not unanimous,” reads FFAW-Unifor’s statement. “In her dissent the then-chair of the Labour Relations Board, Sheilagh M. Murphy, Q.C., identified serious flaws in FISH-NL’s formation as an association. As a result, FFAW-Unifor sought a judicial review of this decision at the Supreme Court.”

Meanwhile, the Labour Relations Board dismissed FISH-NL's application for certification this past fall. FISH-NL now has a second application and membership drive planned for later this year.

Both FISH-NL and FFAW-Unifor had harsh words for one another in their statements on Wednesday.

FFAW-Unifor wrote that FISH-NL “does not represent any fish harvesters in the province for the purposes of collective bargaining.

“It is unfortunate that they continue to seek financial contributions from hard-working Newfoundlanders and Labradorians when they have no official status as a representative of fish harvesters,” the FFAW-Unifor statement said.

Conversely, Cleary was quoted in the FISH-NL release saying FFAW-Unifor “will use any technicality to stop inshore harvesters from getting a vote to decide their union future”.

“FISH-NL is nothing but determined to see democracy return to the union movement,” Cleary was quoted saying.

After FISH-NL filed its application for certification with the Labour Relations Board in late 2016, FFAW-Unifor applied to the board for a review of FISH-NL’s status as a properly constituted union.

By February 2017, the board ruled FISH-NL was an association of fishers under the Fisheries Industry Collective Bargaining Act, but the FFAW later appealed the decision to the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Earlier story:

The province’s Supreme Court has dismissed the Fish, Food and Allied Workers-Unifor (FFAW-Unifor) appeal of the Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador’s (FISH-NL) status as a properly constituted union.

In his decision filed Wednesday, Justice Donald H. Burrage also ordered the FFAW to pay FISH-NL’s court costs.

FISH-NL issued a press release about the decision Wednesday.

“The FFAW has used every legal maneuver in the book to try and quash the FISH-NL movement and drown their own members in legal fees, but the highest court in the land has seen through it,” FISH-NL president Ryan Cleary was quoted in the release.

“Coming the day before FISH-NL’s convention in Gander, the decision is a huge boost,” he continued.

Meanwhile, the Labour Relations Board dismissed FISH-NL's application for certification this past fall. FISH-NL now has a second application and membership drive planned for later this year.

After FISH-NL filed its application for certification with the Labour Relations Board in late 2016, FFAW-Unifor applied to the board for a review of FISH-NL’s status as a properly constituted union.

By February of 2017, the board ruled FISH-NL was an association of fishers under the Fisheries Industry Collective Bargaining Act, but the FFAW later appealed the decision to the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador.

The Telegram has reached out to FFAW-Unifor and will update this story with the union’s comments once available.

Related story:

UPDATED: Labour relations board dismisses FISH-NL certification application

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