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FFAW files motion to overturn decision by Labour Board

February 23, 2018

With just cause, FFAW-Unifor filed a motion to overturn a February 21, 2017 decision by the province’s Labour Relations Board dismissing FFAW’s challenge that FISH-NL was not a properly organized association. The process under which FISH-NL organized itself as an association was severely flawed, and was challenged by FFAW-Unifor in February 2017.

The recently released decision of the board showed a split decision, with the Chairperson of the Board, Sheilagh M. Murphy, Q.C., siding with the position of FFAW-Unifor. The Chair of the Labour Relations Board took exception to the lack of clarity in FISH-NL’s constitution, stating FISH-NL “chose not to state the purpose of the organization in its constitution, chose not to have the membership elect the executive, chose not to have the members become members until after the founding meeting, and chose not to have the constitution ratified by the membership.”

Murphy goes on to say, “The totality of the errors, deliberate acts and negligence in this case are exactly…why close scrutiny of new organizations purporting to represent members is warranted.”

Murphy also added that FISH-NL “did not articulate in its constitution the purported primary purpose of its existence: collective bargaining on behalf of inshore fishers.”

Ryan Cleary has stated that FISH-NL should not adhere to provincial labour legislation, rather the legislation must change to suit its agenda. These statements from the Chairperson of the Labour Relations Board support FFAW-Unifor’s assertion that FISH-NL has exhibited incompetence in its desperation for a membership vote, despite a clear lack of support from the majority of fish harvesters in the province.