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Labour Board Dismisses FISH-NL Application, Attributes Delay in Process to FISH-NL

October 1, 2018

On Friday, the Labour Relations Board released their decision to dismiss FISH-NL’s certification application against the FFAW. The investigation by the Labour Relations Board into FISH-NL’s application confirmed FFAW-Unifor’s longstanding assertion that there are nearly 10,000 inshore fish harvesters in our province, which clearly shows that FISH-NL did not have adequate support to warrant a vote. Below is a summary of key findings taken from the 47 page report.


  • The Board found no basis to reach the conclusion that FISH-NL has a majority of members in good standing in the bargaining unit. (88)
  • The verified third party information provided by fish buyers and processors makes it clear there are thousands of members more than the approximately 4500 members that FISH-NL estimated in the existing bargaining unit. (89)
  • Even if the Board used the most favourable conceivable numbers on behalf of FISH-NL, it still does not have majority support. (97)
  • On several occasions, the Board directly attributed the delay in the process to FISH-NL’s actions
    • According to the report: the procedural history of the Application, along with the ever-evolving legal and factual arguments put forward by FISH-NL, demonstrate that the delay in processing this Application is directly attributable to the conduct of FISH-NL itself. (167)
    • The Board directed FISH-NL to provide information forming the basis for FISH-NL’s conclusion that there are approximately 4500 members in the bargaining unit that FISH-NL desires to represent. FISH-NL did not provide that information. (90)
    • The Board also directed FISH-NL to identify who FISH-NL believes the members of the proposed bargaining unit are. FISH-NL did not provide that information. (91)
    • FISH-NL was unable to provide any basis, rationale or evidence for its conclusion that there were approximately 4500 fishers in the existing bargaining unit. FISH-NL had, at a minimum, the onus of articulating to the Board some basis for the estimate that it put forward in the Application.  (99)
    • If FISH-NL had provided a more realistic approximation of the number of existing bargaining unit members in its Application or if FISH-NL had provided more information related to its approximation as ordered by the Board, then this would have saved a significant amount of time in processing the Application. (100)
    • Furthermore, and if FISH-NL had noted at the start of the Application that it wished to exclude members from the existing bargaining unit, rather than attempt to demonstrate majority support within the existing bargaining unit, then that would have saved a significant amount of time in processing the Application. (101)
    • The Board sees no basis to order a certification vote as requested by FISH-NL based upon the delay in processing this Application when the delay has resulted from the actions of FISH-NL itself. (171)
    • The Board also rejected FISH-NL’s claim that the delay in processing the Application was in contravention to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms because the delay in question was directly attributable to FISH-NL itself. (181)
  • In regards to FISH-NL’s attempt to reconstruct the make-up of the existing bargaining unit, the Board found: the bargaining unit has existed for decades, collective bargaining has occurred for the members of this bargaining unit, and the bargaining unit is appropriate for collective bargaining. As it is, FISH-NL did not seek to have the Board exercise its discretionary ability to review, rescind, amend, alter or vary its Orders related to the bargaining unit so no further analysis in this regard is necessary. (109)
  • The Board acknowledged that FISH-NL’s suggested criteria would exclude fishers from the existing bargaining unit, and it was therefore suggested by FISH-NL that the Board could exclude fishers for the purposes of a vote but include those fishers in the subsequent bargaining unit. (132). The Board made the decision that no fishers in the existing bargaining unit should be excluded for the purposes of deciding the Application, or, therefore, for the purposes of deciding whether to conduct a certification vote. (118, 122)

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