Skip to content

MEDIA RELEASE: EI Extension Needed for Workers Caught in Crossfire of Fishery Crisis  

May 4, 2023

Thousands of people in Newfoundland and Labrador are facing the expiration of employment insurance benefits as the crisis in the inshore fishery industry extends into the third week. Union leadership in processing plants around the province met virtually this morning, where the extent of the province-wide catastrophe was brought home and the call for federal support strengthened.

“Processing workers in Newfoundland and Labrador are facing a very dire situation and they need help now. They needed help two weeks ago. But our federal government has to step up and help those in need, and with every day that passes the list of those unprotected grows,” says FFAW-Unifor President Greg Pretty.

Despite dozens of meetings, phone calls, messages, and requests, the federal government still not implemented any of FFAW-Unifor’s proposals for aid nor offer an alternative solution. Thousands of individuals have sent emails and made phone calls to their MPs begging for this desperately needed help.

On the provincial side, plant leadership are disappointed the provincial government for their refusal to acknowledge and address the situation facing rural Newfoundland and Labrador.

“Premier Furey’s remarks in the house yesterday were condescending towards the thousands of people who rely on the inshore fishery to make a living. It’s clear our government does not understand the gravity of this situation and most importantly how they can step in to find a solution for everyone to get back to work,” says Doretta Strickland, FFAW-Unifor Vice President of the Industrial/Retail/Offshore Sector, and plant worker at the Ocean Choice International processing plant in Triton.

FFAW-Unifor continues to urge all members to contact their federal MP’s office to ensure they understand just how many of their own constituents are directly affected.

“The bottom line is there are hundreds if not thousands of people who have no income coming in, and both levels of government have a responsibility to stand up and ensure these people are not left behind,” Pretty concludes.