Yesterday, ASP presented a new offer to the FFAW Bargaining Committee for snow crab, offering a minimum price of 2.20 for the entirety of the 2023 season with the ability for higher reconsiderations if markets improve. The proposal included trip limits as well as an overage fund. The Committee convened yesterday afternoon to review the proposal and consulted with their respective fleets over the last day. The majority of harvesters strongly oppose the proposal.
“Leadership throughout the province have been clear today: the crab is staying in the water until harvesters get a higher share of the price,” says FFAW-Unifor President Greg Pretty. “FFAW-Unifor will formally reject ASP’s proposal, and the Bargaining Committee is preparing to meet for further discussions.”
Union leadership are adamantly against an overage fund of any kind. Harvesters are demanding more clarification on the trip limits and will not agree to uneconomical or unfair limits. Importantly, the FFAW will not agree to a fishery unless processing companies agree to not bring in outside crab while NL harvesters are on any sort of limits or scheduling. With rumours of outside companies offering NL harvesters $2.90 per pound, the Union will continue to explore outside sale options.
“The most important thing here is to remain united in our objective of standing up for a fair share. We cannot allow ourselves to fight against each other, we cannot resort to threats of violence or intimidation, and we cannot let it erode the leadership structure of our organization,” says Pretty. “Nearly ten thousand people in our province rely on the snow crab fishery as their primary or sole source of income. Their ability to pay their mortgage and bills, put food on the table, put their children in sports or activities, let alone save for education or retirement funds, is dependent on the success or failure of the Newfoundland and Labrador snow crab fishery. We are in a crisis of epic proportions and that is not an understatement. The future of our communities and of rural Newfoundland and Labrador will depend on how this situation resolves,” Pretty warns.
“The bottom line is this crisis isn’t ending here today. We need immediate action from our provincial government on a snow crab marketing board, and to mandate a pricing formula. Provincial intervention is desperately needed to work on long term solutions to protect this industry,” Pretty says.
FFAW-Unifor continues to call on the federal government for benefit extensions for the thousands of individuals caught in the crossfire of this economic disaster. Crew members, plant workers, and other fishery workers are without any recourse in this situation and are in desperate need of EI extensions.
One day longer. One day stronger.