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Fishermen launch legal challenge of FFAW election; 'no good complaining when fishery in toilet'

Bay Bulls enterprise owner Jason Sullivan and west coast crewman Dave Callahan are moving forward with a legal challenge of the process that led to the FFAW/Unifor’s election of Greg Pretty as president on Jan. 5th. Sullivan raised $50,000 through direct email transfers — double his target — and an indicator of widespread unrest over the election fiasco.

Greg Pretty was elected president of the FFAW-Unifor — the province's largest private-sector union — on Jan. 5th after a vote by the 50-odd members of the union's join council.

Pretty was endorsed for president by the union’s executive board on Dec. 1st, within hours of former president Keith Sullivan’s surprise resignation.


The union’s election committee, chaired by Pretty’s ex-wife Tina Pretty, only informed the other two candidates — Sullivan and Callahan — of their eligibly status two days before the election.

Sullivan’s candidacy was rejected because of his affiliation with FISH-NL, a rival union to the FFAW that closed more than three years ago.

Callahan’s candidacy was approved, but he was never supplied voter contact information.

Only members of the FFAW-Unifor’s joint council — made up of the union’s inshore and offshore/industrial councils — were eligible to vote in the election, which Pretty won by a vote 43 to 11.

SEA-NL had a direct interest in the FFAW election because most of our members are also union members.

Union credibility impacts fish price negotiations, and all other aspects of fishing industry representation.


While SEA-NL condemned the FFAW election as a corrupt process that undermines faith in labour democracy, as well as the union’s ability to hold governments to account, there hasn't been a word from the House of Labour.

Where are the other unions, whose democratic credibility is also impacted?

The new president of the province's federation of labour, Jessica McCormick, hasn't said a word publicly?

But then she worked for the FFAW not that long ago.

Her silence, in particular, is deafening.

Ryan Cleary,

Executive Director, SEA-NL

SEA-NL Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (SEA-NL) is a professional, non-profit organization serving as the distinct voice for licensed, independent owner-operator inshore fish harvesters. You can read more about SEA-NL, and join us here.

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