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Not all FFAW members 'encouraged to participate' in elections for inshore council

The FFAW-Unifor news release left out the fine print: if you're one of more than 2,600 union members who signed a FISH-NL card in 2019, you're not eligible to run for an inshore council seat unless you renounced your membership in writing. a year ago.

In early 2018 the FFAW-Unifor executive board quietly amended the union’s Constitution so that all candidates interested in running for executive positions had to sign an affidavit to swear they haven’t been a “member, officer or director” of FISH-NL within the three years previous, or signed a FISH-NL membership card.

The move effectively blocked thousands of harvesters from running against president Keith Sullivan and then-secretary-treasurer Dave Decker (who's since resigned) — protecting their jobs for another three-year term, and punishing harvesters who took a stand against them.

Similar affidavits (below) are being used today for the election of the FFAW's inshore council, and have been mailed out to members.

That's even though the FISH-NL union folded more than two years ago.

In January 2019 the FFAW-Unifor told inshore harvesters they must sign a pledge of allegiance to the union to serve on area committees, potentially blocking thousands of dues-payers from taking part.

Well-known fisherman Calvin Kerrivan stepped down as head of the Placentia Bay supplementary crab committee after he refused to sign the affidavit of allegiance to the FFAW-Unifor.

The FFAW later reportedly pulled back on its insistence that committee members sign the affidavits, but Kerrivan wasn't reinstated.

Most labour groups have been hesitant to criticize the actions of the FFAW since inshore harvesters began openly speaking out in 2015, but the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada, the union representing DFO scientists in the province, did just that in December.

Ryan Cleary,

Interim Executive Director,


SEA-NL founding convention will be held virtually on Feb. 8th, 2021, and will be open to all owner-operator members in good standing. To join SEA-NL go here.

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