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SEA-NL condemns FFAW-Unifor election; union credibility spent

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Friday, Jan. 6th, 2023

Greg Pretty (centre) was elected FFAW-Unifor President Thursday over Dave Callahan (left) by a vote of 43 to 11. Jason Sullivan, right, was disqualified for his affiliation with FISH-NL, which closed over three years ago.


Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (SEA-NL) condemns the election Thursday of FFAW-Unifor president Greg Pretty, saying the corrupt process undermines faith in democracy, and the union’s ability to hold governments to account.

“The election reeked of hypocrisy, and the FFAW’s credibility in this province has been spent,” says Merv Wiseman, a local expert on organizational governance and a member of SEA-NL’s board of directors.

“The FFAW cannot hold the federal or provincial governments to account for fisheries management when the union’s own governance is a joke to the very industry it represents.”

On Thursday, Greg Pretty was elected president of the FFAW-Unifor — the province’s largest private-sector union with 15,000 members, including workers in all sectors of the commercial fishing industry.

Pretty, who’s been with the FFAW since 1979, 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 — Dave Callahan, and Jason Sullivan — 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. While Callahan’s candidacy was approved, he wasn’t supplied voter contact information.

Only a few dozen 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. Pretty won the vote 43 to 11.

As a professional association representing licensed inshore enterprise owners, most of SEA-NL’s membership are also members of the FFAW-Unifor, which negotiates fish prices on behalf of the inshore fleet.

“SEA-NL had an interest in the FFAW election as much as any fisherman,” said Ryan Cleary, SEA-NL’s Executive Director.

Over the coming days SEA-NL will lay out the process for electing a president to replace Jason Sullivan, who initially took a leave of absence from his position to run in the FFAW-Unior election, but later resigned.

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Ryan Cleary,

Executive Director, 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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