It may not be a lawsuit for millions, but the association representing the fish processing companies in this province that regularly exhibit cartel-like behaviour against the inshore fleet (SEA-NL must be careful not to be sued ourselves) is going after the FFAW for compensation from last spring’s tie-up.
The FFAW's inshore council is meeting this week in Corner Brook, and rumours circulated that the union was being sued by ASP for the tie-up. Following up on a SEA-NL tweet, Undercurrent seafood news confirmed a grievance was filed in August.
Jeff Loder of ASP told Undercurrent that a grievance has been filed against the union for violating the no-strike clause in the Fisheries Act.
From where I stand, the tie-up was most definitely not a strike.
There was no strike pay to begin with, and not a single picket line for other unions to drop off free coffee/donuts.
The FFAW didn’t even call the shots, which at key points were left to Bay Bulls fisherman Jason Sullivan.
In Greg Pretty’s defence, he wanted a deal in early May when the FFAW's snow crab “slush fund” was still on the table.
Thank God for the union’s job-for-life policy or Pretty might have been out on his arse right there and then.
If the ASP wins the grievance it would mean that processors can choose not to buy fish from a fisherman, but a fisherman must fish and sell the catch to the processor even at a price that screws him.
That sums up the 2023 fishery.
So the grievance is said to be headed to arbitration, with the potential of damages to be paid to the ASP when all is said and done in four to six months.
An arbitrator’s final report will eventually be made public on the Labour department’s website, and until then nothing more will be said.
So on top of taking the same $2.20/lb that was on the table to trigger the tie-up in the first place, followed by the elimination of the 20% size tolerance, and the fishing schedules/trip limits, not to forget the above-mentioned cartel-like behaviour of the companies on every coast, they want more blood from the inshore.
Loder is quoted as saying all parties are subjected to the “rules-based system,” only what happens when the system has been corrupted in favour of one side over the other?
HERE'S ANOTHER SHOCKER
Undercurrent also pointed out that in 2022 the FFAW filed grievances against Quinlan Brothers and Green Seafoods alleging they didn’t pay the minimum snow crab price.
The union later conceded the minimum price had indeed been paid, but companies are permitted to deduct from that for other expenses like ice and trucking — which is not a breach of the collective agreement.
How’s that for being f—ked altogether?
Ryan Cleary, Executive Director, SEA-NL
Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (SEA-NL) is a professional, non-profit organization that serves as the distinct voice for licensed, independent owner-operator inshore fish harvesters. Visit sea-nl.ca to join. If you have any issues contact me at email@example.com or 709 682 4862.