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Unifor labour tiff could have repercussions for FFAW

Fishing boats at Herring Neck, near Twillingate.
Inshore fishing boats at Herring Neck, near Twillingate. - File photo

The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) is wondering what Unifor’s decision to leave the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) means for the Fish, Food and Allied Workers (FFAW) union.

Unifor, the largest private-sector union in Canada and the FFAW’s national affiliate, withdrew from the CLC last week following a disagreement on whether the union can absorb members from other unions.

The CLC does not allow a union to solicit members from another affiliate union, FISH-NL pointed out in a news release on Jan. 21, in which it called on the province’s Federation of Labour to clarify whether the FFAW can remain a CLC member.

“Inshore harvesters are demanding to know the lay of the land with the local labour movement,” FISH-NL president Ryan Cleary said.

The CLC has demanded provincial labour councils kick out Unifor and affiliates like the FFAW, the FISH-NL release notes.

FISH-NL says the move also raises questions as to whether Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of Labour president Mary Shortall and other executives who are Unifor members must resign their posts.

FISH-NL is fighting to breakaway inshore members of the FFAW into a separate union.

"There appears to be considerable confusion on the labour front following Unifor's break from the CLC, and members deserve to know where things stand,” Cleary said.

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