Head to head: FISH-NL challenges FFAW to public debate
N.L. Federation of Labour vows to stand 'shoulder-to-shoulder' with FFAW
FISH-NL's Ryan Cleary is challenging the leadership of the Fish, Food and Allied Workers Union (FFAW) to a public debate, in the latest salvo between the two groups vying to represent the province's fish harvesters.
"Fish harvesters deserve answers, honesty, and a clear vision for the future — not yet more FFAW lies and deception," said FISH-NL president Ryan Cleary in a news release on Monday.
"Most fish harvesters do not trust the FFAW, or, as the union is better known these days, the 'saltwater mafia.'"
Cleary wants a debate to quash what he calls the "smears and fear mongering" by the FFAW around several issues, including that FISH-NL supports an end to the northern cod stewardship fishery.
- FFAW claims harvesters revoking signed support for FISH-NL
- FISH-NL claims significant progress in membership drive
- 'Taking down the saltwater mafia': Fish harvesters move towards new union
"That's outright deception," stated Cleary in the media release.
On Monday, FFAW president Keith Sullivan said the union is being contacted by people who want to revoke their signatures on membership cards that initially supported FISH-NL.
Cleary dismissed those claims as "total, 100 per cent, FFAW lies and propaganda."
There is no place in the labour movement for Ryan Cleary's divide and conquer tactics.- Mary Shortall
Fish harvesters have lost trust in the FFAW, Cleary said, and have raised several concerns, including over "the so-called shrimp slush fund … out-of-control fees and charges and a myriad of conflicts of interests."
"The union has mutated into a business that prospers as the fishery dies at its feet," Cleary said.
FFAW's labour ally
The FFAW is gaining the support of the Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of Labour in its ongoing war of words with FISH-NL.
The group, which represents 65,000 unionized workers, denounced Cleary in a news release on Tuesday.
"There is no place in the labour movement for Ryan Cleary's divide and conquer tactics," said president Mary Shortall.
"Our federation is committed to standing shoulder to shoulder with FFAW-Unifor members. We know there is strength in solidarity."